Europe, led early on by Ian Poulter and Luke Donald, regained the Ryder Cup after fending off a brilliant fightback by the United States.
Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell earned the winning point, beating Hunter Mahan 3&1 in the final match to give the home team victory by 14-1/2 points to 13-1/2.
Poulter crushed Matt Kuchar 5&4 and Donald beat Jim Furyk one-up before the Americans clawed their way back, rookie Rickie Fowler stealing a valuable half after brilliantly birdying the last four holes against Italian Edoardo Molinari.
With the overall score level at 13-1/2 13-1/2, McDowell sank a curling birdie putt from 12 feet on the 16th green to go two up on Mahan before securing the win with a conceded par at the 17th. Crowds of just over 35,000 at a sun-splashed Celtic Manor were treated to one of the most riveting last days at a Ryder Cup in recent memory as Europe won the trophy for the fourth time in five editions.
The home team had led by three points going into the event’s first-ever Monday finish but the Americans cut the deficit to just one when Dustin Johnson and Steve Stricker claimed the first two points.
Johnson routed Martin Kaymer 6&4 before world number four Stricker beat second-ranked Lee Westwood 2&1 seconds later to give the U.S. hope of retaining the trophy they won in 2008.
Poulter, who screamed in delight after draining a 25-footer to birdie the third, then notched Europe’s first point of the day by rolling in a six-foot birdie putt on the 14th green.
“It was always going to be a tough game against Kuch,” said a beaming Poulter who had chipped in from off the green to eagle the 11th. Donald, playing in the third match, was three up on Furyk after 13 holes but had to hold off a late surge by the American before sealing the win with a two-putt par.