Captain Colin Montgomerie basks in Europe Ryder Cup win
Proudest moment of my career - Monty
Winning captain Colin Montgomerie said regaining the Ryder Cup was a "very proud moment for all of Europe" after a thrilling final day at Celtic Manor.
The United States took it down to the wire, but Graeme McDowell defeated Hunter Mahan to secure a 14½-13½ win.
"This means the world to everyone involved in the European Tour," said Montgomerie. "I am so glad we won.
"I didn't hit a shot, yet it is a proud, proud moment for me personally. It's an amazing feeling to have won."
Montgomerie, who indicated afterwards he would not captain Europe again, was quick to pay tribute to McDowell, who produced a crucial birdie putt at 16 to help him to a 3&1 victory over Mahan and get Europe over the line.
"I want to talk about how well everyone played, because to a man they were magnificent and they all gave me 110%, which was all I could ask for," added Montgomerie.
"As for McDowell - he was put at the end for a very good reason. He is the US Open champion and full of confidence, and it showed because that birdie on 16 was unbelievable.
"We got off to a flier, but the US came back extremely well. Tiger Woods [who beat Francesco Molinari 4&3] showed why he's the number one in the world and all credit to their whole team, they played magnificently.
"I'd also like to pay tribute to my vice-captains, because we wouldn't have won the Ryder Cup without them, so that puts their roles into context."
McDowell, who won the US Open in June, knew if he failed to beat Mahan the US would retain the trophy after a fabulous fightback from Corey Pavin's side on an unprecedented fourth day in the event.
"The US Open felt like the back nine with my dad back in Portrush compared to this," said Northern Irishman McDowell.
McDowell admits to Ryder Cup nerves
"We said we weren't going to check out the leaderboards but the screens by every green were quite big so it was tough not to notice.
"On the 10th green I realised it was really tight and the chances were the last matches were going to come into play, but I hoped I wouldn't be needed.
"I was nervous there, boy was I nervous, there was a lot of pressure. The 16th was massive, it was a fast putt and I had to get it going, it's the best putt I've hit in my life.
"I cannot describe the feeling of winning this golf tournament. I was just trying to win it for my team-mates, the caddies and the fans, because everyone's been unbelievable.
"Colin Montgomerie has been amazing for the last two years, he's been right up for this. There's nothing like Monty, he is the Ryder Cup for Europe and to do that for him today was very, very special.
"It's an amazing feeling, there's nothing quite like it."
Englishman Lee Westwood, who was beaten 2&1 by Steve Stricker in the first match of the day, described watching McDowell and Mahan do battle as "just awful".
The world number two added: "I hated every minute of it, I don't know how my wife and parents do it.
"As a player I knew what Graeme was going through - he had the whole team's success or failure in his hands at that moment in time and that's a lot of pressure."
Ian Poulter, who thrashed Matt Kuchar 5&4, dedicated the win to European legend Seve Ballesteros, who is battling cancer.
"Seve's at home watching this and he can't be with us right now but every player has watched what he's done for European Tour golf," said Poulter.
"It means everything for him. We played from the heart today, we brought this trophy back. It's a special day for European golf.
"To do this in Wales in front of this many fans is truly unbelievable."
Rory McIlroy, whose half with Stewart Cink proved critical in the final analysis, added: "It's great to bring the Ryder Cup back to Europe. It has been the best week of my life, this is the best event in golf by far."
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