Graeme McDowell celebrates his 3&1 victory and Europe win The Ryder Cup (Getty Images)
Magical Moment on 17
It was one of those moments when people, in years to come, will say ‘I was there’.
Sarah Gwynn, European Tour Editorial Staff
The majority of the 35,000 spectators who came on the first ever Monday finish were crammed around the 17th green at The Celtic Manor Resort, packed to the rafters in the grandstands, around the banks of the green and back up the hill towards the tee of the par three hole.
The 2010 Ryder Cup was tied neck and neck at 13½-13½ with one match remaining; Graeme McDowell was two up against Hunter Mahan and both a fraction off the 17th green, the deathly silence a stark contrast to the deafening roars of ‘Europe, Europe’ seconds earlier.
Mahan, who had fought back from three down to one down to increase the pressure but then lost the 16th to a great putt from McDowell, duffed his chip. A huge collective gasp from the crowd, then more silence as GMac took aim.
His putt was five feet short; the pressure did not subside. Mahan tried again, missed, and the American conceded the match. Europe have won, the crowd go mad.
There was no holding back as family, friends and fans swamped the players, McDowell at the centre of a huge scrum on the green. En masse the supporters surrounding the green ran towards the Team, arms outstretched in ecstacy, desperate to pat their idols on the back for a job well done, to congratulate Colin Montgomerie, one of the most popular Captains in recent years.
Chants of ‘Olé, olé, olé, olé’ rang out and the stand jumped up and down, letting out all the emotions of a tense day in Wales.
Europe had started the session three ahead but gradually their advantage slipped away as Lee Westwood, the Team’s talisman and out first against Stricker, lost 2&1. Defeats for Martin Kaymer, Ross Fisher, Francesco Molinari, Peter Hanson and Padraig Harrington brought the USA level and brought it all down to the final game.
The tension was palpable. The atmosphere was electric, and it all drained away in a frenzy of celebration as McDowell did enough to regain the cherished Cup.
Minutes later and the players were trying to make their way down the 18th to the clubhouse to start the celebrations in style. Monty was jogging down the fairway, thousands running with him clapping him on the back, offering a hand and shouting their congratulations. A stream of players followed, all struggling to make much progress amid the throng of fans crowding them.
Monty looked back, taking in the chaotic scenes as he walked away, probably trying to soak it all in and remembering every single detail. It was a moment the Scotsman will never forget.
And, like Monty, those who were there will never forget it either. They will remember the time Europe and Montgomerie, Mr Ryder Cup, won back Samuel Ryder’s trophy in Wales. And when they do it will make the hairs on the back of their neck stand on end.