US press hail victory for American multitude

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The Independent Online

The American press were glowing in their praise of Paul Azinger and his USA team after the 16 1/2 to 11 1/2 victory that sent the Ryder Cup back across the Atlantic.

Captain Azinger took a lot of the credit while the team dynamic of the US side was also hailed as the hosts ended a nine-year losing streak at Valhalla, Kentucky.

The New York Times said: "When it was clinched on Sunday, and it was clear the United States had the points to win the Ryder Cup, Paul Azinger leapt to his feet, thrust his hands skyward and let out a yell that was drowned out in the din.

"This victory was so big, not even the voice of Azinger, the team captain, could be heard, and so it became just one of a multitude that blended into the huge, roaring sound wave that engulfed the 17th green at Valhalla Golf Club.

"The heavily favoured European team lost because of a determined and enthusiastic group of motivated newcomers, newly energised veterans like (Jim) Furyk and a creative captain in Azinger."

A feature of the American side was the performance of their rookies, and the Washington Post picked out Anthony Kim for his opening singles victory over Sergio Garcia yesterday.

"Kim set the tone for the American side as Azinger's lead-off golfer, matched against Garcia.

"The flamboyant 23-year-old native of Los Angeles, winner of the AT&T National tournament at Congressional in July, not only rose to the occasion, he practically soared to a stunning 5&4 victory, the most lopsided triumph by an American Cup rookie since 1999."

The Americans have consistently under-performed in the team format over the last decade and USA Today felt they had decisively answered their critics.

"In the prairies and backwoods of the Bluegrass State, the Americans finally emerged from an international match-play forest where they had lost five of last six meetings, including blowouts in 2004 and 2006 that left cynics questioning the commitment and passion for the Ryder Cup. That criticism won't fly anymore."

It was ironic the US finally lived up to their billing when their star asset, Tiger Woods, was injured - meaning the Europeans were in the unusual position of being favourites.

The Los Angeles Times said: "For sure, the homespun Boo Weekley inspired the US team and its fans, but it still wasn't easy coming up with a blueprint for success that didn't include Tiger Woods.

"Yet that's exactly how the underdog US team played it, winning 16 1/2 to 11 1/2, with a trump of Europe's aces that no one could have forecast."

Two of the key figures in the victory were local heroes Kenny Perry and JB Holmes, and Louisville's Courier-Journal saluted the efforts of the Kentucky pair.

"Strong as a team and equally mighty on their own, the Americans rode the emotion of a flag-waving crowd and their Kentucky heroes on Sunday to take back the Ryder Cup with a 16 1/2 to 11 1/2 victory over Europe.

"Kenny Perry, the 48-year-old native son who dreamed of playing a Ryder Cup before a Bluegrass crowd, delivered a 3&2 victory that was part of an early push that swung momentum toward the US team.

"JB Holmes, legendary in these parts for making his high school team in tiny Campbellsville as a third-grader, showed off his awesome power with two final birdies that set up the Americans for victory."