Europe took an expected Ryder Cup victory against their American rivals yesterday at Gleneagles, retaining the Cup with what was (in the final analysis) a comfortable winning margin of 16.5 to 11.5 points. They had only needed 14 points to retain the Cup, but the magical 14.5 figure was always in their sights as they entered the decisive singles' matches on the last day of play, so as to win the event outright.

Early victories for World Number one Rory McIlroy by 5 & 4 over his nemesis Rickie Fowler and (especially) Graeme McDowell, who had trailed Jordan Spieth for much of his match, ensured that the United States' team could not gain the momentum required to put any concerted pressure on to their rivals, and so the end result took on an almost predictable form long before the conclusion.

Jamie Donaldson had the honour of playing the decisive shot to clinch the outright win, as Keegan Bradley had to concede defeat to his Welsh opponent on the 15th green when Donaldson's approach shot came up close to the hole.

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Captain McGinley leapt on his player in delight, the two years of scheming and planning finally yielding the ultimate prize.

Yet, amidst all the celebrations at the end, there was a feeling that maybe it was the two captains' inputs that may have had a big say in the outcome of the event. Paul McGinlay's studious preparations and the relative ease with which he had succeeded previous captains, having been vice captain previously, were cited as an explanation for the way the Europeans were able to convert a four point overnight lead and win with something to spare by the closing holes. McGinley's previous experiences clearly influenced his novel approach to have five vice captains, allowing men he trusted to follow and support each group during the first two days, besides allowing those not playing to be kept involved and focussed.

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Tom Watson's team selections over the first two days, particularly the "resting" of Spieth and Patrick Reed on the first afternoon, after their victory in the morning were questioned by many. The golfing legend's apparent lack of a close relationship with the players in his team, by contrast to McGinley's efforts to get to know each of his potential men in the months leading up to the event, was put forward as a further explanation.

Yet, there was no escaping the fact that it was the players at McGinley's disposal who did the damage to their counterparts from across the pond, starting on the front foot from day one and never relinquishing their control until the Cup was theirs.

Interviews so soon after such an emotional battle has been completed should always be treated with some scepticism, feeding as they often do on the raw emotion within. Yet some insight could still be gleaned from the words of Phil Mickelson as he was asked to comment and explain what he believed had gone wrong. He seemed to suggest a change of "formula" since Valhalla in 2008 behind the scenes (when the US team were last victorious) and questioning the need to change a process that had been working perfectly well.

Not that the Europeans were totally averse to bad vibes from within their camp, although former captain Nick Faldo's criticism of Sergio Garcia on day one (with echoes of his disappointment at Garcia's contribution - or lack of it- when Faldo captained in 2008) may actually have galvanised the team spirit rather than disrupted them.

The Americans will have plenty to think about as they analyse this result and decide who should lead their side in two years' time when they will play on home ground, but maybe for now we should not attempt to pick holes in the whys and wherefores, instead focussing on the brilliance of the European team over three days of supercharged golf.