The handshake which won The Ryder Cup for Europe (Getty Images)
McDowell carries Europe over the line
Graeme McDowell won The Ryder Cup for Europe after a Celtic Manor Resort classic that crowned Captain Colin Montgomerie's golfing career.
US Open Championship winner McDowell's 3&1 victory over Hunter Mahan gave Europe a dramatic 14 1/2 to 13 1/2 triumph over the United States to regain the trophy.
Not since 1991 at Kiawah Island had The Ryder Cup been decided in such breathtaking fashion by the last of 12 singles matches.
A brilliant putt by McDowell on the 16th left Mahan needing to win the last two holes for a half that would have denied Europe, but Mahan scuffed his second shot after firing short of the green off the tee on the par three 17th.
That meant that at worst McDowell needed to get down in two from the edge of the green under unbearable pressure in front of 35,000 fans, but Mahan then missed his putt, conceded the match, and Europe began wild celebrations.
For a tearful Montgomerie, the most remarkable of Ryder Cup wins was a fitting tribute to a Ryder Cup legend.
But Corey Pavin's United States Team pushed Europe to the limit, taking the singles by a 7-5 scoreline after trailing 9-1/2 - 6-1/2 overnight.
Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson - World Number One and Three players - finally found their form to claim emphatic victories over Francesco Molinari and Peter Hanson, respectively.
Europe though, prevailed thanks to wins by McDowell, Luke Donald, Ian Poulter and Miguel Angel Jiménez, plus the priceless halves gained by Rory McIlroy and Edoardo Molinari.
McDowell was immediately submerged by his team-mates, Captain and assistant captains on the 18th green, while a bumper crowd that had gathered for The Ryder Cup's first Monday conclusion began taking it all in
"I'm so proud, very proud moment for us all here in Europe," said the victorious Captain. "We all played to a man magnificently, we all gave a 110 per cent, and that's all I could ask. Obviously one game came down to a lot of, and they will want to talk about it, but every player, playing how well they did they played magnificent, all 12. I knew I had a great 12, I knew I did.
"I just had to rely on certain people at certain times, and all credit to Eddie Molinari, to be up 3 up in the first place was fantastic, and the way Rickie Fowler finished, and Graeme McDowell was put there for a good reason, he's full of confidence and that showed. That birdie on 16 was just quite unbelievable, quite unbelievable.
"It means the world to us, it means the world to European golf. As I said in the press room many, many times, it means nothing to me. I just did this for European Tour and I'm so, so glad that we won."