Justin Rose beat Phil Mickelson with a birdie at the 17th that was perhaps the key turning point Sunday. And then there was Ian Poulter, who started Europe's charge by making five straight birdies in the final match of Saturday's fourballs to take a crucial point and leave the score at 10-6 going into the final day.
“I'm officially taking two years off and I'll see you at the next one,” said Poulter, who won a match-high four points and was labeled the “modern-day Seve” by McIlroy.
It was a German, Martin Kaymer, who rolled in a putt on the 18th hole to beat Steve Stricker on Sunday and ensure that Europe retained the cup.
“I never had such a feeling before,” Kaymer said. “I'll never forget it and I'll be telling my grandchildren about it.”
“Wunderbar,” blared the headline in Britain's Daily Express.
With a nod to Europe's economic troubles, the Irish Times said: “Martin Kaymer, a cool German, gave Europe a massive bailout that contributed to the most unlikeliest comeback in Ryder Cup history.”
Belgium — hardly a golfing stronghold — reveled in having one of its own in the winning lineup. Nicolas Colsaerts was a virtual unknown in Belgium a few months ago, but Europe's biggest hitter graced the front pages of two of the country's main newspapers Monday after making a memorable debut that included beating Tiger Woods in Friday's fourballs.
Twitter was awash with Ryder reaction from sports personalities past and present who stayed up late to cheer on Europe from afar.
“The victory was epic!” Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal, a keen golfer, tweeted.
Paul Casey, an English golfer who played in three Ryder Cups from 2004-08, added: “Woke up this morning and it wasn't a dream. The most amazing Ryder Cup ever! Well done lads, especially JMO.”
Four-time Olympic rowing gold medalist Matthew Pinsent of Britain offered his own take.
“Ironic that in the cold light of morning the U.S. played better in the team formats than we did and EUR were great `individually,“' Pinsent tweeted.