STRAFFAN, Ireland – Favorites or underdogs in the Ryder Cup, it doesn't matter to the Europeans.
They boasted of having their best team ever, then backed it up in dominant fashion by turning the Ryder Cup into another rout Sunday to win for an unprecedented third straight time.
The tears flowed, too.
Darren Clarke wasn't sure he should play in this Ryder Cup after his wife, Heather, died of cancer on Aug. 13. He went nearly two months without playing as he tried to cope with such a loss. But he agreed to be a captain's pick and then won every match he played.
Clarke broke down in tears as dropped his head on caddie Billy Foster's shoulder, then walked into the arms of captain Ian Woosnam, sobbing amid cheers and songs.
"It's done a lot for me for people to show me how much they care," Clarke said. "And it's done a lot to show how much they cared about Heather, and that means a lot to me. It's been a difficult week. From the minute I got here, I was determined to get myself ready, and I was. I played the way Woosie wanted me to."
He had plenty of help from the rest of the Europeans.
Colin Montgomerie won his opening match and tied a Ryder Cup record with his sixth singles victory. Sergio Garcia failed to become the first European to go 5-0 at the Ryder Cup, losing to Stewart Cink. But his perfect record in team matches staked them to an insurmountable lead.
The Americans countered with Tiger Woods, who defeated Robert Karlsson, but again it wasn't nearly enough.