Jamie Donaldson: Ryder Cup has been a dream that exceeded all my expectations
Welshman Jamie Donaldson is still coming to terms with the enormity of his achievements after a Ryder Cup debut that exceeded all his expectations.
The 38-year-old rookie capped a memorable three days at Gleneagles when he delivered the decisive singles point that secured Europe's latest win over the United States.
Victory became mathematically certain when Donaldson's superb pitch to the 15th green was swiftly followed by a concession from American opponent Keegan Bradley.
Donaldson beat Bradley 4&3, maintaining his fine form after partnering Lee Westwood to two foursomes victories on Friday and Saturday.
Donaldson said: "It was pretty special, the fact it came down to me, you dream of these things.
"But what is more important is that the team won. Everyone played pretty well and we had a fantastic captain who was inspirational and that was enough to win the cup back.
"It's been more than I expected, it's been amazing. You imagine what it is going to be like in the Ryder Cup but when it comes down to it it was bigger and better. There is nothing like it. It is the biggest and best experience of golf you will ever have.
"There was so many people it was like playing in a football stadium every hole."
Asked if he had yet been able to take everything in, Donaldson said: "No. I'll just put my feet up and spend some time with the kids now, and enjoy what has been an awesome success."
Donaldson's early years as a professional were hampered by back injuries but he came of age with victory at the Irish Open in 2012. He then caught the eye with a hole-in-one on his US Masters debut last year.
He followed that by making a sustained bid to qualify for the European Ryder Cup team but he only secured his spot by winning the Czech Open in August.
His place in Ryder Cup folklore is now assured, thanks to his brilliant wedge shot to within four feet to see off Bradley on Sunday, but he hopes it is only a first taste of the competition.
He said: "I've got to play really well but hopefully that is the case. I'd been wanting this for so long. You don't to miss one of these in a hurry.
"But it is brutally hard just to get into the team, before you've even teed it up.
"I played as well as I could for a year and scraped in by one event.
"It has been an immense week but you can't imagine what it is going to be like until you stand on that first tee."
Yet while the spotlight is shining on Donaldson, he does not want to take the glory for himself, praising the efforts of his team-mates and impressive captain Paul McGinley.
He said: "After a long week the most important thing was the team won and we just had a great time. It was awesome team spirit all week.
"Paul was brilliant - inspirational captaincy. At the end of the day we did enough to win, and that was the important thing."