Graeme McDowell knew it was a mistake as soon as he glanced up at the scoreboard.
That comfortable lead Europe had taken into the singles matches two years ago was gone, erased in a flurry of American birdies. Instead of coasting into the victory party as he'd expected as the 12th man out, the Ryder Cup - to say nothing of Europe's pride and honor - was in McDowell's hands.
''Those last seven holes, I've never been so nervous in my life,'' McDowell recalled on Tuesday. ''Coming down the stretch that day was some of the toughest golf I had ever played in my life, and some of the most nerve-racking golf. Myself and Hunter Mahan, someone was going to be the hero and someone was going to be the villain that day.
''Thankfully I was able to get the job done.''
Of course he did. When the Ryder Cup is on the line, the Irish usually do.
McDowell delivered the winning point at Celtic Manor with a 15-foot birdie on the 16th hole, joining Darren Clarke, Paul McGinley, Philip Walton and Chr...