European heroes celebrate in style as Mickelson exits alone
THERE is a tradition of celebrating big golf wins in style and Europe's Ryder Cup heroes ensured that legacy continued unblemished and unabashed.
Photos of the stars enjoying the celebrations were beamed around the world just hours after the continent clinched its third straight victory and eighth success in the last ten Ryder Cup competitions.
Rory McIlroy, in customary style, led Sunday night's celebrations - appearing shirtless and clad in a red tartan kilt and matching garish wig - with his arm around team mate Stephen Gallacher, the only Scot in the Euro team at Gleneagles.
"Got into the Scottish swing of things last night with Stevie G!" McIlroy told followers on one of his social networking sites.
Earlier videos had appeared of the Holywood golfer popping the champagne a little prematurely as play was still finishing. He wasn't the only one getting a little excited.
The celebrations ran late into the night and meant Jamie Donaldson, whose delicate chip on the 15th on Sunday afternoon all but sealed the win for Europe, was still feeling the effects from the previous night's exertions as he was interviewed on live television. "I'm still drunk," he grinned cheerfully when asked if was able to absorb the winning feeling.
The team's captain, hailed by his players as one of the 'greatest ever', was more considered in his reflections on victory.
Paul McGinley boasted of his six wins from six Ryder Cup competitions and said he felt like a 'heavyweight fighter' having taken on all comers and bowing out with an undefeated record.
The Dubliner will not be captain in 2016 when Europe travels to Hazeltine National Golf Course in Minnesota. Another Irishman Darren Clarke has been tipped for the role, but McGinley was keeping his counsel yesterday.
"It's too early to say yet in terms of who is going to be the new captain. What I will do, because I am part of the decision-making process, will be to gather information over the next few months and talk to the guys, players and people around the tour and people who I respect and get an opinion from them," he said.
There was soul-searching of a different kind underway among Team USA as they made their way home - disjointed and divided after one of the most bitter press conferences in sports history saw a number of players, including US legend Phil Mickelson, round on captain Tom Watson for the embarrassing defeat.
Conveniently Mickelson made his own way home from Gleneagles in his $40m private jet.
McGinley, meanwhile, is due to stage a homecoming at Grange Golf Club in Rathfarnham, Co Dublin, having promised club members there a night to remember. Last night, Grange vice captain Paul Muldowney said this could be a "few months" away due to the golfer's busy schedule.
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