On one hand, you had a sombre Team USA, with faces as stony as a necropolis, trying to come to terms with a bewildering defeat. On the other, you had a triumphant Team Europe, knocked giddy by a cocktail of adrenaline and champagne, giggling away in rampant exultation. It can often make about as much sense as a chimps' tea party.
Amid the celebrations there was the calm, collected figure of Paul Lawrie. "You know me, I don't drink that much," said the 43-year-old Aberdonian. He could afford himself a couple of glasses to toast a job well done, though. As the dust settled on Europe's staggering Ryder Cup comeback at Medinah, Lawrie took time to reflect on what had been a monumental occasion. The 1999 Open champion, making his first Ryder Cup appearance for 13 years, certainly played his part with a 5&3 victory over the FedEx Cup winner Brand Snedeker in the singles which helped the Europeans to a 14½-13½ victory.
In the build-up to the final session, one confident American analyst, casting his eye over the ties, finished off his prediction by writing: "There's a reason Snedeker just won $11.4m [at the FedEx Cup] and Lawrie still gets mistaken for your heating and air conditioning guy".
The level of ignorance sometimes beggars belief. There was no mistaking who was the main man on Sunday. Lawrie trampled Snedeker into the ground with a matchplay masterclass. Having lost his two previous matches in the fourballs, the world No.28 was eager to make amends and he did just that. "I'd been taking a wee bit of stick I think from a few people back home after two games and two defeats, which is fair enough," he said. "But I didn't think I'd played poorly. It was important personally to get something out of the week. I wouldn't have liked to have gone back with no points. I came out and got Brandt on the back foot and I think he was maybe shocked a bit. It was important the first three or four guys got off to good starts, get ahead and show the others that there were some figures on the board."
As a member of the European side that led 10-6 going into the final day at Brookline in 1999 – the same margin the USA had at Medinah – but still went on to lose, Sunday's success soothed those old wounds. It also gained him new respect from his teenage sons. "I got a text from both of them and I think for the first time, I might just be cool."
Lawrie, who beat Jeff Maggert 4&3 during those 1999 singles ties, added: "In terms of achievements, this ranks just behind the Open win. I've been on both sides, of course, and to come back from 10-6 behind on American soil is unbelievable. To come back and draw would've been amazing but to win? The night before, Jose [Maria Olazabal] said he liked the way the games were matched up, he liked the pairings. He said he believed in us and he said he honestly thought we could win. After that, we had to give 100% for him."
Inspired by the memory of his late coach Adam Hunter – "I thought of him all day, I think of him every day and he would be very proud" – Lawrie has added a another chapter to a fine golfing story. He will return to action as a Ryder Cup hero on home soil this week, partnering his eldest son Craig in the Dunhill Links Championship, an event he won in 2001. "I can't think of anything better than playing a European Tour event with my son," he said. "There won't be much practice for it, mind you, but I'm sure Craig will carry me for the first day and then we'll be all right."
Lawrie will be joined at St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns by Martin Kaymer, the German who clinched the winning point for Europe on super Sunday in Chicago. His defeat of Steve Stricker, a win sealed with a nerveless five-footer for a par on the 18th, took the holders to the magical 14-point tally. Kaymer won't forget that moment in a hurry. Neither will his Scottish caddie Craig Connolly. The Clydebank bagman, making his fifth appearance in the biennial bout, never had any doubts about his boss's ability to get the job done.
"Those situations are what Martin and the rest of guys work for," said Connolly, who was by Kaymer's side when the former world No.1 plundered the US PGA Championship in 2010. "They want to be the ones involved at the very highest level and you don't get anything more intense than that one. To get the chance to hole the putt that wins the Ryder Cup doesn't come around for too many players, so he wouldn't have wanted it any other way. Of course, there's pressure but you don't get to world No.1 and you don't win a major championship if you can't handle pressure.
"That's why I wasn't too worried when he stood over that five-foot putt. I knew he would have the nerve to hole it. Ask yourself this: How good are the Germans at penalty shoot-outs? When it comes to the crunch, they hold their nerve."
Kaymer, who had been struggling for form in the build-up to the Ryder Cup and just managed to hold on to the final automatic qualifying spot on the European points list, had played just one tie in the weekend's event before Sunday's shoot-out. He sat out all of Saturday's play but returned to the fray to make a huge impact. "I suppose it was like being dropped for a cup semi-final but still getting the chance to play in the final and score the winning goal," added Connolly.
Kaymer himself was well aware of the importance of his situation and knew how significant the outcome of his match would be when the European captain Olazabal emerged at his side and told the German to stand and deliver as the tension mounted. No pressure then?
"I got to the 16th and Jose told me 'We need your point and I don't care how you do it, just deliver," said the 27-year-old.
Kaymer, and Team Europe, certainly delivered when it mattered at Medinah.
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