Nick Faldo’s final day strategy backfired as the United States snatched back the Ryder Cup in impressive fashion at Valhalla.
The English ace banked on Sergio Garcia making a fast start against Anthony Kim in the top match and a surging finish from his big guns in the last four matches.
But Garcia was hammered 5 and 4 and the match was all over before Open and US PGA champion Padraig Harrington could play his part in the anchor singles.
Kentucky boy JB Holmes put the Americans within a point of victory when he beat Dane Soren Hansen 2 and 1.
Then Jim Furyk claimed the winning point with four matches still left on the course when he beat Miguel Angel Jimenez 2 and 1 o give the Americans the vital 14.5 margin for victory with four matches still left on the course.
It was sad end to the week for Faldo, who was the hero at Oak Hill in 1995, when Europe came back from 9-7 down overnight to win the Ryder Cup.
But it all started to go wrong from the time Garcia crumbled in the opening singles with 23-year old Kim.
Rated the man most likely to succeed Tiger Woods at the top of the game, California kid Kim proved that he is capable of going all the way.
“I wouldn’t trade this for $10 million,” said Kim as Garcia hung his head. “It has been the experience of a lifetime and I am going to draw on things that have happened this week. All in all it was a great experience.
“I have looked up to Sergio for a long time and I wanted to give the fans something to cheer. I had chills up and down my spine the whole day.”
Garcia’s putting deserted him when he most needed it but once again he blamed the golfing gods for his troubles.
Now with just one singles win from five starts, Garcia groaned: “I’ve played with him before and I knew what he was capable of. I felt like I started well, unfortunately the mistakes on seven and eight were huge. After that the putt I missed on 11 was a real dagger.
“Today was a hard day and I just came up against a guy who played awesome. All I can do is offer my congratulations. Nothing I did worked.”
The morning began amid incredible scenes on the first tee as the European fans, outnumbered 5 to 1, made their voices heard.
US skipper Azinger had called on the US fans to wear red on the final day, matching the American team’s choice of shirt colour.
“Hey Serigo, where’s your Major?”, screamed one US fan before the Spaniard split the fairway with his drive.
Kim followed suit and then rifled an eight iron to just two feet. And while the 28 year old from Castellon replied brilliant with a wedge that spun back to within three and half feet, the half in birdie was the only bright spot of a miserable day for the European stalwart.
Kim put his foot down over the opening holes, stiffing a wedge at the second to go one up and then getting up and down from greenside sand for a morale-sapping half in par at the third.
At the fourth, the hole was halved in birdie threes as both players chipped dead from just short of the green.
Garcia had a slippery 15-foot chance to snatch a win at the fifth but his putt missed on left to the frustration of the Spanish ace.
Looking increasingly frustrated by Kim, who high fived the crowd as he walked to every tee, Garcia began to lose the plot at the 500-yard, par four sixth, when he pushed his tee shot and it trickled into an unplayable lie in deep rough on the bank of Floyd’s Creek.
Lucky to find the ball, Garcia tried to convince referee John Paramor to give him relief from a concrete staircase that he claimed was interfering with his stance. But he was denied a free drop and was forced to declare the ball unplayable, eventually losing the hole to a par.
Looking crestfallen as he left the green, vice captain Jose Maria Olazabal put his arm around his countryman in an attempt to cheer him up.
But Garcia effectively threw the match away when the he dumped a 207-yard five-iron in the lake front the par five seventh and then found water again with a four-iron to go three down.
Europe snatched two and a half points from the first four singles as Paul Casey earned a half with Hunter Mahan, Robert Karlsson thrashed Justin Leonard 5 and 3 and Justin Rose outgunned Phil Mickelson 3 and 2.
But the tide turned America’s way in the middle order as Kentucky’s Kenny Perry had six birdies and an eagle three in a 3 and 2 win over Henrik Stenson and Boo Weekley beat rookie Oliver Wilson 3 and 2 to leave the US needing just two points from the last six matches.
All eyes were on matches seven and eight and both went to the Americans with Kentucky boy Holmes highly impressive in a 2 and 1 win over Dane Soren Hansen.
It all came down to veteran Furyk and he did not disappoint as he knocked his birdie putt to two feet at the 17th, where Jimenez conceded defeat and the match.
Graeme McDowell was two up on Stewart Cink with three to play and Ian Poulter three up with four to play against Steve Stricker.
Lee Westwood was all square with Ben Curtis with four to go with Harrington one down with five to go against Chad Campbell.
USA 14 1/2, Europe 9 1/2 (with four matches remaining)
Singles (US first)
Anthony Kim bt Sergio Garcia 5&4;
Hunter Mahan halved with Paul Casey;
Justin Leonard lost to Robert Karlsson 5&3;
Phil Mickelson lost to Justin Rose 3&2;
Kenny Perry bt Henrik Stenson 3&2;
Boo Weekley bt Oliver Wilson 4&2;
JB Holmes bt Soren Hansen 2&1;
Jim Furyk bt Miguel Angel Jimenez 2&1;
Stewart Cink v Graham McDowell 2 down @ 15
Steve Stricker v Ian Poulter 3 down at 14
Ben Curtis v Lee Westwood all square @ 14
Chad Campbell v Padraig Harrington 1 up @ 13.