European captain Sam Torrance opted to load his top order with his best players, while Curtis Strange saved Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson until last in the singles.
The talismanic Colin Montgomerie set the tone with a 5&4 thrashing of Scott Hoch as Europe won four of the first five matches and got a half in another.
Wales' Phillip Price beat world number two Mickelson 3&2 to give Europe a 14-11 lead and Ireland's Paul McGinley sank the winning putt, making Woods's contribution irrelevant.
"It had nothing to do with me. I led the boys to water, and they drank copiously," said Torrance.
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