It’s a hat-trick as Europe sweep away USA
Tournament: The 36th Ryder Cup
Venue: The K Club, Straffan, Co. Kildare, Ireland
Winners: Europe by 18½ – 9½
It’s all over – bar the tumult and the shouting.
Europe have crushed the USA again, this time claiming an unprecidented third consecutive Ryder Cup victory over the United States – and although some of the matches are still unfinished at their moment of triumph, Europe went on to match their record-breaking 18½ – 9½ victory margin secured at Oakland Hills two years ago.
Indeed they would have set a new record but for some needless generosity by Paul McGinley who, when facing an easy 5-foot putt to win at the 18th, opted to ‘give’ JJ Henry a difficult 25 foot putt and agreed to halve their match after a streaker had run accross the green
Leading 10-6 overnight, Ian Woosnam’s side easily and quickly collected the four-and-a-half points they needed to seal victory.
Colin Montgomerie, Paul Casey, David Howell, Luke Donald all won to ensure the trophy was retained, leaving Henrik Stenson to hole the winning putt against Vaughn Taylor.
Shortly afterwards sentimental favourite Darren Clarke stormed in with a 3 and 2 victory over Vaughan Taylor to take the overall score to a resounding 16-8 with some games still out on the course.
Stewart Cink, who surprisingly whipped Sergio Garcia, the tournament’s only four-point winner coming into the singles, 4 and 3 and Tiger Woods hit back after a slow start to beat towering Swede Robert Karlsson 3 and 2 for the USA’s only two singles victories of a so far bleak afternoon.
Four years after performing the same role at The Belfry, Montgomerie was tasked with getting Woosnam’s side off to the perfect start in the final day’s singles.
And Montgomerie, who holed the winning putt in beating Toms at Oakland Hills in 2004, duly delivered with a one-hole victory.
“I’ll miss this when it’s gone,” admitted Montgomerie, who has never lost a Ryder Cup singles match. “That’s eight now and I don’t know if I am due a ninth.
“We have done fantastic and the crowd have been superb. If you were at all shaky there was no way you would have managed to hit a ball off that first tee.”
Stewart Cink had earlier put the first point on the board with a shock 4/3 win over the previously unbeaten Sergio Garcia.
Cink was in simply inspired form, making birdies at four of the first five holes and taking advantage of two bogeys from Garcia to be five up after just seven holes.
Garcia refused to give in and reduced his deficit to three holes at the 10th but Cink then birdied three of the next four as well, the last hole summing up the day. Garcia chipped in for birdie to seemingly keep the match alive, only for Cink to follow him in from 25 feet to seal a 4/3 victory.
Tiger Woods made it three points out of five for the week with a 3/2 victory over Robert Karlsson, and Furyk threatened to claim an improbable half against Casey with an eagle on the 16th.
Furyk also set up a birdie chance on 17 but Casey beat him to it from 25 feet to seal a 2/1 victory and put Europe 12-8 ahead.
It was now simply a question of who would hole the winning putt, and it was a close-run affair.
David Howell fired his fourth birdie in a row to beat Brett Wetterich 5/4, and just five minutes later Luke Donald beat Chad Campbell 2/1 to ensure the trophy was retained.
Then, just seconds later Swedish rookie Henrik Stenson holed the winning putt in beating Vaughn Taylor on the 15th green to spark massive celebrations.
The tears inevitably flowed as Darren Clarke made it three wins out of three by beating Zach Johnson, six weeks to the day since his wife Heather died from cancer.
Woosnam hugged Clarke and told him: “Destiny, destiny.”
“This is as good as it gets,” Clarke said. “It’s been a difficult week but from the minute I made myself available I was determined to get ready and I was.
“It’s done a lot for me, people have shown me how much they care for me and how much they cared for Heather, and that means everything. I was trying to keep my emotions in check all the way round the front nine and concentrate on my own game.”
FINAL MATCH SCORE: EUROPE 18½, UNITED STATES 9½
Garcia lost to Cink (4/3)
Montgomerie bt Toms (1 hole)
Karlsson lost to Woods (3/2)
Casey bt Furyk (2/1)
Howell bt Wetterich (5/4)
Donald bt Campbell (2/1)
Stenson bt Taylor (4/3)
Clarke bt Johnson (3/2)
McGinley halved with Henry
Harrington lost to Verplank (4/3)
Olazabal bt Mickelson (2/1)
Westwood bt DiMarco (2 holes)
SINGLES RESULT: EUROPE 8½, UNITED STATES 3½
Saturday Foursomes:: Europe 2½ United States 1½
Garcia/Donald bt Mickelson/Toms (2/1)
Casey/Howell bt Cink/Johnson (5/4)
Montgomerie/Westwood halved with Campbell/Taylor
Harrington/McGinley lost to Furyk/Woods (3/2)
Saturday Fourballs:Europe 2½ United States 1½
Garcia/Olazabal bt Mickelson/DiMarco (3/2)
Westwood/Clarke bt Woods/Furyk (3/2)
Casey/Karlsson halved with Cink/Henry
Stenson/Harrington lost to Verplank/Johnson (2/1)
Friday Foursomes: Europe 2½, United States 1½
Harrington/Paul McGinley halved with Campbell/Johnson
Donald/Garcia bt Woods/Jim Furyk (2 holes)
Howell/Stenson halved with Cink/Toms
Montgomerie/Westwood halved with Mickelson/DiMarco
Friday Fourballs: Europe 2½ United States 1½
Harrington/Montgomerie lost to Woods/Furyk (1 hole)
Garcia/Olazabal beat Wetterich/Toms (3/2)
Casey/Karlsson halved with Henry/Cink
Clarke/Lee Westwood bt Mickelson/DiMarco (1 hole)
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