The United States team captain, Paul Azinger, center, hugging Stewart Cink with Kenny Perry after winning the Ryder Cup golf tournament. (David J. Phillip/The Associated Press)
LOUISVILLE, Kentucky: The United States' Ryder Cup failures came to joyful end Sunday in the rolling hills south of the Ohio River, as a team built on rookies and emotion took down favored Europe for the first time in nine years.
Led by the first-timers Anthony Kim, Boo Weekley and J. B. Holmes, the United States ended a three-match losing streak, with a 16 ½-11 ½ victory at Valhalla Golf Club.
Victory in this 37th renewal of the Cup overwhelmed Paul Azinger, the United States captain, who tearfully hugged the veteran Jim Furyk after Furyk's 2-and-1 triumph over Miguel Ángel Jiménez gave the team an insurmountable lead.
"I put my heart and soul in this for two years," the 47-year-old Azinger said. "My players put their heart and soul in it for one week. We came in with a great plan."
The United States led, 9-7, going into Sunday's final round of 12 singles matches. It was Azinger's idea to go with his best potential players, Kim, Hunter Mahan, Justin Leonard, Phil Mickelson and the home-state favorite Kenny Perry in the opening matches, hoping to get a jump on the Europeans. It worked, if not exactly the way Azinger thought. It would.
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