Olazabal's heroes pulled off the greatest fightback in history to retain the Ryder Cup at Medinah
Last Updated: 01/10/12 9:33am
Europe staged the greatest fightback in Ryder Cup history to retain the trophy with a one-point victory amid high drama at a stunned Medinah Country Club.
The United States started Sunday's singles needing just four-and-a-half points to reclaim the trophy, but Europe's heroes won eight of the 12 matches and halved the last to leave the home team shell-shocked.
Luke Donald set the tone for the day with victory over Bubba Watson in the opening match, and Europe won the next four to turn the scoreboards into a sea of blue.
It was Martin Kaymer who collected the crucial 14th point when he held his nerve to sink a knee-knocking six-foot putt to secure a one-up victory over luckless veteran Steve Stricker.
The 39th contest looked set to end 14-14 with Francesco Molinari one down after 17 to Tiger Woods, who then missed a three-footer for par and generously conceded the hole to the Italian - the only halved match of the week.
Donald's 2&1 win over the Masters champion was swiftly followed by a crushing 5&3 victory for Paul Lawrie over FedEx Cup champion Brandt Snedeker.
Poulter on song again
Ian Poulter then claimed a remarkable 12th win from 15 Ryder Cup matches when he edged out Webb Simpson on the last, and Rory McIlroy ended Keegan Bradley's unbeaten record despite arriving at Medinah just 10 minutes before his tee time.
Justin Rose produced the finish of the day as he birdied the last two holes - nailing a 50-footer at 17 - to snatch a one-hole victory over Phil Mickelson.
Dustin Johnson finally got a point on the board for the home side as he beat Nicolas Colsaerts, and 2010 hero Graeme McDowell slumped to defeat to Zach Johnson.
Jason Dufner held off a spirited fightback from Peter Hanson, but Lee Westwood looked back to his best in a 3&2 win over Matt Kuchar and Sergio Garcia pipped Jim Furyk at the 18th after the American bogeyed the last two holes.
All eyes turned to Kaymer's battle with Stricker as they arrived on the 17th tee all square, and the German rattled in a tricky four-footer for par to take the lead.
Kaymer's birdie putt at 18 raced six feet past the hole, and Stricker piled on the pressure when he sank a brave par putt from 10 feet.
But Kaymer was up to the task as he found the centre of the cup to ignite the European celebrations, and Woods' concession moments later was the final act of an enthralling stage in Chicago.