!!They left as underdogs and returned as record-breaking heroes. Europe's Ryder Cup team led by Langer, marshalled by Montgomerie and galvanized by Garcia were golfing heroes outclassing the might of America 18 ½ to 9 ½.
The USA boasted Tiger, Mickelson and Davis Love. Captain Hal Sutton declared his team to be the best putting side in the competition's proud history. However, from the moment that Monty rolled in an eight-foot putt on the first green of Friday's fourballs, Europe took charge. Sutton's dream team of Mickelson and Woods were beaten twice on that incredible opening day as Europe romped into a five-point lead.
Back came the US, on the second morning, stung by the ferocity of the European assault. A wounded Tiger clawed his side back into the match, but then came the turning point. European rookies Howell and Casey refused to wilt in the furnace of pressure and won a crucial, momentum swinging point, beating Furyk and Campbell by a single hole having been one down with just two to play.
The Europeans were inspired. Langer's united team went into the final day singles requiring just three points to retain The Ryder Cup. A desperate Sutton threw his top men out first and early on the scoreboards were awash with red.
The European response was emphatic, Garcia, Clarke and Westwood took Europe to the brink and who else but Captain's pick Monty was there to make the final, decisive four-foot putt on the 18th green to beat David Toms. That secured the 14½ points Europe needed to win the Cup, but they went on to wrap up victory by a record 18½ - 9½ margin. It truly was a hammering for the much-vaunted superstars of the American team. "It doesn't matter who holed the final putt because this is a team event," said Montgomerie. "But this means more to me than most. It's super."
There were still five matches out on the course at that stage, but Europe were bidding for a record margin of victory and they secured it as Ian Poulter, Thomas Levet, Paul McGinley and Padraig Harrington all won their matches. By the end of an unforgettable day the scoreboard was a sea of blue and Oakland Hills echoed to the sound of European cheer.
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