McDowell clinches thriller for Europe
Graeme McDowell clinched the Ryder Cup for Europe after a Celtic Manor classic that went down to the wire.
Graeme McDowell clinched the Ryder Cup for Europe after a Celtic Manor classic that went down to the wire – and in the end put a glittering crown captain Colin Montgomerie’s outstanding Ryder Cup career.
US Open champion McDowell’s 3&1 victory over Hunter Mahan gave Europe a dramatic 14½ to 13½ triumph over the United States to regain the trophy.
Not since 1991 at Kiawah Island had the Ryder Cup been decided in such breathtaking fashion by the very last of the final day’s 12 singles matches.
A brilliant putt by McDowell on 16 left Mahan needing to win the last two holes for a half that would have denied Europe, but Mahan scuffed his second shot after hitting his tee shot short of the green on the par-three 17th.
That meant that at worst McDowell needed to get down in two from the edge of the green under unbearable pressure in front of 35,000 fans, but Mahan then missed his putt, conceded the match, and Europe began wild celebrations.
For a tearful Montgomerie, the most remarkable of Ryder Cup wins arguably compensated for the Major title he failed to win during an otherwise title-laden career.
But Corey Pavin’s never-say-die US team pushed Europe to the limit, taking the singles by a 7-5 scoreline after trailing 9½ – 6½ overnight.
Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, the world’s numbers one and three players, finally found their form after a disappointing first two days to claim emphatic victories over Francesco Molinari and Peter Hanson, respectively.
Europe though, prevailed thanks to wins by McDowell, Luke Donald, biggest winner Ian Poulter and Miguel Angel Jimenez, plus the priceless halves gained by Rory McIlroy and Edoardo Molinari.
McDowell was immediately submerged by his team-mates, captain and assistant captains on the 18th green, while a bumper crowd that had gathered for the Ryder Cup’s first Monday conclusion began taking it all in.
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