After a sensational three days golf, where every Member of Bernhard Langer’s glorious Team played their part, Europe won The Ryder Cup at Oakland Hills Country Club with a record 18 ½ - 9 ½ winning margin with, perhaps fittingly, the recognised on-course leader Colin Montgomerie providing the winning point amidst emotion-packed scenes around the 18th green.
Leading 11-5 going into the final day’s singles, the holders needed three and a half points to ensure that Samuel Ryder’s gleaming golden chalice would travel back across the Atlantic on Monday morning and they did it in style.
The expected early American charge was halted firstly by Sergio Garcia who recovered from being two down in the early stages against Phil Mickelson, turning the match around to eventually beat the reigning Masters Champion 3 and 2.
The half point required was added by Darren Clarke who produced sensational golf in the closing stages of his match with Davis Love III, birdieing the 16th and pitching in for a birdie at the 17th to win both holes before sharing the 18th with his great friend.
Clarke’s stablemate Lee Westwood then put Europe on the threshold of victory with a last green success over Kenny Perry, rolling in a five footer to win by one hole, leaving the door open for Montgomerie.
After all his documented problems off the golf course this year there could surely have been no more appropriate man to hole the winning putt than the 41 year old Scot, who had started the whole week off with the first drive in Friday morning’s fourball session.
All square with David Toms after 15 holes, Montgomerie birdied the 16th to move ahead, holed a brave six footer on the 17th to stay in front, before holing from four feet on the last to spark jubilation amongst the European fans in the gallery.
Little wonder the Scot could hardly speak moments later. Asked by a BBC Radio Rive reporter what the moment meant to him, Montgomerie was unable to summon up a response.
“Emotional I guess,” said the man with the microphone. “Yes,” nodded Montgomerie, his eyes brimming with tears.
Every Member of The European Team contributed to the points. Even after the Match was won, the points kept rolling in. Rookies Thomas Levet and Ian Poulter both secured their first points of The Ryder Cup with victories over Fred Funk and Chris Riley respectively. And in the anchor matches the Irish pair of Padriag Harrington and Paul McGinley were sensational in winning their matches, Harrington holing the last putt on the 18th green for a record European victory and the party began.
As the cheer reverberated around the course, Captain Langer said: “These were the cheers we have been waiting for all week. It is tremendous and now it has happened I am so happy for all the guys.
“We have beaten one of the strongest American Teams ever assembled. A wonderful achievement for everybody involved. This has been incredible. In my wildest dreams I didn’t think we could have a six point lead going into the singles.
“The guys came through very strong. Point after point was put on the board and after they started strongly, the leaderboard went from all red to all blue. We’ve been working on this for a year and when it all comes together it is a wonderful feeling.”