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PRYDER BRITAIN! HAVE OUR GOLFERS MADE 2012 THE NATION'S MOST GLORIOUS SPORTING YEAR?Cup comeback caps summer of success that'll be hard to beat.

Byline: OLIVER HOLT Mirror Chief Sports Writer on a golden year of action

WHEN the Ryder Cup finished late on Sunday night, BBC presenter Gary Lineker came up with an idea.

The corporation had already intended to lengthen its Sports Personality of the Year show in December.

Now, Lineker said, after the incredible golfing drama on the outskirts of Chicago, perhaps they ought to consider turning it into a series.

It has been that kind of year for British sport, the kind of year that has brought one stunning achievement after another.

It has felt at times like an endless summer, a summer that expanded our sporting horizons.

It redefined our ideas of our sporting capabilities and exceeded our wildest expectations. The Olympics and the Paralympics were at its core but the magic began back in late April. Chelsea started it in the Champions League semi-finals when they beat a Barcelona team that was supposed to be unbeatable and the following month beat Bayern Munich, in Munich, to win the trophy.

By then Manchester City had clinched their first league title for 44 years in scenes which had millions of TV viewers on the edge of their seats.

Then Andy Murray became the first Briton to reach the men's singles final at Wimbledon since 1938, losing bravely to Roger Federer in the final and winning new fans by weeping at the presenta-tion ceremony. Little more than a week later, Bradley Wiggins achieved what had always been considered unthinkable. He became the first Briton ever to win the world's greatest, most punishing cycle race, the Tour de France.

Then the Olympic Games exceeded all our expectations, too - from the moment the Queen appeared in a James Bond spoof on the big screen at Danny Boyle's magnificent opening ceremony.

It was the Games that gave us not one but two Super Saturdays, both of them dominated by Mo Farah gold medals, first in the 10,000m, then in the 5,000m. The first time, heptathlete Jessica Ennis and long jumper Greg Rutherford won gold medals within an hour of Farah. It was probably the greatest night of British sport ever.

And cyclist Sir Chris Hoy became our greatest Olympian ever, winning more golds at the Velodrome.

We were also thrilled by Jamaican Usain Bolt becoming the first man to defend successfully the 100m and 200m titles - with his customary charisma

The magic went on. Many found the Paralympics even more compelling than the OIympics.

They were transfixed by the achievements of wheelchair athlete David Weir, who won four golds, and the swimmer Ellie Simmonds.

And they were inspired by the running of the South African athlete Oscar Pistorius, who was beaten by Britain's Jonnie Peacock in the 100m but won his favourite event, the 400m. It still wasn't over. At the US Open tennis, Murray went one better than he had at Wimbledon.

In a titanic final against Novak Djokovic, it appeared the match had slipped away from him when he lost a two-set lead. But he summoned the strength to recover and broke Djokovic's fearsome resolve to become the first British man to win a Grand Slam for 76 years. And finally, there was the Ryder Cup.

As the USA team eased into a comfortable lead over Europe, it seemed the event would not be able to keep the same company as everything that had gone before.

But on Sunday, it did its best to exceed it all. Inspired by the irrepressible Ian Poulter, Europe conjured the greatest fightback in the competition's history.

Trailing 10-6 on Saturday evening, they clawed their way back in the singles on Sunday. It came down to the penultimate match on the course, with Germany's Martin Kaymer standing over a 6ft putt to win the competition.

He drained it, straight down the middle, and was promptly submerged by celebrating teammates.

It feels as if the sporting year was blessed. It is hard to think there will ever be another like it.

Voice of the Mirror: Page 8


The cyclist is our greatest Olympian with six golds, including two from London 2012


First Brit to win Tour De France and then took Olympic time trial gold


Poster girl of Olympics won heptathlon gold on Super Saturday Part 1


Had the whole Olympic Stadium in his hands when winning Paralympic T44 100m gold


Hero of Super Saturdays Parts 1 & 2, winning 5,000& 10,000 metres golds


Ian Poulter led the comeback & could now triumph again on BBC awards show


Scot came good in Olympics and then became first Brit man to win a grand slam for 76 years with the US Open title


JOY From left, Europe golf heroes Graeme McDowell, Martin Kaymer and Justin Rose

EU BEAUTY Ian Poulter
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Title Annotation:News; Opinion, Columns
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 2, 2012
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