'For the gallery, it had to be exciting,' said U.S. captain Arnold Palmer. 'I was watching and I got pretty damn excited.'
The Rest of the World team was in control of the tournament with Eduardo Romero clinging onto a 1-up lead over Scott Hoch with the 18th to play on the Seaside Course at Sea Island Golf Club.
Hoch's late bravado was preceded by several dominating victories by his teammates and the 48-year-old parred the hole to halve the match and secure the half-point necessary to keep the UBS Cup in the hands of the Americans.
'I don't know that we'll ever be lucky enough to have it happen quite as nice as it did this week,' said Palmer.
Hale Irwin, the all-time winner on the Champions Tour, got the charge going with a 7 and 5 thrashing of Bernhard Langer, a stark contrast of when the duo halved their singles match at the Ryder Cup in 1991.
'Just one of those days that had I been in his shoes it would have been a very discouraging day,' said Irwin. 'I can tell you what it's like to see your opponent really not give you any openings and continue knocking the flag down, and that's exactly what I had today.'
Bruce Lietzke, the winner of this year's U.S. Senior Open, disposed of Barry Lane, 6 and 5, and Mark O'Meara followed suit, disposing of Ian Woosnam by the same score.
In the opening match between the two captains, Tony Jacklin outlasted Palmer, his American counterpart, 1-up. Nick Faldo then defeated Curtis Strange, 2-up, to keep the Rest of the World in the game.
Senior British Open champion Tom Watson put together a gutsy performance against Colin Montgomerie.
Montgomerie fell 2-down with a bogey at the 12th but the Scot battled back as Watson double-bogeyed the par-4 14th.
Watson held a 1-up lead with one to play but Montgomerie birdied the last to halve the match.
'I needed that one at the last,' said Montgomerie. 'I was running out of options and I don't like running out of options.'
The Rest of the World kept the Americans at bay after Des Smyth beat Craig Stadler, 1-up, and Bill Longmuir took care of Rocco Mediate, 1-up, but the U.S. kept clawing back into the internationals' lead.
Raymond Floyd halved his match with Rodger Davis and Brad Faxon earned a point for the Americans with a 2 and 1 victory over Carl Mason.
Hal Sutton, who will captain the Americans at the 2004 Ryder Cup, defeated Vicente Fernandez, 2 and 1, but the Rest of the World, which had failed to win this event in its previous two attempts, still had a shot at the cup with Fernandez's countryman Romero in the last match.
Romero had a 2-up lead with four to play but Hoch pulled within one with an eagle at the par-five 15th.
'Everybody had so many close matches, even though there were some blowouts today,' said Hoch.
The cup then slid from the grasp of the Rest of the World team as the Argentinean Romero bogeyed the closing hole to halve his match with Hoch.