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Last Updated: Sunday, 24 September 2006, 17:24 GMT 18:24 UK
K Club, Ireland - 22-24 Sept, 2006
Europe 18-9 USA




Darren Clarke
Darren Clarke was choked after his singles victory
Europe have thrashed the USA 18-9 to win the Ryder Cup for a record third time in a row after dominating the singles at the K Club in Ireland.

Luke Donald held his nerve on the 17th green to beat Chad Campbell and ensure the hosts retained the trophy.

It was left to Swedish rookie Henrik Stenson to knock in the decisive putt and take Europe past the winning post.

And Darren Clarke, whose wife Heather died of cancer last month, broke down in tears after beating Zach Johnson.

DAY TWO AS IT HAPPENED (all times BST)

By Alex Trickett & Phil Harlow

RYDER CUP BLOG
BBC Sport's Matt Slater at the K Club

1820: It's finally time. Bertie Ahern presents the trophy to Ian Woosnam, who holds it high in the air. Another rousing chant of "ole, ole, ole, ole" delays Woosnam for an instant, but he soon hits his stride, giving thanks (with just a slight hint of a slur??) to caddies, wives, players and just about everyone else. That's it for another two years. The greatest show in golf begins again in Valhalla in 2008. But until then, Europe will keep that precious Ryder Cup. All hail King Woosie!

1812: On comes the Ryder Cup trophy and up steps defeated US captain Tom Lehman, who magnanimously proclaims the 2006 event the best ever. He pays special tribute to Darren Clarke and both teams (as well as President Clinton) rise spontaneously as one to applaud the bereaved Northern Irishman. It is another touching tribute and brings a tear to the eye of Clarke.

1805: Ireland Prime Minister Bertie Ahern says a few words and then the governor of Kentucky explains how delighted his US state will be to host the 2008 Ryder Cup. It's standard closing ceremony fare so far and not hugely exciting, if I'm honest.

1756: The European players march on to the stage in alphabetical order to warm applause. The Americans are led on by the top three players in the world; Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk.

1753: Out come some of the biggest drums you'll ever see to kick-start the closing ceremony. They are so big that you can only see the heads and feet of the men beating them.

1750: President Bill Clinton is still on hand and is waiting patiently for the Ryder Cup closing ceremony. It's only minutes away.

1737: Fashion update: Pastel pink has appeared again. The victorious Europeans emerge from the dressing room clad in pink jackets with European flags hanging out of their pockets. The Americans are fittingly in more sombre attire, sporting burgundy shirts and navy blue jackets. It's the same colour combo they wore during Sunday's singles. Respective European and American WAGS are in matching clobber.

1728: There is an air of authority about this European win and a sense that the team will dominate for years to come. To reflect that, bookmakers have Europe as odds-on favourites to win again in America in 2008.

1710: The crowd switch into crooning mode with a rendition of Irish favourite "The Fields of Athenry".

1705: Most of the players have bottles of champagne on the go, but Darren Clarke raises the stakes by downing a pint of Irish Guinness. And then the players join the crowd assembled below their balcony in singing "one Ian Woosnam". Woosnam responds by downing a pint of Guinness himself.

1703: Padraig Harrington waves the Irish flag to huge ovation, but no-one has taken a dip in the surrounding water. Yet...

1656: Did some mention champagne? Out pops Ian Woosnam's mate Ian Botham to join the celebrations.

1655: Europe won every session of this Ryder Cup and the singles by 8.5-3.5. That is a record for the hosts and their overall margin matches that in 2004.

1653: European captain Ian Woosnam is the first person to get an eyeful of champagne as the spray wars start.

EUROPE WIN: Lee Westwood is still under the weather, but he plops his second shot on to the green to win the match after Chris DiMarco finds the water. The American might have conceded a little quicker, but it's a 2 up victory nonetheless and the big Irish party can officially begin.

1645: The champagne is out and is being loaded on to a buggy. Expect all sorts of spray-related antics in just a matter of minutes.

1640: The European players are wound up like corked springs waiting for the final match to end and the real celebrations to begin. But they'll have to make one more trek to the 18th green after Chris DiMarco pegs Lee Westwood back to 1 up with one to play. It's all smiles as Paul McGinley and Ian Woosnam stroll arm in arm. And even the sun has come out at the K Club to celebrate this auspicious occasion.

EUROPE WIN: Contrasting fortunes for Jose Maria Olazabal and Phil Mickelson. Olazabal has had a tremendous event, but his US counterpart has only half a point from five matches as he loses this singles match 2&1. Olly immediately embraces team-mate Darren Clarke and the two clinch emotionally for many seconds before breaking apart.

USA WIN: As a party atmosphere engulfs the K Club, the three remaining pairings play on. Scott Verplank applies the finishing touches to a 3&2 win over Padraig Harrington.

