The One That Got Away: Mark James and Andrew Coltart on 1999 'Battle of Brookline' Ryder Cup
"Sometimes you get the draw for the singles and you think 'this is fantastic', but I have to say when the draw came out in 1999 I just don't know why it didn't look nice"
By Sky Sports Golf
Last Updated: 25/08/20 1:34pm
Andrew Coltart and Mark James reflect on Europe's 1999 Ryder Cup defeat and give their verdict on the 'Battle of Brookline' in Sky Sports' latest 'One That Got Away' podcast.
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James captained an inexperienced European side in Massachusetts, where Coltart was one of seven players making their debuts and only two of the team had previously played a Ryder Cup on American soil.
Europe had taken a surprise 10-6 lead into the final day, only for Ben Crenshaw's USA side to fight back and claim a dramatic and controversial victory.
The Americans registered the first seven points of the final day and dominated the leaderboard, with Europe only winning three of their singles matches in their 14.5-13.5 loss.
On losing the Ryder Cup
James: "Brookline was definitely the one that got away. We were in great shape and sometimes things go wrong and that was the classic example. Sometimes you get the draw for the singles and you think 'this is fantastic', but I have to say when the draw came out in 1999 I just don't know why it didn't look nice.
"I enjoyed pretty much everything about it and I had a great team and loved it right up until the last afternoon."
Coltart: "It's disappointing. I'll never know what it feels like to play on a winning Ryder Cup side but I try to look at the bigger picture and say that it was great to play a tiny little part in something that has become an incredible spectacle.
"Once you get your Ryder Cup cap, you become part of a unique family and there's a unique bond and respect between all players and captains alike. That can never be taken away and it's a real honour and privilege to be part of that family."
Controversy at the 17th
The American victory was secured in dramatic fashion in the penultimate match left on the course, where Justin Leonard was all-square with Jose Maria Olazabal with two holes remaining.
With a half-point enough for Team USA, Leonard holed a 45-foot birdie putt to spark premature celebrations on the 17th green, where the Europeans were left angered by the reaction before Olazabal had his putt - which he subsequently missed - to halve the hole and extend the contest.
Coltart: "You've never seen anything like it. We're still aware that the match is still live, but the Americans lost sense of where they were.
"They lost sense of where the match was, where the match stood and seriously lost their composure. They all invaded the green to go to Justin Leonard and celebrate as madly as they possibly could."
James: "That was a spur of the moment thing, they all got carried away and of course it shouldn't have happened, but I sort of understand that these things do happen and you don't know what they're going to mean until they actually do.
"It was one of a series of incidents throughout the week that was so disappointing and made the week such a challenge for our players."
A special surprise for Tiger
The European players had been infuriated by the American celebrations, with Coltart - who had been beaten 3&2 by Tiger Woods earlier in the day - coming up with a different way of getting the-then world No 1's attention.
Coltart: "It all kicked off and Miguel Angel Jimenez and I were a little bit upset to say the least and we started remonstrating with the American team. Tiger was just in front of me hugging Tom Lehman's wife and I thought this was an opportunity that I just can't resist, with his back to us.
"So I tried to coax him gently off the side of the golf course with the instep of my left foot, planting it right up his backside, just as somebody took a wonderful picture! Any opportunity I do get, it does say the record books say you managed to beat me 3&2 at the Ryder Cup but I know I kicked your butt!"