Martin Kaymer celebrates after Europe won the Ryder Cup (AP/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Golf fans were celebrating after one of the most amazing comebacks in sporting history saw the Ryder Cup safely returned to European soil.
The United States went into the final day with a towering 10-6 lead. But Jose Maria Olazabal's side were celebrating on Sunday night after fighting their way to an incredible 14 1/2 to 13 1/2 win in Chicago.
Germany's Martin Kaymer sank a 5ft putt on the 18th hole to ensure the trophy would be heading back across the Atlantic.
Englishman Ian Poulter, who won all his four games to make it 12 points from a possible 15 in his cup career, said: "We just felt we had that tiny little chance and we've made history - unbelievable."
The European team's fifth victory in six games at the cup was achieved in the colours of Seve Ballesteros, the late Spanish golfer who did so much to reinvigorate the Ryder Cup competition, and with images of him on their sleeves and bags.
Team captain Jose Maria Olazabal, a close friend of Ballesteros, said during the celebrations: "Seve will always be present. He was a big factor for this event and last night when we were having a meeting I think the boys understood that believing was the most important thing."
The day started in extraordinary fashion when Northern Irish star Rory McIlroy only just made it to the tee in time, needing a police escort after he got his start time wrong. But it finished in remarkable glory when the European team clawed back their overnight deficit, winning their first five singles games and a further two points from Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia, matching their US counterparts man-for-man.
That put Olazabal's side, almost unbelievably, 13-12 up, before they pressed home their advantage in the last two matches on the final two holes, first drawing level to retain the trophy and then winning the contest outright.
Speaking at the closing ceremony after the tournament, Olazabal struggled to keep his emotions in check as he explained what the tournament meant to him. He said: "The 12 men of Team Europe, what you did out there today was outstanding, You believed, and you delivered, and I am very proud that you have kept Europe's hand on this Ryder Cup. It has been a privilege to serve you as your captain. All men die, but not all men live, and you made me feel alive once again this week."
And amid chants of "Seve, Seve" from the crowd, he said: "I am pretty sure that he is very happy where he is today."