MATCH HALVED: Paul McGinley concedes a 15 footer to give JJ Henry half a point.

1618: As his team-mates put the exclamation mark on this European win, Darren Clarke has been made the odds-on favourite to win the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

1615: Europe still have a chance of setting their own Ryder Cup best. 18.5-9.5 is the existing record in 2004, but there are still 19 points up for grabs for the K Club hosts.

"A pint of Guinness"
European Ryder Cup captain Ian Woosnam when asked what was going through his mind.

1608: As European celebrations ignite, Scott Verplank claims the second hole in one of the tournament at the 14th to go 4 up with four to play against Padraig Harrington.

EUROPE WIN: So Darren Clarke narrowly missed out on the chance to seal Europe's 2006 win. But no matter. The popular Northern Irishman wraps up an emotional 3&2 win over Zach Johnson before welling up with tears. He embraces US captain Tom Lehman and then his own captain Ian Woosnam, who raises Clarke's hand in triumph. The crowd musters itself once more for a special salute to a brave man.

EUROPE WIN: Henrik Stenson steals in to make the putt that wins the 2006 Ryder Cup for Europe. He wins his match 4&3.

EUROPE WIN: Chad Campbell visits the water and Luke Donald sinks a five footer to win his match by 2&1 and thereby retains the Ryder Cup for Europe.

EUROPE WIN: Europe are certain to retain the Ryder Cup because David Howell has win his match 5&4 and two other matches are currently dormie in Europe's favour.

1530: So, here's the situation... If Luke Donald closes out his match (he is back to 1 up with two to play), then Darren Clarke may be the man to hole the putt that retains the Ryder Cup for Europe. After the traumatic time he's been through, how touching that would be. But David Howell and Henrik Stenson are motoring and may have a say in all this. They are both 4 up with few holes left to play.

1520: As David Howell gets to 3 up, it is surely a matter of when Europe reclaim the Ryder Cup. Will the decisive point fall into Darren Clarke's lap?

EUROPE WIN: Paul Casey holes a 15 footer on the 17th to cap a brilliant weekend with a hard-fought 2&1 win over Jim Furyk. It is Furyk's first singles loss in five outings.

1513: Darren Clarke loses a hole to slip back to 3 up. David Howell is 2 up on Brett Wetterich, while American Chad Campbell claws his way back to 2 down with two to play.

USA WIN: It's three points out of five for Tiger Woods, who beats Robert Karlsson 3&2. Not a bad return for the world's number one and he played better on Sunday. But chances are he won't leave the K Club content - he wanted to win back the Ryder Cup.

1507: Paul McGinley is all square in his match and the USA only lead in three matches. That will not win them back Samuel Ryder's famous cup.

1504: Up ahead on 16, Jim Furyk rolls in an eagle to peg back Paul Casey to 2 up with two to play. Can he complete an improbable comeback?

1500: Darren Clarke is 4 up now after a putt across the length of the green at 12. Is that fairytale moment around the corner? Tiger Woods, meanwhile, is 2 up going down the 16th.

1453: It is looking very bleak for the USA and still bleaker when Luke Donald goes 3 up in his match.

EUROPE WIN: Colin Montgomerie produces a wonderful bunker shot to get his ball close to concession land on the 18th. But he is there for three and Toms has a monster putt for an eagle and a half of the match. That slides past and Montgomerie is asked to knock in his ball from six feet for Europe's first point of the day. The Scot does the business and joins an elite group of Ryder Cup heroes with six singles wins to his name.

1446: A ray of hope for the USA as JJ Henry completes a stunning comeback to go 1 up.

1440: Putts from Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke put them 5 up and 3 up respectively. The way things are going, the fairytale ending of Clarke putting to seal European victory is a distinct possibility.

USA WIN: Stewart Cink ends an inspired round early by holing a 25 footer putt at the 15th after Sergio Garcia had chipped in to apply pressure. Final score: 4&3.

1435: Colin Montgomerie has a long putt to win the match. It doesn't drop and David Toms drains a pressure putt to take the first match down the 18th.

1432: JJ Henry was 2 down to Paul McGinley after eight holes, but is all square after 10. Luke Donald finally breaks the deadlock in his duel with Chad Campbell to go to 1 up.

1430: Paul Casey is on the 14th tee and you know what that means... It's hole in one time. Actually, no, not this time. The Englishman finds the green though.

1427: More good news for Europe as Lee Westwood continues his incredible start to go 4 up and Henrik Stenson goes 1 up.

1422: Colin Montgomerie almost holes a Herculean putt. It drifts agonisingly wide, but David Toms misses his birdie chance to leave his Scottish foe 2 up with two to play. Sergio Garcia drills in a five footer at the 14th to prolong his match with Stewart Cink. But defeat still looms for the young Spaniard.

