Europe's 2012 Ryder Cup win was not the only miracle that day - David Livingstone explains
"Jack took his seat alongside Colin and Butch and we went on air. Looking back, the studio discussion that followed was probably the most enjoyable hour of my time presenting golf on Sky.."
Last Updated: 20/04/20 9:30am
David Livingstone takes us behind the scenes back at the 2012 Ryder Cup, and reveals that Europe's sensational performance on Sunday was not the only "Miracle of Medinah" that day ...
There were actually two miracles at Medinah on that glorious Sunday seven and a half years ago. There was obviously the one we've been celebrating and reliving over the weekend, but there was another that happened in the Sky Sports studio just before we went on air.
In our noisy, sometimes chaotic, crowded temporary home overlooking the first tee I stood up to address the most voluble, exuberant double act in television, Butch Harmon and Colin Montgomerie. As politely as possible, I asked: "Would you two please shut up for a couple of minutes."
And you know what? They did…and that, my friends, is a miracle all on its own.
They sat there like two naughty schoolboys waiting for the teacher to give them extra homework, but all I wanted to do was lay out our plan for trying to make some sense of an apparently impossible position for the European team.
We were still awaiting the arrival of our special guest Jack Nicklaus who can always be relied upon to be the dignified elder statesman of any studio, but we needed Butch and Colin to fire up their very best "good cop, bad cop" routine.
As it happened, they didn't require any set-up, they were already in character quite naturally. Butch, in his blue, red and white and USA lapel badge, absolutely adamant that America would win. Monty, more neutrally attired, but defiant and determined that Europe could turn things round.
When Jack arrived, everything ramped up in the studio as it always did. His presence never failed to lift everyone in the room. Audio technicians and make-up ladies who didn't care about golf were immediately taken by this friendly, modest man who just happened to be the most successful player there's ever been.
He took his seat alongside Colin and Butch and we went on air. Looking back, the studio discussion that followed was probably the most enjoyable hour of my time presenting golf on Sky.
We were sitting 20 yards from the first tee at the noisiest Ryder Cup ever and Europe had nothing to lose. In the studio, we had the most distinguished, articulate, and likeable guests any show could ask for. What was not to like?
I can't stand watching myself on television but I watched on Sunday and sensed my own enjoyment during those 60 minutes of chat and laughter. Anyone who was part of it or who watched it back home at the start of that amazing day will surely remember how they felt about Europe's chances of winning and it's reasonable to assume not many gave them a prayer.
The key to the magic in our studio was Monty's absolute belief that it could be done. Yes, Jack said Europe had a chance but I don't think he really believed himself and Butch, of course, was relentless in his American confidence. For what it's worth, I had no hope of a European victory.
Just over a minute before the first tee shot, I asked the guests for their final thoughts.
Jack said: "I think the American team will win but it's going to be a heck of day."
Colin said: "Molinari to beat Woods and Europe to win by half a point."
Butch said: "You're full of it Monty, USA all the way."
At this, Jack started howling with laughter because he loved the way Butch could have fun in a studio in a way that American networks find impossible. As I handed over to Ewen Murray to lead the commentary through a momentous day, Jack was still laughing in the background, saying over and over: "Butch, I can't believe you just said that to Monty."
Like you at home, I sat back at that point and became mesmerised by the golf. I'm sure we all cherish one moment in the day when we thought something special was about to happen.
For me, it was Justin Rose's 40-foot putt on the 17th immediately after Phil Mickelson had almost chipped in from off the green. I was obviously happy for Justin but I don't think I've ever felt as proud of a sport as when I saw Phil applaud his opponent.
With apologies, I offer you the comment of a comedian who once said: "It's really hard to say 'well done' when your mouth's full of vomit." Anyway, that was my moment of that wonderful day and the rest was 24-carat golden history.
There's one other memory of that weekend in Chicago that will always remind me of the magnitude of an occasion that transcended sport.
My last act of the day was to send an email to my wife Norma that she could read in the morning back home. She'd never watched a day's golf in her life so I thought I'd better make her aware of what people might be talking about the next day.
I needn't have bothered. To my amazement, she'd seen every shot and every putt and she'd been jumping up and down on the sofa cheering Europe to victory.
Thinking about it now, I'm wondering if that, in itself, perhaps qualifies as a third miracle of Medinah.