Europe recaptures Ryder Cup with dramatic victory

by Derrick Johnson on October 4, 2010

After Europe dominated the United States' pairs teams on Sunday, it appeared the Ryder Cup would not end in the expected dramatic fashion. But, the European team had to withstand a furious U.S. charge on Monday to hold on to a hard faught 14-and-a-half to 13-and-a-half victory at Celtic Manor in Newport, Wales.

After the weekend, the American team was behind by a whole three points, but Monday's singles matches provided the Corey Pavin-led squad with an opportunity to close the gap – and they took it. After Ryder Cup rookie Rickie Fowler halved the match with Edardo Molinary by sinking a putt on the 18th hole and Zach Johnson bested Padraig Harrington, it came down to the final match of the day between U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell and Hunter Mahan.

McDowell jumped out to a commanding three hole lead, and although a Mahan charge on the back nine closed the gap to within one, it would be as close as he would get.

The New York Times reports that Mahan had an errant drive on the par-4 16th hole, which allowed McDowell to grow his lead back to two, and on the par-3 17th, Mahan missed the green, and McDowell had a short par putt to seal the victory for the Europeans.

The win reclaims the cup for the European squad, after they surrendered it to the U.S. team at Valhalla Golf Club in Kentucky in 2008. The loss continues the American's losing streak on foreign soil, they have not won the cup outside the U.S. since 1993.

Despite the loss, the United States' top players looked better on the final day than over the weekend. Woods, who has struggled mightily this season, won his match 4 and 3 and Mickelson rebounded from a disappointing weekend to beat Peter Hanson. Along with McDowell, Luke Donald, Ian Poulter and Miguel Angel Jimenez also won their matches.

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