1408: TIGER UPDATE Woods, who has fallen back to 1 up, is feeling peckish, but a buggy due to deliver his specially-prepared peanut butter sandwiches has been delayed.

1407: Jim Furyk makes a great putt to bring Paul Casey back to 3 up.

1406: TIGER UPDATE Frogmen have been dispatched to find Woods' missing club. He cannot use it today, but needs it for his next tournament.

1403: Lee Westwood is on fire. Suffering with the effects of a high temperature, the wildcard pick goes 3 up after four holes.

1402: Stewart Cink stops any hopes of a Sergio Garcia fightback as he goes back to 4 up at the 12th.

1359: Tiger Woods is in trouble at the 10th. His tee shot finds the bunker, and his next remains in the bunker, albeit a few yards closer to the hole.

1353: Colin Montgomerie capitalises on more magical iron play to go 2 up. Meanwhile, Sergio Garcia is back on form and will not lie down. A 20 footer limits his losses to 3 down. Surely he can't continue the comeback?

1344: Zach Johnson misses a putt, so Darren Clarke is 1 up again. David Howell and Jose Olazabal are also 1 up for Europe.

1341: Sensational scenes at the 8th hole. Tiger Woods gives his nine iron to caddie Steve Williams to wash, but the caddie drops it in the pond. Woods is not allowed to replace it, but suffers no immediate ill effects as he birdies the 9th to go 2 up.

"There was a huge smile on his face - he didn't berate his caddie, but it's an amazing Ryder Cup tale."
BBC Five Live reporter Alistair Bruce-Ball after Steve Williams accidentally drops Tiger Woods' nine-iron in the water.

1330: Zach Johnson sinks a long putt at the 5th to make his contest with Darren Clarke all square. But Paul McGinley hits back for Europe to make his match 2 up again.

1327: Lee Westwood is struggling with a high temperature, but he starts well with a birdie to go 1 up on tough American Chris DiMarco.

1321: Is lady luck smiling on Europe? She certainly is on Colin Montgomerie, whose approach to the par-four 11th limps over the water, ricochets off a rock and lands next to the green. Elsewhere, Jim Furyk misses another putt to send Paul Casey 4 up.

1315: Darren Clarke makes his move to go 1 up over Zach Johnson. Europe are up in four matches, down in three and level in two.

1312: Paul Casey takes advantage of another magnificent approach to go 3 up at the 8th.

1310: President Clinton switches his attention to Tiger Woods and is not exactly a good luck charm. The World number one sees his putt at the 6th lip out and is now only 1 up. Sergio Garcia claws a hole back, but is still 4 down and in a world of trouble.

1308: Vaughn Taylor is 1 up on Henrik Stenson after the 1st.

1305: Fashion update: Shock, horror. As the weather improves, some European jumpers come off and reveal pastel pink, short-sleeved shirts with red collars. Instant advantage USA in the wardrobe stakes.

"We needed Stewart to get out of the blocks flying so guys can see Garcia is beatable because he's been exceptional all week. Hopefully the others guys can feed off that."
Michael Jordan on BBC Radio Five Live

1300: NBA legend Michael Jordan is watching the Stewart Cink v Sergio Garcia match and he must be happy with what he is seeing. US compatriot Cink holes a four footer to go 5 up.

1255: What slump? Restored to singles play, Tiger Woods looks like a different animal. He hits an iron shot to four feet at the 5th and makes a second successive birdie to go 2 up.

1250: Two unusual visitors to the K Club: President Clinton is out on the course following the Darren Clarke match, as is a hare, which scampers across a fairway to safety. Back in the golfing news, Paul McGinley continues his fast start to go 2 up.

1246: Apologies to all Europe fans. It seems the big build-up for Sergio Garcia (see 1127 entry) was the kiss of death. The Spaniard misses a six footer at the 6th to go 4 down. After playing in and winning in all four sessions, he is starting to look tired.

1241: Tiger Woods holes a four footer to move 1 up against Robert Karlsson. But the European Pauls hit back. McGinley and Casey sink putts within moments of each other to go 1 up and 2 up respectively.

1235: Stewart Cink is on fire. His fourth birdie in five holes puts him 3 up against Sergio Garcia, who won't be used to losing in the Ryder Cup.

1231: Paul Casey three putts on the fourth and sees his lead slip to 1 up. But Colin Montgomerie is in command in his match as David Toms finds the bunker on the 7th. The Scot misses a birdie and the hole is halved.

1227: Fashion update: OK, the colours have been unveiled. Europe favour bright red pullovers for Sunday (a tipped hat to Tiger Woods' Sunday tradition perhaps?). The USA are sticking with their navy blue sweaters and have striped burgundy shirts.

