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Montgomerie hailed as European hero

When Colin Montgomerie's final putt plopped into the hole on the 18th green at Oakland Hills on Sunday, it clinched a remarkable Ryder Cup triumph and soothed the Scot's personal anguish.

After a year during which Montgomerie had suffered the traumas of a very public divorce, the 41-year-old who had needed a wildcard to make the team stood like a giant among the Europeans, tears filling his eyes.

"It's been a long four, five months of mine personally and I've come a long way in that time," he said. "I am proud of myself right now.

"It doesn't matter who holed the final putt because this is a team event. But this means more to me than most. It's super."

Super it certainly was as the European team, outsiders at the outset, recorded victory by a record 18-1/2 points to 9-1/2.

The European champagne had been on ice for the best part of the weekend after Bernhard Langer's team streaked into a 6-1/2 1-1/2 lead on the opening day.

But victory was no less sweet despite it being anticipated since Friday's fantastic showing by the visitors.

"Easy Ryder", the British newspapers trumpeted. "Langer calls shots in a triumph for European Unity", the Independent's headline ran across a double page spread.

"Garcia's rhythm gives U.S. the blues," the same newspaper said of Europe's talismanic Spaniard Sergio Garcia.

Spain's Marca made its feelings plain. "Sergio Garcia was the hero of Europe's victory," it proudly boasted. El Pais was happy to share the glory. "Garcia and Montgomerie kill off U.S." it said.

But for British tabloid The Sun, Montgomerie was the man of the moment. "Magicol" its back page spread blared, referring in part to his first name, before adding insult to U.S. injury on the inside pages with a headline which simply said "Spankee Doodle".

"He may have never won a major but on a late sunlit afternoon here in the great Midwest, Monty enjoyed the finest moment of his long career," the Sun's chief sportswriter wrote.

"With Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood safely back in the clubhouse with a point apiece, fate decreed that the greatest Ryder Cup player of the modern era had the putt to win it."

Across the Atlantic, U.S. newspapers pulled no punches. "Euros spank Yanks again" read a headline in The Detroit News while the Detroit Free Press said: "Answers elude the U.S. as team mulls historic loss".

A columnist in USA Today wrote: "You have to hand it to the rich, pampered individualists who once again were assembled to pretend to be team mates for a week on the U.S. Ryder Cup team. They were very efficient losers.

"These superstars and their team mates, past and present, have so mangled American opportunities in the Ryder Cup...that they have left us wondering if they ever are going to be capable of gelling as a team again.

"And, even more interestingly, if they ever really care."

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