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  Sunday, 29 September, 2002, 18:20 GMT 19:20 UK
Torrance's lions stand tall
Europes Paul McGinley, third right, is mobbed by team-mates, Niclas Fasth, right, Darren Clarke, second right, Sergio Garcia, left, and caddies
The Europeans can hold their head high

Europe were never expected to win the 34th Ryder Cup.

They entered the event with most people discounting their chances of regaining the trophy lost at Brookline in 1999.

The bookmakers did not rate them, and with good reason.

After all, the United States had five of the top 10 players in the world and Europe's stars were misfiring and the rest of them were a bunch of virtual no-hopers in American eyes.

With the traditional strengths of Europe, the fourballs and foursomes, not yielding a lead heading into the singles the hopes were not high of an upset.

Europe had won the singles only twice in the preceding 11 events.


They may have a Tiger - but I've got 12 lions
Sam Torrance
But a canny piece of captaincy by Sam Torrance - he stacked his best players at the top of his singles - gave them the start they were after.

As the roars of delight from European fans around the greens rippled across the Brabazon course the underdogs fed off the atmosphere.

Led by a rampant Colin Montgomerie, who nailed six birdies to blitz Scott Hoch, the European juggernaut was off and running.

It gained momentum with wins to Padraig Harrington and Bernhard Langer and soon Torrance's gamble looked like becoming a masterstroke.

US captain Curtis Strange had taken the opposite approach to Torrance and saved his big guns to shoot down Torrance's fledgling rookies in the final matches of the day.

Europe's star man Paul McGinley soaks upo the celebrations
Standing proud - McGinley euphoric after his winning putt
He had reason to be confident. He had Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods in the last two rubbers - his bankers, he hoped.

But his strategy ultimately backfired. He forgot that the Ryder Cup can turn average golfers into superhumans. He did not anticipate the energy the vast crowd would impart on Torrance's young guns.

Four rookies and the fifth, an out-of-sorts Jesper Parnevik, should have proved no match for their more illustrious opponents.

Torrance had always believed he had the team to regain the trophy: "They may have a Tiger - but I've got 12 lions."

In the end, the Tiger-effect did not matter.

If any side in history rose to the occasion, this was it.

The unheralded debutant Phillip Price produced the best 18 holes of his life to beat Phil Mickelson and, by the time fellow rookie Niclas Fasth secured half a point, the Europeans were within reach.

Europe's star man Paul McGinley soaks upo the celebrations
Standing proud - McGinley euphoric after his winning putt

But it still needed a clutch putt on the 18th from debut boy Paul McGinley to seal the win.

The other matches did not matter, but Pierre Fulke and Parnevik were still giving as good as they got down the stretch.

A combination of guts, determination and good old-fashioned teamwork had defied the odds.

Torrance's lions had roared.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
European captain Sam Torrance
"Nothing can compare to this victory"
Europe's hero Paul McGinley
"I was thinking 'don't miss'"
Europe's Colin Montgomerie
"Not to lose is always a thrill"
 VOTE RESULTS
Who was the star for Europe at The Belfry?

Paul McGinley
 7.00% 

Colin Montgomerie
 67.65% 

Phillip Price
 11.44% 

Sam Torrance
 13.91% 

28937 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion
News, reports and features on golf's big team event

Europe 15-12 USA

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