Sublime Solheim restores lustre to competition
While a fourth successive American Solheim Cup victory would not have spelled the end of the event as a credible spectacle there can be no underestimating the boost the match received from Europe's sensational victory at Killeen Castle.
The need was even greater for a Solheim Cup largely ignored by British newspapers. What transpired was worthy of far more than a derisory mention in a "Sport in Brief" section.
Pettersen (right) birdied the last three holes to beat Wie. Photo: AFP
Europe's 15-13 win will go down as one of the greatest matches in the history of golf, as the home side somehow conjured victory when the trophy seemed destined to remain in American hands.
It was the combined talents of Europe's top woman golfer and two of its brightest prospects who provided the astonishing turnaround that had Killeen Castle shaken to its foundations by the shrieks of delight of the home fans.
Caroline Hedwall, 22, piled on the pressure that forced fellow rookie Ryan O'Toole to relinquish the final two holes and Azahara Munoz, 23, struck the shot of her life with her approach to tap-in range at the 17th.
It all happened in quick succession - a slow burn to an explosive finish - the kind of denouement that makes team golf such a captivating spectacle.
The victory should allow Europe's female golfers to escape somewhat from the shadow of their male counterparts who have quite rightly been dominating the headlines for their unrelenting success individually and in the last Ryder Cup.
Even in the internet age there are only a certain number of worthwhile column inches available and they have been understandably filled with the tales of European major wins and domination of the world rankings.
"The boys have deserved their time in the headlines 100%," Laura Davies told BBC Sport. "But, yes, it's nice because we have stepped up this time and we have all contributed and we deserve a little bit of the limelight now because that was a good effort.
"Hopefully the powers that be around the Ladies European Tour can showcase this event and say this is what the girls can offer and hopefully we can build on this," added the 47-year-old veteran of all 12 Solheim Cups.
Selling golf in Europe in the current economic climate is far from easy as was illustrated by Barclays' withdrawal from backing the men's Scottish Open only last week, but it would have been even harder going forward for the LET had they lost in Ireland.
One area that must be addressed, though, is the pace of play, which was pitiful. The authorities have to act and in future matches every player should be on the clock from the first tee.
Each match has its own referee so this is perfectly possible and poor times should result in loss of hole after only one warning. The same rules should apply in the Ryder Cup. Problem solved.
European winners like Melissa Reid will be desperate to participate in Colorado 2013. Photo: Getty
As for the next running of the Solheim, well this result will generate more attention in America as well. As one veteran US reporter told me: "We get much more interested when the task is to win something back."
Consequently, the 2013 match at the Colorado Golf Club should be some event and a few more reporters might turn up as well. It will have a mid August date that means it will not be played in the same week as the men's season-ending Tour Championship.
While the Solheim Cup is all about the glory of winning a trophy, the climax of the PGA Tour concerns the collection of vast sums of money and it provided its own compelling finale.
Think how we feel when standing over a putt for a friendly fiver and imagine how it must have been for Bill Haas and Hunter Mahan as they embarked on a sudden death play-off for more than $11m.
The end-of-season play-offs will always have their critics but it feels as though the points weighting is now just about right to sustain growing interest through the final month of the regular season.
It was refreshing to see so many players from a new generation fighting over the spoils and Haas, the son of Ryder Cup veteran Jay Haas, will long be remembered for his up and down from the water at the second play-off hole.
Luke Donald came up just short in his quest to land the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup, but the world number one tops the official PGA Tour money list, just as he does in Europe.
This has been an extraordinary year for the Englishman, having won three titles and finishing in the top 10 on no fewer than 13 of his 18 PGA Tour starts.
Donald's consistent excellence has taken him clear at the top of the world rankings but because he has yet to land a major he trails in the wake of the likes of US Open winner Rory McIlroy and Open champion Darren Clarke in terms of recognition.
This is as it should be, but Donald still deserves huge credit for beating more top golfers more regularly than any other player on the planet.
It is possible that next year he may truly emerge from the shadows, just as Europe's women did in Ireland.