Ryder Cup Logo Ryder Cup: Team USASeptember 22-24 2006, The K Club, Straffan, County Kildare, Ireland
Story Image Tom Lehman (right) congratulated Ian Woosnam for the Europeans' ability to handle the weather and the competition. (Photo: Getty Images)

Gracious Lehman praises Europe's best-ever team

U.S. Captain Tom Lehman accepted defeat in a classy manner on Sunday, praising European Captain Ian Woosnam and his team, and expressing his appreciation for the respect and spirit in which the entire Ryder Cup was played.

September 24, 2006

STRAFFAN, Ireland (PA) -- U.S. Captain Tom Lehman accepted Ryder Cup defeat graciously after his team was crushed by a rampant Europe on Sunday. The visitors lost 18 1/2 to 9 1/2 to Ian Woosnam's men -- exactly the same scoreline as at Oakland Hills two years ago.

"I take my hat off completely to the European team -- they played incredibly well and were inspired and the crowd were phenomenal and gave them momentum," Lehman said afterward. "I don't think there is a European team that has ever played better.

"Our team came ready, but I guess we weren't quite ready enough," he added. "I'm not sure what to say, but I need to give credit where it's due -- and the European team played better."

Lehman also was impressed with the spirit in which the match was played.

"The players genuinely respected each other," he said. "It was a well-played match."

Asked if he would change anything, he added: "I know everything we did was for a reason and with the best possible intention. But you have to put the ball in the hole and we didn't do that.

"I tip my hat to Ian Woosnam and his players, and their courage and the way they played," he said. "They never failed to make us pay for a mistake. They made us pay every time."

Copyright 2006 PA Sport. All rights reserved.

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