First the Ryder Cup win at Valderrama, now a superb showing in the World Cup here. These are good times for European golf. Not that you would know from the world rankings.
Padraig Harrington, world No 78, and Paul McGinley, No 101, brought Ireland's second World Cup title on Sunday - by five strokes. Scotland were second, one ahead of the Americans, Open champion Justin Leonard and USPGA winner Davis Love: Germany, Wales, Spain and England took the next four places.
In the individual competition, for the International Trophy, Colin Montgomerie, at 22 under, beat Alex Cejka by two and Ignacio Garrido by three to win for the first time on American soil. Seven of the top-eight were European. Sweden were forced out of the team competition when Per-Ulrik Johansson fell sick again on Saturday night.
"European golf is on an up right now," Montgomerie, the five-times European No1, said. "After the triumph in the Ryder Cup, we've a lot of talent in Europe. It's great we can finish first, second, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh. We've had a re-emergence of good young players."
McGinley, with two wins in six weeks, is 30; Harrington 26. Cejka is 26 and Garrido 25. Then there are the likes of Thomas Bjorn, Darren Clarke, Lee Westwood and Andrew Coltart.
"But we have a problem with the world rankings," added Montgomerie. "When the World Golf Championship events start in 1999, we are only going to have eight or nine players in them and that is a backwards step. We deserve more points for European events."
This has been discussed in players' meetings but only eight Europeans are in the top 50 in the world, led by the 34-year-old Montgomerie in sixth place. His partner, Raymond Russell, whose contribution to Scotland's 26 under par was four under, had a virtuoso display to learn from as Monty closed with three 66s.
"You'd be stupid not to play attention," Russell said. "It is not the birdies he makes, but the bogeys he doesn't. He doesn't make any mistakes. He makes the game look very simple."
l Sweden's Annika Sorenstam completed the year the way she started it - with a win. Sorenstam parred the third hole of a sudden-death play- off for her sixth victory of the season at the US LPGA Tour Championship in Las Vegas on Sunday. Sorenstam also secured US LPGA Player of the Year honours for the second time in three years.Reuse content