Amid unprecedented scenes of raw emotion, Europe won a third consecutive Ryder Cup for the first time in history, matching their record 18 ½ - 9 ½ victory of two years ago.
After taking a four point lead into the final day having won all four previous sessions, Ian Woosnam’s Team dominated the singles to deliver a crushing victory over the United States with rookie Henrik Stenson holing the winning putt moments after Luke Donald’s win ensured Europe retained the cup.
And then followed extraordinary scenes on the 16th as Darren Clarke won his match against Zach Johnson. Thousands of fans poured onto the fairway to witness this most remarkable of victories. Only six weeks ago Clarke lost his wife, Heather, to cancer and the tears flowed as the crowd cheered.
“It’s incredible,” said Clarke. “Detroit was unbelievable and to come here and to do this in Ireland was even more magical. It’s a once in a lifetime achievement and we are all proud to be part of a great European Team here in Ireland.”
Woosnam will go down in history as one of the great European Captains after inspiring 12 great players to a sensational victory.
“That’s 18 months of hard work and it’s all come down to winning this for a third time,” said Woosnam. “The guys have played fantastic. And for Darren to win was an incredible feeling for Darren, for me and for all the team and we all know why.”
Colin Montgomerie once again led from the front with a final hole win over David Toms in the top match, maintaining his unbeaten record in eight Ryder Cup singles matches.
Sergio Garcia, unbeaten before the final day, was beaten by an inspired Stewart Cink, who birdied seven of the 15 holes they played in his 4 and 3 victory. Tiger Woods put another point on the board for the Americans with a win 3 and 2 win over Robert Karlsson, ensuring the World Number One won three of his five matches. But the only other victory for the United States came right in the last group where Scott Verplank, aided by a hole-in-one on the 14th, got the better of Padraig Harrington.
Paul Casey, in sensational form at present, was colossal against Jim Furyk in winning 3 and 2. David Howell took Europe within a point of retaining The Ryder Cup with a massive 5 and 4 victory over Brett Wetterich and when Donald won his match Europe could not lose. Ultimately it came to Stenson to secure the winning point with a 4 and 3 win over Vaughn Taylor.
But the celebrations didn’t end there. Victory for Clarke, a half for Paul McGinley after he showed great sportsmanship in conceding J.J. Henry’s final putt, and wins for José Maria Olazábal and Lee Westwood ensured Europe would win all five sessions for the first time and equal Europe’s biggest winning score.