Europe were strong favourites to win the biennial Ryder Cup match against the United States at Celtic Manor in South Wales in October. In the end they succeeded, but the result was much closer than had been predicted.
The three-day match was weather affected, but that only seemed to add to the drama as the European team, captained by Colin Montgomerie beat the Americans, captained by Corey Pavin, by 14½-13½.
The result came down to the last match of the 12 singles on the final day between Europe’s Graeme McDowell and Hunter Mahan from the United States, with US Open champion McDowell winning on the 17th green. But it was the match’s third session of fourballs and foursomes which Europe won 5½-½ which set up the victory.
Captain Montgomerie was fulsome in his praise of McDowell. He said: “We won by having that fantastic session of 5½-½. But we needed to maintain that momentum going into the singles. We knew the Americans would come out strong and they did. To hold Graeme as 12th man was a good decision by us all. He is the Wales Open champion on this course, he's the current US Open champion. He was put there for a reason, because he can handle himself in that situation.”
The European Ryder Cup Team was Luke Donald, Ross Fisher, Peter Hanson, Padraig Harrington, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Graeme McDowell, Edoardo Molinari, Francesco Molinari, Ian Poulter, Martin Kaymer, Rory McIlroy and world No 1 Lee Westwood.
Ian Poulter was Europe's leading scorer with three points from a possible four, while there was special delight for veteran Miguel Angel Jimenez who won his first singles match after four Ryder Cups, beating Bubba Watson 4&3.