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  Sunday, 29 September, 2002, 18:06 GMT 19:06 UK
A singular success for Sam's lions
Ireland's Paul McGinley after holing the putt to win the 2002 Ryder Cup
McGinley was just one of Europe's singles stars

At last week's Solheim Cup, Dale Reid's European team fell foul of one of golf's eternal laws - the Americans always win the singles at team events.

A two-point lead going into the final day at Interlachen was first whittled away, then blown away, as the USA stormed through the singles 8-3.

Fast forward a week to the Ryder Cup and, to borrow a line from the famous US baseball player Yogi Berra, it looked like a case of deja-vu all over again.

  Recent singles results
2002: Eur 7-4 US
1999: US 8-3 Eur
1997: US 8-4 Eur
1995: Eur 7-4 US
1993: US 7-4 Eur
1991: US 6-5 Eur
1989: US 7-5 Eur
1987: US 7-4 Eur
1985: Eur 7-4 US
1983: US 6-5 Eur
1981: US 8-4 Eur
When the Americans pegged back Sam Torrance's European team to 8-8 on Saturday, there were many at The Belfry already thinking the worst for Sunday's singles.

In the 10 previous Ryder Cups, the USA had only lost the final-day singles twice, at Oak Hill in 1995 and at The Belfry 10 years before.

A 68-51 US lead in the 120 singles matches between 1981 and 1999, tells its own story.

Despite the individual brilliance of the likes of Seve Ballesteros and Nick Faldo, the Europeans have grown used to seeing the Americans rack up points in the singles.

Europe's Sunday blues were perhaps best seen at Brookline in 1999.

A four-point lead after two days once more proved insufficient in the face of an American onslaught in the one-on-one combat.

A young Sam Torrance celebrates his 1985 Ryder Cup-winning putt
Torrance celebrates his winning putt in 1985
An 8-3 thrashing was just enough to give the USA a one-point victory and possession of the Ryder Cup once more.

And that is exactly what US captain Curtis Strange was counting on come Sunday morning this time around.

The clear blue water everybody thought the Europeans needed going into the singles had failed to materialise - Strange could now sit back and watch his all-stars flatten the overawed Europeans.

Torrance, perhaps the canniest Scot in Britain right now, and his "12 lions" had other ideas.

The European captain followed the cricket approach on Sunday and put his best players in early.

Strange chose a different tack, opting to keep his big guns back.

While Colin Montgomerie, Bernhard Langer and Padraig Harrington filled their boots for Europe, the American cavalry of Davis Love, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods failed to show up.

Torrance picked right, Strange picked wrong.

With six matches completed on Sunday afternoon, Europe had a 12-9 lead and suddenly the unlikely seemed likely.

But the 34th Ryder Cup was won and lost when Europe's lesser lights matched their more celebrated American counterparts 3-3 in the final six matches.

It is fitting that Europe's joint-best haul from the final-day singles - 7 points - should come at the place the modern Ryder Cup story started.

It was in 1985 at The Belfry that a similar 7-4 singles scoreline gave Europe their first victory in the competition, saving the event as a sporting spectacle after decades of American dominance.

And who was it that sunk the winning putt that famous Sunday?

None other than Scotland's Sam Torrance.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Europe's hero Paul McGinley
"I was thinking 'don't miss'"
Europe's Philip Price
"I knew it was my chance"
Highlights from the singles

News, reports and features on golf's big team event

Europe 15-12 USA

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