Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald looks back on wild £25,000 bar bill celebration

Rory McIlroy on Ryder Cup

Luke Donald is still on a high after guiding his European team to victory at the Ryder Cup in Rome, but the former world No. 1 has done it all before. The USA had been considered marginal favourites to retain the trophy ahead of the matchplay showdown at the Marco Simone Golf & Country Club, but they were blown away by their passionate hosts in the very first session and never fully recovered as Team Europe ran out 16.5-11.5 winners.

Wild scenes of jubilation followed both on the course and off it, with Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry leading their triumphant teammates into a party zone that lasted long into the night.

Englishman Tyrrell Hatton was reportedly the last man standing at the post-event party, capping off a joyous weekend for the European team who had suffered a record 19-9 defeat at Whistling Straits two years previous.

But as boisterous as the eye-witness scenes that emerged on social media appeared to be, they were nothing compared to the 2004 vintage that won on US soil at Oakland Hills.

Donald was a rookie playing member of the side who, under the captaincy of Bernhard Langer, defeated Hal Sutton’s Americans 18.5-9.5, recording the biggest away win in the history of the Ryder Cup.

But while the Europeans were winning easily on the golf course they were seemingly also doing the same at the 19th hole.

Appearing on Beef’s Golf Club podcast, Donald said: “A funny story actually. I went back to the Oakland Hills for the first time a few months ago. I had a corporate day there, I was playing with one of the members.

“He said ‘Have you ever heard the story from the Ryder Cup about the bar bills?’ I said ‘no’ I’d never heard it. Apparently, this is folklore amongst the members at Oakland Hills. The bar bill for the US at the end of their Ryder Cup was $600. I said ‘What was the European one?’ He said: ‘$30,000’. So you know, we like to have a good time!”

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The story recounted to Donald by the Oakland Hills member is given further credence by Paul McGinley, who was also part of the winning European team in 2004.

In a recent interview with Golf Today, the Irishman claimed that Langer’s team and backroom staff had downed 72 bottles of wine on Saturday night before competing in the Sunday singles session the next day.

Presumably, they were very confident of victory by this point.

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