European Team Captain Nick Faldo showed a level of gallantry in defeat that matched his players’ bravery on the fairways of Valhalla Golf Club as the USA reclaimed The Ryder Cup for the first time since 1999.
Faldo was among the first people to congratulate US Captain Paul Azinger and the majority of his US Team on the 17th green just moments after Miguel Angel Jiménez conceded Jim Furyk’s two foot putt that ensured the Americans the requisite 14 ½ points to claim The Ryder Cup.
He said: "We talked last night, we just needed to hold them up, and even just counter; if they win, we win. You know we just literally missed out by one point and it could have even gone down to Padraig right at the 18th, the last match. That's a tough one. That just shows you how close we have the separation.
“The guys played great,” said Faldo of his European Team. “ I'm so proud of them and everything they have done – they have 100% in every area.
“This is an amazing event – 24 guys have given their hearts and souls in this event and Europe has come up short but the golf was fantastic. The shot making was unbelievable and the putting was unbelievable. This particular week, America have done it, so congratulations to them.
“This will hurt. When you've come here and you've made such an effort to come and then not won will hurt. But I've loved it. I've said it was best week of my golfing career kind of inside / outside the ropes. The Team, the whole atmosphere, the camaraderie, the fun we had, a little bit of everything and it's just been a fabulous time in my life.
“It’s a thin line between victory and defeat. Look what happened coming down the last few holes, the difference was minimal but, as I said, they were just a little bit better in a few different places.
“I'm sure we will enjoy the rest of the day. I've got a feeling this Team, by the time we get home, we should celebrate. It's been a great week. I wanted it to be a great experience and you know, we will remember this. As I said, everybody has given it their all. They have done a good job.”
With Anthony Kim setting the tone for the USA with a 5&4 victory over Sergio Garcia in the opening singles match of the afternoon, Europe battled hard to fight their way back into the match with Paul Casey’s half point in a heart-stopping match over Hunter Mahan in the second game of the day.
Robert Karlsson and Justin Rose gave Europe hope in the next two games with brilliant victories over Justin Leonard and Phil Mickelson respectively, but the unstoppable middle-order trio of Kenny Perry, Boo Weekley and JB Holmes compiled a hat-trick of points for the USA at the perfect moment to set-up Furyk’s winning point.