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Golf: Europe Wins Back Ryder Cup From US - 2002-09-29

Europe has won back the Ryder Cup, the most prestigious trophy in team golf. The Europeans went with strength early to take the Cup from the United States, 15.5 to 12.5 points.

Colin Montgomerie of Scotland led the European charge, wining the first singles match over American Scott Hoch, up five holes with four to play. Montgomerie was surprised to learn the final day strategy set by captain Sam Torrence.

"I came out and was looking for my name at about seven, eight, nine [on the list] where I usually play," he said. "And I could not see my name because it was 'Monty' instead of 'Montgomerie.' It is usually longer. I was shocked as everyone at what Sam had done. He put his strength right at the top."

Montgomerie led Europe overall with four wins and one tie. Padrag Harrington was also a big winner, five-and-four-over Mark Calcaveccia.

"It was a little bit ugly out there," he said. "I have got to say I was not 100 percent on top of my game this week. But I knew I had to focus hard and do the best with what I have got. So when Mark gave me the opportunity, I took it."

The rest of the points came in closer wins from Thomas Bjorn of Denmark, German veteran Bernhard Langer and Phillip Price of Wales. David Toms and Scott Verplank won points for the United States while two earlier contests ended in a tie to send half-points to both teams.

The United States held slim hopes of winning, needing three wins in the last three matches, each of which were even. But Paul McGinley of Ireland sank a two-meter putt to tie Jim Furyk on the 18th hole to gain the half-point Europe needed to win the Ryder Cup.