Luke Donald endured a “rollercoaster of emotions” as Europe regained the Ryder Cup in dramatic fashion in Rome.
With Europe needing four points from Sunday’s 12 singles matches to beat the United States, Tommy Fleetwood won the 11th game to pass the 14½ required.
And with hundreds of fans crammed around the edge of the 18th green, Ireland’s Shane Lowry wrapped up a 16½-11½ win.
“It looked good early but then looked like it could be a bad day,” Europe captain Donald told BBC Sport.
“Our guys hung in there like I knew they would. The first two days were key to us to building our lead.
“The Americans are so strong in singles but we were 12 strong. Everyone contributed. I just love these guys – you need your superstars to show up and they did.
“I’ve put everything into it and I’m just so glad they were able to win.”
It stretches Europe’s unbeaten home record beyond 30 years and also means the past five Ryder Cups have been won by the home side.
US captain Zach Johnson said: “Europe and Luke played great and earned it” before shouldering the blame for their defeat, conceding he had “made some poor decisions”.
“It’s quite simple, we got outplayed,” he added. “We showed grit and heart, it got interesting out there. It ebbed and flowed, it had momentum. I’m proud of my guys.”
Donald’s mantra all week was about getting off to a “fast start” and his players had delivered on Friday and Saturday, winning both morning sessions 4-0 and 3-1 as Europe built a 10½-5½ lead to take into Sunday.
And the Englishman, who won all four Ryder Cups he contested as a player, stacked the top singles matches with his best players.
The plan seemed to be working with European blue flooding the scoreboards as they led in five of the top six matches to the delight of most of the estimated 55,000 fans at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club.