Call it a choke job by the Americans or a valiant rally by the Europeans. Either way, Europe is once again the Ryder Cup champion, claiming the trophy on Sunday after a 14½-13½ win at Medinah Country Club.
The U.S. entered the final day of the event with a commanding 10-6 lead. Needing just 4½ points out of a possible 12, the Americans let their lead slip away and allowed Europe to defend its title. Europe won the first four matches of the day, and before the Americans knew what hit them, their lead had turned into a 10-10 tie. The Americans rallied to take a 13-12 lead with three matches remaining, but Europe went 2-0-1 to close out the tournament.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the day was Phil Mickelson's loss to Justin Rose. Mickelson was easily the favorite to claim the point, but he found himself in a back-and-forth battle with the Englishman. Mickelson took a 1-up lead into the 17th hole, but Rose was able to finish birdie-birdie and win the match.
With the score tied at 13-13, American Steve Stricker needed a draw against Martin Kaymer to keep the U.S. alive. Stricker and Kaymer traded blows through 15 holes and were all-square going to No. 17. Stricker bogeyed the par-3, and Kaymer was able to take the lead with a par. Both golfers parred the 18th, giving Kaymer the point and Europe the win.
In what turned out to be a formality, Tiger Woods and Francesco Molinari halved the final match of the day to complete the scoring.