Remembering the 'War on the Shore'

  • Last Updated: August 6 2012, 11:11 BST

The venue for the final major of the season, the USPGA Championship, was the scene of arguably the most dramatic and traumatic Ryder Cup game in history.

Mark Calcavecchia: Famous slip-up in 1991 Ryder Cup

Twenty-one years on and it would be no surprise if the mere mention of Kiawah Island still causes Mark Calcavecchia sleepless nights.

For a while it did the same to Colin Montgomerie, but he at least returned in 1997 and won the individual title at the World Cup - a rare victory in the United States for the man whose dreams were so often shattered there.

The 'War on the Shore' is remembered mostly for the missed Bernhard Langer putt and the row between Seve Ballesteros and Paul Azinger.

But the third singles clash between Calcavecchia and Montgomerie showed what sport can do to two grown men.

Calcavecchia, Open champion two years earlier, raced to a five-hole lead by the turn and was four up with four to play.

But then his nerve went and his game totally fell to pieces. He finished triple bogey, bogey, triple bogey, bogey and Montgomerie gained the unlikeliest of half-points.

With the honour on the tee at the short 17th he dumped his shot into the lake, but then his opponent followed him in with what looked dangerously like a shank.

Both went to a forward tee to play another ball and when Montgomerie asked his caddie for the yardage he got the reply: "Don't know - I never expected to be here."

The Scot recalled later: "I played the holes double bogey, par, double bogey, par and won them all.

"It's not a memory you like to have, but it proved what it meant to play for your country.

"We both made a complete hash of it, but I was shocked at how much it could affect somebody.

"He went off to the beach and Payne Stewart got him some oxygen. He was in a hell of a state - and I wasn't great either.

"If somebody had said we had to play on I think we would both have replied 'No thanks. Not going. Enough'."

However, it was to prove the start of what developed into a love affair with the event - seven more caps as a player, five of them victories, never beaten in singles and then a triumphant stint as Europe's captain at Celtic Manor two years ago.

Calcavecchia ended up a member of the winning side in 1991 and without his half-point it would have been a second successive tie and Europe would have retained the trophy.

But it was only at the insistence of his wife Sheryl that he joined in the celebrations.

"The same thing happened in '89," he said, remembering that he had been in the water on the last hole in that year's Ryder Cup in losing to Ronan Rafferty.

"I was upset. I needed to regroup a little. I've had enough tension this week to last a lifetime."