On This Day in 2002: Paul McGinley’s putt secures Ryder Cup glory for Europe

Europe won back the Ryder Cup on this day in 2002 after Ireland’s Paul McGinley halved his match with Jim Furyk by holing a 10-foot putt on the final green.

Despite going into the last day all square on 8-8, it was Sam Torrance’s men who held their nerve against their United States counterparts at the Belfry.

McGinley’s decisive putt clinched the half point Europe needed and they went on to seal success by a margin of 15 1/2-12 1/2 in Warwickshire.

Paul McGinley was Europe's hero at the 2002 Ryder Cup on his debut showing at the event
Paul McGinley was Europe’s hero at the 2002 Ryder Cup on his debut (David Cheskin/PA)

At the time, the Dublin-born player said: “I knew I was going to hit a great putt. I hit this putt and, as putts go, it couldn’t be any purer. There was no way in the world it could miss.”

The debutant added: “I saw Sergio (Garcia) jumping up and down and that led to that stupid jump I was doing.”

Torrance sent out his big guns early for Sunday’s singles matches and victories for Colin Montgomerie, Bernhard Langer, Padraig Harrington and Thomas Bjorn gave Europe the momentum they needed and they never looked back.

US captain Curtis Strange saw David Toms and Scott Verplank keep America in the chase, but it was McGinley who was able to toast more home success for Europe.

The Irishman rolled in his putt to seal the win before being mobbed on the 18th, while Lee Westwood embraced captain Torrance, who had fallen to his knees.

McGinley ended up in the lake and held aloft a Republic of Ireland flag to mark the triumph. It was the first of three consecutive wins for Europe, while McGinley would go on to captain the team to success 12 years later.