Europe win the Ryder Cup - a top moment of 2014

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With Christmas upon us and New Year’s little over a week away, we are now into the top 10 of GiveMeSport’s countdown of the biggest sporting moments of 2014. In at No.9 on our list is Europe’s triumph over the USA in the Ryder Cup.

Paul McGinley led the hosts to a comprehensive 16½ - 11½ victory at Gleneagles; a triumph that saw the stock of the Northern Irishman rise considerably and that of Tom Watson, his captaincy counterpart, plummet.

The USA were out to avoid a third successive Ryder Cup loss and actually started the stronger of the two teams, taking a one-point advantage into the first afternoon session after winning two matches and halving another in the morning fourballs.

European fightback

Rookies Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed, the youngest American pairing in the history of the competition, were the stars of the session - beating Stephen Gallacher and Ian Poulter 5&4 - but were left out of the foursomes altogether. It was the first of a number of questionable decisions from Watson.

Europe mounted a stirring fightback on Friday afternoon; taking 3½ points from the four available with a half for Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia - who had lost in the fourballs - the only match the home side were unable to win. 5-3 to Europe was the score at the close.

Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson led off in day two’s fourballs and a 3&2 win over Bubba Watson and Matt Kuchar was the third point for this European pairing in the third match they had played together in the competition.

It was, however, to be the only whole point that Europe took in the morning, with USA winning through Reed and Speith along with Jim Furyk and Hunter Mahan, while McIlroy and Poulter halved with Jimmy Walker and Rickie Fowler.

Deja vu

There was deja vu all over again in the afternoon’s foursomes as Europe rallied once more to win 3½ points, with Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley conspicuous by the absence despite having won a point in their only match.

USA entered into Sunday’s singles needing a Medinah-esque comeback at 10-6 down, but were up against it from the off as Europe took three points from the first four matches to leave them within striking distance of glory.

Singles domination

Kuchar and Mickelson struck back by winning the next two matches, over Thomas Bjorn and Stephen Gallacher, but a half for Justin Rose and Hunter Mahan ensured Europe needed just another half to retain the cup.

Jamie Donaldson was to be the hero as he rolled up to the 15th pin from the fairway - a shot that resulted in Keegan Bradley conceding the match and Europe moving to 14½ points to secure an outright win.

Sergio Garcia beat Jim Furyk before the close while Ian Poulter and rookie Victor Dubuisson, one of the players of the weekend, halved with Webb Simpson and Zach Johnson to clinch a memorable victory.

GMS 2014 moments so far...

10. Oscar Pistorious convicted of killing Reeva Steenkamp
11. Rory McIlroy wins back-to-back majors
12. Atletico Madrid win La Liga
13. Liverpool's title challenge unravels
14. Liverpool's dramatic victories
15. David Moyes sacked by Manchester United
16. LeBron James confirms sensational Cleveland Cavaliers return
17. Seattle Seahawks blow out Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII
18. Jo Pavey wins European gold
19. Robin van Persie's remarkable header against Spain
20. Michael Sam comes out and gets drafted by Rams
21. Andy Murray crashes out of Wimbledon
22. James Rodriguez won our hearts and the golden boot with this moment
23. Peyton Manning breaks Brett Favre's Touchdown record
24. Richard Sherman's outburst live on TV
25. Chelsea rout Arsenal 6-0
26. Ashes whitewash and Kevin Pietersen sacking
27. San Francisco Giants win the World Series
28. Angel di Maria signs for Manchester United
29. Wayne Rooney named England captain
30. Bradley Wiggins wins the world title

Ryder Cup

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