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Day 3: U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A!
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The United States' slump in the Ryder Cup is officially over.
For the first time since a dramatic final-day comeback from four points down at The Country Club in Brookline in 1999, the Americans wrestled the coveted Ryder Cup out of the arms of the heavily favored Europeans at Valhalla Golf Club on Sunday.
The final tally read: U.S. 16 �, Europe 11 �. It was the largest margin of victory for the U.S. since an 18 � - 9 � thumping of the Europeans at Walton Heath Golf Club in 1981.
"Today was an incredible day," U.S. Captain Paul Azinger said. "The crowds were beautiful and they were well-behaved, and the European team and players, I'm proud of them. They really showed a lot of class in defeat. I'm just so honored that I was able to be here and do this."
As was the case all week, it was the rookies who stepped up for the U.S. -- combining for a 4-1-1 record in Sunday's singles matches.
Anthony Kim got the crowds riled up early. Playing in the first match of the day against European stalwart Sergio Garcia, Kim looked far from a 23-year-old rookie.
Both players birdied the first hole for a halve and that's as close as it would be the rest of the day. In an absolute rout, Kim handed Garcia a crushing 5 and 4 defeat. Kim was so into the match that after he made what would be the winning putt on No. 14, he began marching to the 15th tee thinking there was more work to be done. When Kim was finally stopped and told he won, he walked back onto the green to take a bow.
"I wouldn't trade this for $10 million," said Kim, who finished 2-1-1 in his Ryder Cup debut. "This has been an experience of a lifetime. I'm going to draw back on things that happened this week and the friendships I've made. It was all in all a great experience.
• Notes: Day-long updates
"This is the most exciting day I've ever had. I'm so excited to be here in Kentucky and winning the Ryder Cup... Best day of my golfing life so far."
Boo Weekley, another rookie, played some of the best golf of his career on Sunday. The fun-loving, self-proclaimed redneck who often says he'd rather fish and hunt than play golf, reeled in Oliver Wilson with dreamlike performance.
Wilson led the match 2 up after two holes, but then Weekley found his groove and never let up, making six birdies and an eagle -- a hole-out from a bunker at No. 7 -- for a 4-and-2 victory.
"This Ryder Cup is pretty awesome. This is unreal," said Weekley, who finished with a 2-0-1 record. "I think the more we're together, the closer we are going to get. I think we actually became a family and that's something we've been missing in the past, a little bit of laughter and cutting up, and Paul has made it real easy for us. He gave us ping pong and he gave us foosball and he gave us every opportunity to have fun, and if we couldn't take advantage of it, it was our own damned fault, you know what I mean?"
To read the remainder of this story, click here.
|SHOT OF THE DAY|
|QUOTE OF THE DAY|
The Associated Press
From the moment Anthony Kim stepped on the first green and saw two golf balls within 2 feet of the cup, he made it clear he wasn't going to give Sergio Garcia anything Sunday in the Ryder Cup.
"Good, good?" Garcia ask, suggesting they concede the birdies.
"Let's putt them," Kim replied.
Garcia rapped in his short birdie, and as he plucked his ball from the cup, picked up Kim's coin.
That set the tone for a testy opening match at Valhalla in which the only thing Kim gave Garcia was his worst loss in the Ryder Cup. Kim rarely conceded any putt and closed out Garcia with an 8-foot par on the 14th to win, 5 and 4.
"Sergio and I are good friends and I have a tremendous amount of respect for him," Kim said. "He's a great player and a great guy. But out there, we're out there to do business, and we battled all day. And now we can start being friends again."
|What they said|
HOME COOKIN': While Sunday was a day that none of the Americans will ever forget, it was particularly special for J.B. Holmes.
Holmes might have been feeling a little added pressure in the 37th Ryder Cup. Aside from being a rookie and a captain's pick, Holmes was also playing just one hour from his home of Campbellsville, Ky.
If he was feeling the extra heat, Holmes certainly didn't show it, as he compiled a 2-0-1 record highlighted by a 2-and-1 singles win over Soren Hansen on Sunday.
"I'm still flying," he said. "I think I'm higher now than I was out on the golf course, just an unbelievable feeling. To be able to be on a Ryder Cup team, to win two points [it was actually 2 1/2 points], is just unbelievable, and to be able to do it in my home state, I couldn't in my farthest dreams have imagined this thing to play out like this. I'm just so excited right now, and I'm so happy."
And as for being a captain's pick?
"I felt a little bit [of pressure to perform]," Holmes said. "I got a little heat for making it and maybe Paul got a little heat for picking me. I wanted to work hard and show him that I belonged on the team. I feel like I did a pretty good job."
|U.S. Ryder Cup victories since 1979|
FACTS AND STATS
Compiled by Elias Sports Bureau, Inc.
Kenny Perry has said all year that he was trying to be a part of this year's Ryder Cup. He went out Sunday and performed like a man on a mission. Perry played the third through the seventh hole 5 under par. For Perry, who has played in 1872 rounds on the PGA Tour, in only one other round has he played a five-hole stretch this well this early in a round. Beginning on the second hole during the final round of the 2007 the Memorial Tournament presented by Morgan Stanley, Perry played his next five holes 5 under par en route to a 9-under-par 63.
Anthony Kim had a weekend at the Ryder Cup that he will never forget. Kim was honored by Captain Paul Azinger with the opportunity to lead the Americans in the first match in the final-day singles competition. Kim responded and came out with a flurry, birding three of the first four holes and recording four straight scores of 3. This stretch ties the second-longest streak of scores of 3 in Kim's PGA Tour career. Kim had a streak of five three's in the final round of this year's BMW Championship. Kim also went 5 under par through his first seven holes of play. This is the lowest score relative to par in his PGA Tour career over the first seven holes of a round. Kim earned a crucial point for the American squad with his 5-and-4 victory in a match against the highly touted Sergio Garcia.