Last Updated: August 28, 2012 9:43pm
Graeme McDowell: Hero of the hour at Celtic Manor after singles win
A Ryder Cup in Wales in October never seemed like a good idea and in one sense it was proved right - the rain did come, the match was delayed and it ended on an unprecedented fourth day.
Miguel Angel Jimenez
Captain: Colin Montgomerie
Captain: Corey Pavin
But thankfully Celtic Manor witnessed one of the great Ryder Cup finishes and therefore the weather was part of the story, even a contributing factor to the tension, rather than the story.
The week began as normal, with the morning session of fourballs going out early on Friday, but the rain refused to cease and from that moment on the match became a frantic race against time.
Those fourballs were suspended at 9.43am, resumed at 5pm, suspended again at 7pm and only completed on Saturday morning.
With time running out organisers and the captains contrived a compromise solution which required them to play around with the format. Session two became six foursomes and session three two foursomes and four fourballs.
If it worked a finish was still possible on Sunday evening, but only if the rain stopped because the Celtic Manor course could take no more water. It was not to be.
Saturday saw what was, at times, glorious sunshine and the American team forged a lead; at the conclusion of the second session they were 6-4 ahead.
European captain Colin Montgomerie left his team in no doubt that they needed to pull their socks up and he got the fightback he demanded.
The English pairing of Luke Donald and Lee Westwood administered a sound 6&5 thrashing of the strong US combination of Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker. Then Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy also won their foursomes match.
In the fourballs Europe claimed three wins and the last match out saw the Italian brothers Francesco and Edoardo Molinari take on Stewart Cink and Matt Kuchar.
Francesco, who had missed many short putts, held his nerve on the last to claim a half point which gave Europe a three point advantage going into the singles on Monday.
That extra day proved to be special. The rain had finally relented, and the course had withstood the battering, but all around the players there was chaos.
The galleries trudged through ankle deep mud and buggies splashed through vast puddles, but everyone refused to let conditions get in the way of a good time.
The first two points went USA's way, but the indomitable Ian Poulter - backing up a promise to Monty - put Europe's first point on the board. Soon afterwards McIlroy added a half, then Donald and Miguel Angel Jimenez full points.
But then three of the next four points went America's way and Rickie Fowler staged a stunning comeback to halve with Edoardo Molinari from four down with four to play. The one remaining match on the course would decide the contest.
At which point Northern Ireland's McDowell unleashed a magnificent approach to the long par-four 16th hole. And then, surrounded by thousands of supporters standing proudly in mud, he rolled in the birdie putt to take a two hole lead with just two holes to play.
He still needed the full point and he duly got it when his opponent Hunter Mahan duffed his chip on the penultimate hole.
Victory was Europe's. The weather had made the contest long, but in the end it had also made it dramatic.
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