Sam Torrance of Scotland scored the clinching point today as Great Britain-Europe ended 28 years of frustration and defeated the United States, 16 1/2-11 1/2, in the biennial Ryder Cup.
The European captain, Tony Jacklin, had tears in his eyes as he rushed onto the 18th green at the Belfry Golf Club and hugged and congratulated Torrance on his comeback 1-up victory over U.S. Open champion Andy North.
"Unbelievable. It's history. We made history today," Jacklin said. "It was a dream finish. You dream of winning a Ryder Cup that way."
The British-European team, which took a two-point lead into the last day's play, won six of the first eight singles matches and halved the other one to take an unbeatable lead. The Americans won three of the last four, but by then, it was all over.
It marked the first British-European victory since 1957 and only their fourth since British seed merchant Samuel Ryder first put up the cup for play in 1927. The United States holds a 21-4-1 overall lead in the series.
When Fuzzy Zoeller conceded the final hole to Jose-Maria Canizares of Spain in the final match, an enormous, joyous celebration began from the crowd of more than 26,000 that braved the chilly, blustery weather.
Torrance, Jacklin and their teammates climbed onto the roof of the pro shop and began spraying the crowd with champagne.
"We lost and I love to win," said U.S. captain Lee Trevino. "But I learned a long time ago that anybody can smile when they win. It takes a helluva man to smile when you lose. Well, I'm still smiling. It was no disgrace."
Hal Sutton, who lost all three matches he played in over the three days, was incensed at the treatment he and his U.S. teammates received from the fans. "I don't need the money," he fumed. "I play golf because I enjoy it. If the crowds ever get like this in America I wouldn't hit another golf ball."
Sutton, 27, said, "British golf fans have always had a reputation for fairness and appreciation of the game. But none of our guys saw any of that this week. Their behavior was disgraceful."
Trevino complained that his players' wives were "hissed" at by fans during Saturday's play.