Notes Euro Picks Do Their Part


04 Ryder CupBLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- European captain Bernhard Langer outdid counterpart Hal Sutton in every phase of the Ryder Cup, and the captain's picks were no different.
With Monty on their side, was there ever any doubt?
Colin Montgomerie and Luke Donald thoroughly outplayed Sutton's wild cards - Jay Haas and Stewart Cink - in Europe's 18 1/2-9 1/2 victory over the United States.
Langer had a tough decision to make between Donald and Fredrik Jacobson, but Donald rewarded Langer's faith with 2 1/2 points in four matches.
'This is the pinnacle. It's what every player wants to do,' Donald said.
His other pick was a no-brainer. Montgomerie had a sterling record in six Ryder Cups, and he built on that in No. 7 at Oakland Hills.
Monty teamed with Padraig Harrington for two wins on Friday, including one over Sutton's 'Dream Team' of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.
Fittingly, it was Montgomerie who clinched the win with a 1-up victory over David Toms on Sunday, which also improved his career Ryder Cup record to 19-8-5, tops among Europeans.
'Bernhard Langer, I knew he would be good from the word go,' Montgomerie said. 'But he had good troops with him as well.'
Sutton's picks, like all of his decisions, will be questioned.
He passed on Scott Verplank, who had an outstanding Ryder Cup at The Belfry two years ago, and British Open champion Todd Hamilton to select Haas and Cink.
The 50-year-old Haas started strong with 1 1/2 points in his first two matches. But he faded, losing on Saturday in foursomes and on Sunday in singles.
And Cink rarely came up with the big putts that the U.S. expected, and needed. He went 1-2-1, including a 3-and-2 loss to Paul McGinley on Sunday.
'It's a lot tougher to be a captain than it is to be a player,' Sutton said. 'I'm going to be second-guessed. That's the life of a golfer.'
Jim Furyk and Chad Campbell capped a long three days with easy victories Sunday.
Furyk cruised to a 6-and-4 victory over David Howell, and Campbell finally got his putter going in a 5-and-3 win over Luke Donald.
It was a nice change for the pair, who squandered a one-hole lead with two to play in Saturday's momentum-changing loss to Donald and Paul Casey in four ball.
The Europeans said that rally was the fuel for a dominating afternoon in alternate shot that yielded a commanding 11-5 lead heading into Sunday.
Furyk jumped on Howell early with three birdies in the first five holes, improving to 3-1 in singles in four Ryder Cups.
Campbell bounced back from losses in his first two matches, taking advantage of bogeys by Donald on Nos. 3 and 4. He made a long birdie putt at No. 8 to go 3-up en route to his first Ryder Cup victory.
Hole No. 13 in the match between Fred Funk and Thomas Levet provided a microcosm the weekend.
After winning two straight holes, Funk stuffed his tee shot within a foot of the hole and looked to be in good position to tie the match.
But Levet followed with an even better shot, sticking an 8-iron within 6 inches.
Funk could only stare at the Frenchman and smile in disbelief. Levet just shrugged and smiled back, high-fiving his opponent as they walked up the fairway.
'That was pretty sweet,' Funk said. 'That was good TV golf right there.'
Levet extended his lead to 2-up on the next hole, and Funk never threatened after that, losing 1-up.
The early charge by the Americans got the home crowd rocking on Sunday afternoon. Then Europe's dominance turned Oakland Hills into The Belfry West.
Shortly before Tiger Woods teed off on No. 1, a fan yelled, 'We believe in miracles! Go get 'em Tiger!'
Woods kept them believing in the first hour of the match, holing a 35-foot eagle putt on No. 12 for a 3-up lead on Paul Casey. Woods then yanked off his hat, shouting 'C'mon!' while pumping his fist.
The gallery obliged, chanting, 'U-S-A! U-S-A!'
Phil Mickelson also got off to a quick start against Sergio Garcia, knocking his approach on No. 6 within 6 feet.
Garcia decided to concede the putt, which was no gimme, to avoid a thunderous roar from the raucous fans.
At that point, there was much to cheer about. The Americans led the first five matches early in the day, before Europe started to roll.
An hour later, Europe was leading in seven matches, and it was clear that the Cup was heading back across the pond.
That's when the party started.
European chants of 'Ole! Ole! Ole! Ole!' started to drown out the shellshocked Yanks, and the bubbly started flowing as the victorious 'underdogs' gathered on the 18th green.
'Unbelievable,' Paul McGinley said of the boisterous supporters. 'It's like WE'RE at home.'
The Americans were only too eager to look past this shellacking to the next Ryder Cup.
The 2006 Ryder Cup will be played at the K Club in Dublin, where a regular European Tour event is played every year.
The Americans can't wait to get there.
'I can tell you right now that two years ago when I missed making this team, I really didn't know what I was missing,' Chris DiMarco said. 'Now that I know, it really ticks me off that I missed this team last time.'
The Europeans will be ready, too.
'I don't ever want to miss again,' Ian Poulter said. 'It's the best week in golf history.'
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