Wales

Europe's Ryder Cup victory watched by thousands in sun

Thousands of fans have saluted Europe's Ryder Cup victory on the unprecedented fourth day of golf's top tournament.

Spectators cheered as captain Colin Montgomerie lifted the trophy in triumph at the official ceremony.

After rain largely washed out the first day on Friday, some 35,000 people turned in bright sunshine on the first Monday in the cup's 83-year history.

Europe kept a lead over defending champions USA throughout the fourth day at the Celtic Manor, Newport.

The decider was Graeme McDowell's game against Hunter Mahan, giving Europe the title by 14.5 to 13.5.

There were few smiles in the US camp as they watched the triumphant team cavort with champagne and embrace one another on the balcony.

US captain Corey Pavin gave an impassioned speech thanking his team for their efforts.

Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan immediately sent congratulations to Europe team captain Colin Montgomerie for winning back the Ryder Cup.

She also applauded Celtic Manor owner Sir Terry Matthews and his staff for delivering a memorable event.

Mrs Gillan said: "Sir Terry Matthews and his dedicated team at Celtic Manor can stand proud alongside Monty and his magnificent men as the winners of the 2010 Ryder Cup.

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Media captionCeltic Manor owner Sir Terry Matthews: "This is a bit of alright!"

"Their triumph in delivering this world-class event at Newport should be the toast of Wales tonight."

First Minister Carwyn Jones said the event had helped raise the profile of Wales to an international audience.

He said: "We have been at the forefront of the sporting world and it has been a great opportunity to sell Wales to the world.

"But, the Ryder Cup doesn't end when the last ball goes into the hole. Our job now is to work hard to capitalise on the profile which Wales has gained this week."

Heavy rain scuppered seven hours' play on Friday and pushed the match into a fourth day for the first time in its history.

Spectators with Sunday tickets were allowed back in, but health and safety regulations meant those who left disappointed on Friday could not be readmitted.

However, people with tickets to Friday's play may be able to exchange them for free entry to the Wales Open next June, organisers say.

Image caption Graeme McDowell punches the air with joy after the European team clinch the Ryder Cup

He confirmed that organisers were hoping to offer an alternative to Friday ticket holders to do with the Wales Open.

Sir Terry, the billionaire businessman and owner of Celtic Manor, said everyone involved was "deeply disappointed by the weather".

A total of 52.2mm (2.04 in) of rain fell at Celtic Manor between 1730 BST on Thursday and 1000 BST on Sunday, more than half the average monthly rainfall.

But he defended the timing of the event, which was moved from September to October.

"We could have played this event exactly one year ago or exactly one week ago and we would have experienced no interruptions to the schedule of play, but one thing we cannot control is the weather."

The Ryder Cup baton now passes to the Medinah Country Club in Illinois.

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