Luke Donald breathed a sigh of relief today after shrugging off a Jim Furyk fightback and the distraction of a streaker to notch a crucial point for Europe on the final day of the Ryder Cup.
Donald looked to be cruising to victory in his singles match after going into the back nine three-up.
Furyk clawed his way back to one down at the 16th and took the contest all the way to the last, where the green was invaded by a man wearing nothing but a cape and a thong, with the words ’Monkey’s Tee Party’ inked on his torso.
But Donald kept his concentration to halve the hole and claim a point that took Europe 12-9 ahead at Celtic Manor.
“I got off to a fast start and that was crucial,” said Donald, who won three of his four matches at this year’s tournament.
“Getting three up early gave me a little bit of a cushion.
“I knew Jim was going to fight back and I tried my hardest to stick in there but it still came down to the last and I was just able to hold on.”
He added of his victory: “It feels great.
“Obviously, Jim was going to be a really tough opponent. He’s a very similar player to me; he grinds it out.
“He put some pressure on me and I was glad to get a point.”
Despite the streaker’s intervention, Donald took time out to praise the Celtic Manor crowds.
He said: “The atmosphere’s always amazing. These crowds have been great.
“They’ve been committed through all of this bad weather we’ve had.
“We’ve still had great crowds until Monday.
“They really gave me a lot of energy and were a big part in my success today.”
Donald’s victory avenged last week’s Tour Championship loss to Furyk.
“This is a different scenario,” he said.
“I offered him double-or-nothing on the first tee but he didn’t take it... just kidding.
“It’s nice to beat one of the best players in the world.”