Graeme McDowell Seals Europe’s 2010 Ryder Cup Victory Over United States
October 4th, 2010-  By Bryan Cross

Ask any golfer who has been in the Ryder Cup about the pressures of the event compared to that of any other tournament, and they will say that is it unlike any other.

That, was on fully display in the first Monday finish in Ryder Cup history at Celtic Manor in Wales.

In a setting that was eerily similar to that of the great United States comeback in 1999, Europe was this time able to fend off a furious rally by the Americans to win the 2010 Ryder Cup, thanks to Graeme McDowell’s crucial birdie putt on the 16th hole against Hunter Mahan.

On No.17, Mahan needed a miracle after hitting a poor tee shot, but left his chip shot woefully short and then conceded the match and the Ryder Cup to the European squad 14 1/2-13 1/2 in just the seventh Ryder Cup in history to be decided by a single point.

Entering the day the United States found themselves down by three points 9 1/2-6 1/2 after a horrendous Sunday afternoon that saw a 6-4 lead disappear.

Then came the American comeback, spearheaded by the opening match when Steve Stricker defeated Europe’s Lee Westwood.

The youngest play on the American team, 21-year-old Rickie Fowler gave the United States a final chance at retaining the Ryder Cup after making birdies on his last four holes to halve his match with Edoardo Molinari.  Fowler made lengthy putts on both the 17th and 18th holes.

From there, it came down to Mahan and Graeme McDowell in the only match left on the course.  McDowell controlled a commanding 3-up lead through 11 holes, but Mahan mounted a comeback, drawing it only a 1-up lead for McDowell with just three to play.  The birdie on 16 for McDowell forced Mahan to have to win the final two holes, which he was unable to do.

As Mahan took his hat off to concede the match, McDowell was stormed by his teammates and fans alike, shouting “Europe” at the top of their lungs.

The United States won seven points when they needed 7 1/2 points.

Tiger Woods faced Francesco Molinari  and defeated him 4 and 3.  That, included an eagle on No.12.  Woods played the 15 holes in nine-under par.

Phil Mickelson did not win a point in his team matches, but bested Peter Hanson on Monday 4 and 2.

In the end however, it was McDowell who was the one to ice the Ryder Cup for Europe, capping off what has been quite the year for the Northern Irishman after winning the U.S Open at Pebble Beach back in June.

Entering the event, the European Team was set as the betting favorite on USA Online Sportbooks and PGA Tour Betting Lines to win the 2010 Ryder Cup, going off at -162 on Bodog.

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