G-Mac and Wee Mac show great resilience to take their first point

"McEurope" won their first Ryder Cup point yesterday afternoon. They had been waiting two years for this – two years and three days after all the rain delays. Graeme McDowell has been known for years as "G-Mac", which on his Ryder Cup debut in America led to European supporters taunting their hosts with the chant: "You've got Big Mac but we've got G-Mac."

"I know I could do with losing a little bit of weight but I'd certainly rather be G-Mac than Big Mac," said the US Open champion. Here at Celtic Manor he has been joined by his compatriot Rory McIlroy. "Does that make me 'Wee Mac'?" chipped in the youngster.

The two Macs won their foursomes match against Zach Johnson and Hunter Mahan at the 3 and 1. After a half and a loss in the earlier sessions, McDowell and McIlroy were not only delighted to get their first win together in this most thrilling form of the game but to add to the European blue on the scoreboard.

After America's top pairing of Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker were pulverised by the home team in the top match, it was vital for McDowell and McIlroy to maintain the momentum. Overnight they were three up after seven holes but it took until the 17th green and a beautiful birdie-putt from McIlroy to seal the victory.

It is a green where their fortunes have been mixed over the last few days. On Saturday morning, McIlroy holed a monster putt up the tier to take their opening fourball match to the last hole, where they secured a half against Stewart Cink and Matt Kuchar. Given that Cink had rattled off five birdies by himself on Friday, it was a half gained rather than a half lost.

But late on Saturday afternoon, against the same pairing in the first series of foursomes, Cink returned the favour, holing for a two that put the Americans one up when they had been one down on leaving the 15th hole. McDowell and McIlroy could not retrieve the situation at the last and what looked a likely win had turned into a loss.

Colin Montgomerie, the home captain, admitted spending most time with this pairing prior to the start of the third session on Saturday night. There was no question of Montgomerie splitting up the friends, who combined for three wins from four matches at the Seve Trophy last year and were considered one of Europe's banker partnerships.

Perhaps that term has been devalued following the credit crunch. "People expected a lot of them and it is always difficult to achieve one's expectation," Montgomerie said. "They were feeling it and I was concerned with the way their second match finished. So all credit to them for coming out and playing as they did."

McDowell added: "We have been talking about this, winning Ryder Cup points, for a couple of years. I certainly found out two years ago how difficult winning a point is in this tournament and we experienced that the last couple of days.

"Considering the type of matches we were involved in, we're happy with a point and a half from three. To play alongside one of my best friends and who I regard as one of the best players I've ever seen in the world, he's a very special player, it's great to play alongside him."

McIlroy is still only 21. It is hard to believe because he is the ninth best player in the world and won the Dubai Classic last year and a big event in America this year with the little matter of a closing 62.

Despite that incredible performance and the undoubted talent, McIlroy is still learning to finish off victories. The Ryder Cup provides a crash course in getting the deal done and after finally claiming his first full point, he sounded nothing like the naïve kid who in the past had questioned if this "exhibition" was something to get excited about ahead of the game's traditional major championships.

"Today felt great," McIlroy said. "To get my first win under my belt in the Ryder Cup is fantastic. It is special to play alongside this man. He's been great for me and made my life a lot easier, walking the fairways with him. At the start of the week he was the only guy I wanted to partner."

The instructions from the captain on resuming yesterday afternoon were to expect the Americans to start fast and to finish even faster. Johnson proved that right by holing for a birdie at the eighth as soon as the players got out on the course and the American forced McDowell to hole out for a half-in-birdies at the 15th before keeping the match alive by landing a birdie at the 16th hole.

"Stewart Cink beat us up with the putter in the first two matches and it looked like Zach Johnson was trying to do the same," McDowell said. "You have to expect these guys to hole everything but they seemed to keep doing it."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living