Europe hangs on for Ryder Cup|
Newport, South Wales (Sports Network) - Europe won the Ryder Cup by a single
point on Monday when Graeme McDowell secured the winning point in the anchor
match against Hunter Mahan.
McDowell won the 17th hole to give Europe the 14 1/2 points it needed to
reclaim the Cup it lost in 2008.
With the matches tied at 13 1/2 apiece, McDowell needed a full point to give
Europe the Ryder Cup. A halve in the last match would have given the Cup back
to the U.S. based on its victory two years ago.
After he made a mess of No. 15 en route to a loss of the hole, McDowell poured
in a 15-foot birdie putt on the 16th to win and go 2-up with two to play.
He knocked his tee shot at the par-three 17th right of the hole on the collar.
Mahan nervously left his tee ball well short of the putting surface.
Facing enormous pressure, Mahan chunked his chip short of the green. McDowell
putted his second four feet short of the flag stick.
Mahan needed to make his putt and hope McDowell missed to have a chance.
Mahan's putt never threatened the hole, and he walked over and shook
McDowell's hand to concede their match, 3 & 1, and the Cup to the Europeans.
"I have never felt as nervous on a golf course in my life," McDowell said in a
"Graeme was put there (anchor match) for a very good reason. He is the U.S.
Open Champion and full of confidence, and it showed," said European captain
Colin Montgomerie. "This means the world to European golf. I am so glad we
won. I didn't hit a shot, yet it is a proud, proud moment for me personally."
The U.S. nearly won for the first time on foreign soil since 1993.
"I'm very proud of the team," said U.S. captain Corey Pavin. "It meant a lot
to me to be with the team all week. As I told them in there, 'You win as a
team, you lose as a team. The first match was just as important as the last
Mahan was clearly and understandably upset at the team's press conference.
"I'm proud to be part of this team," said Mahan. "Close team."
Mahan was overwhelmed by his emotions, and Phil Mickelson took the microphone
"We could look anywhere throughout those 28 points for that half-point,"
Mickelson said. "I look at the three matches I played in and had many
opportunities to try to get that clinching point. We fell a little bit shy."
McDowell's heroics out-shined a furious comeback from the Americans in the
singles matches. The U.S. was down by three heading into Monday and took seven
points out of a possible 12.
Rickie Fowler, the youngest player on the U.S. team, was 4-down with four to
play, but charged back with four straight birdies to halve with Edoardo
Molinari. Fowler made a gutsy 15-foot birdie putt on 17, then holed an even
more clutch 12-footer for birdie at the last to square the match.
Tiger Woods was spectacular on Monday with a 4 & 3 victory over Francesco
Molinari. Woods went 3-1 in his first Ryder Cup as a captain's pick.
Mickelson, a 4 & 2 winner over Peter Hanson, and Zach Johnson, who toppled
Padraig Harrington, 3 & 2, closed out full points for the American side to set
up the incredible theater in the anchor match.
In the longest Ryder Cup in history, it was almost fitting that the event was
decided by the pair in the final match.
It was the first time the Cup came down to the final singles match since 1991,
when Bernhard Langer missed a six-foot putt on the 18th that would have given
Europe the Cup.
And it was McDowell -- the U.S. Open champion who showed great toughness in
getting his first major at Pebble Beach -- who clinched the Cup for his side.
He won the Wales Open at Celtic Manor two weeks before his U.S. Open victory.
On Monday, McDowell became a European Ryder Cup hero.
"It's a lot of pressure," McDowell said on television. "I tried to do it for
my 11 teammates, I tried to do it for all these people. I tried to do it for
Monty. I tried to do it for Europe. It's amazing."
Down 9 1/2 - 6 1/2 and playing on Monday for the first time in Ryder Cup
history after two long delays on Friday and Sunday, the American team showed a
lot in the singles.
Steve Stricker led things off with a 2 & 1 victory over Lee Westwood. Stewart
Cink earned a half point for the U.S. against Rory McIlroy in match two, then
Luke Donald held off a rally from Jim Furyk to get a full point for Europe.
Dustin Johnson, previously winless in this Ryder Cup, actually posted the
first point for the American side in match four. He may have gained some sort
of revenge for his PGA Championship gaffe as he trounced eventual PGA winner
Martin Kaymer, 6 & 4.
Ian Poulter kept his singles record perfect with a 5 & 4 win over American
Matt Kuchar. Jeff Overton's U.S. Ryder Cup debut finished on a high note when
he beat Ross Fisher, 3 & 2, but Miguel Angel Jimenez took the next point with
a 4 & 3 drubbing of Bubba Watson.
Woods, Mickelson and Zach Johnson picked up their points and Fowler toughed
out his halve, leaving the stage to McDowell and Mahan.
NOTES: Europe has won six of the last eight Ryder Cups...This was the closest
Ryder Cup since Brookline in 1999...The format was changed after a long
weather delay on Friday. They played the opening four balls, then six
foursomes, a mixed session of two foursomes and four four balls and 12
singles...Poulter and Donald were the leading point-earners for Europe with
three points...Woods and Stricker also picked up three points for their
side...The next Ryder Cup is in 2012 at Medinah near Chicago.
10/04 13:02:29 ET