Montgomerie hails winning European team

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The Independent Online

The man who secured the point that won the Ryder Cup for Europe described the moment as "bananas".

Graeme McDowell, who holed a pressure putt on 16 and then won the match on 17, told BBC Radio Five Live: "That was absolutely amazing. That was bananas.

"The putt on the 16th was stuff I have dreamed about all my life."

US Open champion McDowell's 3&1 victory over Hunter Mahan gave Europe a dramatic 14 1/2 to 13 1/2 triumph over the United States.

Padraig Harrington described the winning feeling as "incredible" and "phenomenal".

Harrington, one of captain Colin Montgomerie's wild card picks, said: "Every Ryder Cup's the same. It's phenomenal. There's nothing like it in golf. That's incredible."

Lee Westwood, who lost today's opening singles match to Steve Stricker but had been in fantastic form since the opening day on Friday, said: "I've never been slapped on the back so often. We are really delighted.

"It's been a great team performance against a strong American side."

Ross Fisher told BBC Radio Five Live: "This is very sweet. It's a shame there's got to be a losing team and losing side."

Montgomerie paid tribute to McDowell, telling Sky Sports 1: "Graeme McDowell was put there for a very good reason. He's full of confidence and that showed.

"That birdie on 16 was quite unbelievable."

He continued: "I'm very proud. It's a very proud moment for us all here in Europe. They all played to a man magnificently, they all gave 110% and that's all you can ask.

"I want to talk about every player playing how well they did. They did magnificently. I knew I had a great 12. I just had to rely on certain people at certain times.

"At one stage there were eight blue names on the board and it was over. But they weren't two, three up, they were one up. It's a dangerous position to be in.

"They (the US) came back extremely well. All credit to them. Tiger showed he was number one in the world. Phil Mickelson did brilliantly.

"All credit to the American team. You played magnificently today. The three-point deficit was the reason why we won."

Asked about his own achievement, Montgomerie said: "I didn't hit a shot so it wasn't much of an achievement, but it's a proud proud moment."

McDowell admitted he was more nervous than when he won the US Open earlier this year.

"The US Open felt like the back nine with my dad back in Portrush compared to this," he told Sky Sports 1.

"That was different. I was really nervous. Wow. It's a different feeling, there's so much pressure.

"I can't describe the feeling of winning this golf tournament. I was just trying to win it for my team-mates, the caddies and the fans have been unbelievable. It's a special feeling."

The Northern Irishman described his birdie putt on the 16th, which eased him into a two-up lead, as the "best of my life" before paying tribute to Montgomerie.

"He was amazing for the last two years, he's been right up for this," McDowell added.

"There's nothing like Colin Montgomerie, he is the Ryder Cup for Europe and to do that for him today was something special."

Ian Poulter dedicated the win to European legend Seve Ballesteros, who is battling cancer.

"Seve's at home watching this and he can't be with us right now but every player has watched what he's done for European Tour golf," Poulter told Sky Sports 1. "It means everything for him.

"We played from the heart today, we brought this trophy back. It's a special day."

"This is a special day for European golf. To do this in Wales in front of this many fans is truly unbelievable."

He added: "For Monty and all the assistant captains this week, they have been absolutely different class.

"To put G Mac out last, there was some discussion about that. There's a reason why he was put there - US Open champion. He pulled it off."

Rory McIlroy salvaged half a point from his match with Stuart Cink and he said: "I probably didn't realise it at the time but it was huge.

"To regain the Ryder Cup and bring it back to European soil and to do it for European golf and for Seve, its the best week of my life."

A former critic of the tournament, he added: "In two years' time I do not want to be watching this on TV."

On Ballesteros, vice-captain and fellow Spaniard Sergio Garcia said: "I hope he's proud of us. It meant so much to us for him to call us.

"This victory is for everyone in Europe and it's definitely for him."

Garcia continued on Sky Sports 1: "We knew we had a very strong team but the Americans were very good too. It seemed like we were getting our noses in front then they would come back.

"It was very, very tight throughout the whole week and what a great way to finish."

Garcia hopes to be back in the team next when Europe defend the trophy in two years' time.

"The Ryder Cup is what I always dream about," he said. "I'm looking forward to coming back."