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  Wednesday, 18 September, 2002, 13:01 GMT 14:01 UK
Woods and the Ryder rollercoaster
Tiger Woods disappointment at Valderrama
Woods suffered disappointment at Valderrama
How many more superlatives can be used to describe Tiger Woods?

A man who by the age of 26 had won all four Majors and eight in total has been widely and fairly regarded as one of the greatest players of all time.

But every legend has his Achilles heel, even the great Eldrick Woods.

The man from California made his Ryder Cup debut in 1997 on the back of winning his first Major, the US Masters.

With Europe having grabbed the trophy in such dramatic fashion at the Oak Hill Country Club in 1995, Woods and company were hoping to take revenge in the relatively unknown Spanish surroundings of Valderrama.

  Tiger factfile
Age: 26
Major titles: US Masters 1997, 2001, 2002; USPGA, 1999, 2000; US Open 2000, 2002; The Open 2000
Ryder Cup teams: 1997, 1999
Ryder Cup record: 3 points
Played 10; Won 3, Halved 1, Lost 6

But for the first time in his young career, Woods failed to rise to the challenge and lost three of his five matches, only winning 1 points in total.

The tournament started well enough for the player. Along with fourballs partner and good friend Mark O'Meara, he beat Colin Montgomerie and Bernhard Langer 3&2.

But the afternoon foursomes saw the European partnership trounce Woods and O'Meara 5&3.

The world number one lost his second match in the fourballs to the pairing of Nick Faldo and Lee Westwood.

And even after salvaging a half with new partner Justin Leonard in the afternoon foursomes, his defeats had contributed to Europe's 10-5 lead.

Tiger Woods at Valderrama
Woods was shocked by Rocca

Woods was expected to come into his own in the singles, especially against Costantino Rocca.

And the Americans led in the eight matches needed for victory, until first Davis Love III and then Woods lost.

The Californian admitted after he was beaten 4&2 by the Italian that he was in the process of rebuilding his swing.

By the time of Brookline in 1999, Woods had firmly established himself as golf's top player, having claimed his second Major, the USPGA, just weeks before.

Unfortunately for the player, his Ryder Cup jinx struck again.

This time, Woods along with partner Tom Lehman were paired with Jesper Parnevik and Europe's own prodigy Sergio Garcia.

It was first blood to Europe, as both Woods and the American public began to wonder whether it would have been wiser not to play the world number one in so many matches.

Tiger Woods joy at Brookline
Woods celebrates finally winning a match in 1999
More so when he and Duval lost to Darren Clarke and Westwood by one hole in the fourballs.

He salvaged some pride with his third partner Steve Pate in the second day foursomes with a one-hole victory over Miguel Angel Jimenez and Padraig Harrington, but lost in the foursomes to Montgomerie and Paul Lawrie.

So the scene was set - Europe were in a similar position to the one they faced in Valderrama.

They needed just four points from the last 12 singles matches.

Woods wouldn't fail again, would he?

The answer was a resounding no.

He managed to beat Scotsman Andrew Coltart 3&2 and the United States duly regained the Ryder Cup.

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Europe 15-12 USA

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