If this was not the perfect advertisement for the game of golf, then nothing could be. Ever. After a fantastic fightback by the USA to thirteen and a half points each, the final game of the day at Celtic Manor, Wales, was cruel for the Americans as Graeme McDowell beat Hunter Mahan, sealing victory for Colin Montgomerie's Europeans.
Someone had to win... but after such a tremendously emotional day of golf, with the US team making a spectacular comeback after trailing by nine and a half to six and a half, nobody really deserved to lose, after Rickie Fowler shared a half point with Edoardo Molinari leaving the Ryder Cup resting on the game between the US Open Champion Graeme McDowell (Northern Ireland and Europe) and Hunter Mahan (USA).
"This has been one of the greatest weeks of life and possibly the greatest moment of my career," said Graeme. "It is another unforgettable week in what has been a simply amazing season for me."
The 3&1 victory over Hunter Mahan exploded at the sixteenth with a tremendous birdie, "the best putt of my life" according to McDowell, meaning that Hunter Mahan had to win the last two holes to get the half point which would have won the Cup for the USA. In front of 35,000 fans, Mahan cracked under the pressure, scuffing his second shot on the seventeenth hole (par three) then after missing his putt, he conceded the game, the match and the Cup.
The words of Graeme McDowell maybe sum up this Ryder Cup. "And that is the beauty of the Ryder Cup, the adrenalin brings you through all of it. There is no better feeling than that, the roar when you sink a big putt. That putt on 16, I just had to get it going, catch an edge, and it was the best putt of my life - you could see what it meant to so many people. I will never forget it".
"As the American team? They were brilliant today, they really were, and credit to all of them. It's not easy with such partisan crowds like this, but the guys put up a great fight. To come down to the last match wasn't maybe as close as we would have liked but we are delighted to have come out on top against a super American side. The whole event was played in great spirit."
The final day was an awesome display of golf and great sportsmanship. Starting ahead at nine and a half to six and a half, Europe saw the score levelled by three o'clock. The Americans Stricker and D. Johnson beat Westwood 2&1 (9½-7½) and Kaymer 6&4 (9½-8½). Poulter pulled one back for the Europeans beating Kuchar 5&4; McIlroy and Cink halved, Europe forged ahead with Donald's win over Furyk 1up (12-9). Jimenez added another over Watson 4&3 (13-9).
Then from two to three o'clock in the afternoon, the Americans staged a monumental comeback. Overton beat Fisher 3&2. 13-10. Woods beat F. Molinari 4&3. 13-11. Mickelson beat Hanson 4&2. 13-12. E. Molinari halved with Fowler (13½-12½). Z. Johnson beat Harrington 4&3, equalling at thirteen and a half each, until McDowell beat Mahan.
Spare a thought for the American, who broke down in tears at the press conference.
McDowell is the man in form today, in awesome form this afternoon and in front of a crowd like that... Someone had to win and the home turf pulled it on the day. Tough luck for Mahan, who on another day in another place might have lifted the silverware. It is certainly not his fault that the Ryder Cup goes to Europe this year. Had his team-mates not lost so many points...
Whatever the result, the Cup was played in that indomitable spirit of sportsmanship which accompanies golf at the highest level. Congratulations to Europe for winning but congratulations USA too for a wonderful Cup, a great comeback and a fight to the very end. To be perfectly honest, both teams deserved to win but there can only be one victor.
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