1220: A sumptuous chip by Stewart Cink is conceded by Sergio Garcia, as the American goes 2 up again. At the first tee, Northern Irishman Darren Clarke is almost knocked off his feet by the sonic boom, which is his reception. The K Club is buzzing and the rain has stopped.

1215: In-form Paul Casey's pitch lands 15 feet from the pin and he rolls in the birdie putt to go 2 up over Jim Furyk. But Tiger Woods makes his match all square at the 2nd with a birdie.

1212: Realising how important it is that his team starts quickly, US captain Tom Lehman is following the first match and his presence may have helped as David Toms claws back a hole to go to 1 down. The captains usually stay on the first tee to give players moral support as they start off, which is exactly what Ian Woosnam is doing.

1210: The bunkers are in a bad way. Luke Donald is offered a drop in the hazard to avoid water, but he declines, aware that a drop would likely plug his ball. Flooding is a concern at the K Club after so much rain.

1202: More good news for Europe as Robert Karlsson goes 1 up on Tiger Woods. Sergio Garcia birdies to pull back his deficit to 1 down.

1158: Another iron, another majestic approach for Colin Montgomerie. The Scot's ball is conceded from three feet to send him 2 up after David Toms misses from 25 feet.

"The European team is playing well - there are no weak links in that team."
BBC golf commentator Mark Carnevale

1153: Stewart Cink is off to a blistering start. He birdies again to go 2 up over Sergio Garcia. But Paul Casey strikes back for Europe, holing an eight footer to steal a 1 up march in his match. Birdies are flying around at the K Club and there are only four pairings on the course.

1150: Tiger Woods looks like a man with a point to prove as he strides to the 1st tee. He has won two and lost two at this year's Ryder Cup so what will Sunday's singles bring?

1147: Another superb iron from Colin Montgomerie sets up a hole-winning birdie chance at the 3rd. He drains it from five feet to go 1 up.

1142: Not the ideal start for Sergio Garcia, who sees his 10 footer wander past the hole. Stewart Cink is 1 up. Colin Montgomerie leaves his putt short and his match stays level.

1136: Colin Montgomerie almost holes his approach to the 2nd. A birdie chance beckons.

1132: Fashion update: Too early to say I'm afraid. The persistent rain means that all players have kept their macs on. But there is a hint of red under Sergio Garcia's jacket. Watch this space.

1127: Back at the carnival - I mean 1st tee - European and US fans compete with their chants. There is only one winner. A smattering of Americans shout "USA, USA, USA" for a moment before they are drowned out by a deafening chorus of "Sergio, Sergio, Sergio". That means only one thing... Sergio Garcia, Europe's best performer this weekend, is under way to defend his perfect 2006 record. Today's victim (I mean opponent) is Stewart Cink.

1122: Both players are safely on the 1st green, neither with an easy birdie chance. Colin Montgomerie misses his by a matter of inches and David Toms does exactly the same as the hole is halved in par four.

1115: And here we go... A massive roar greets Colin Montgomerie and David Toms at the 1st tee. The atmosphere is truly outstanding and a smile breaks over Montgomerie's face as a rousing chorus of "ole, ole, ole, ole" rings out. Toms gets Sunday's play started and Montgomerie follows him down the heart of the fairway. Before leaving the tee area, Montgomerie turns to applaud the crowd - that's not something he usually does.

"The difference between this year and Brookline in 1999 is that this is a home match for Europe and we have a very vocal Irish crowd behind us.

"It's interesting where Tom Lehman has put Tiger Woods in the order at fourth - I think he's deliberately tried to avoid Colin Montgomerie."
Former European Ryder Cup captain Bernard Gallacher on BBC Radio Five Live

1107: Colin Montgomerie is making his final preparations with the putter under a large umbrella in the practice area. It's going to be a wet start to play, but the forecast promises better weather later on. We'll believe it when we see it!

1045: Tiger Woods is up and about and gets a lift to the practice area on an electric buggy as the rain starts up.

1020: Grey skies loom and rain is in the forecast again. But it will take more than a few drops of water to dampen the mood at the K Club.

1000: Good morning and welcome to the third and final chapter of the 36th Ryder Cup. Holders Europe have won each of four sessions so far and need to cobble together just four points from 12 singles matches to retain the cup.

A formality you would think, but hold on for a second and take your mind back to 1999. In that year at Brookline, Europe also led 10-6 going into the final day and lost the event 14.5-13.5 after an incredible comeback by the USA, who tend to be stronger at singles. A note to all those Europe fans expecting a cake walk: "Don't count your chickens just yet."

SEE ALSO
Ryder Cup: Singles round-up
24 Sep 06 |  Golf


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