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In glow of Ryder Cup victory, Sergio Garcia moving beyond Faldo criticism

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GLENEAGLES, Scotland — Sergio Garcia says he is "willing to forgive" Nick Faldo for making critical comments about his performance in the 2008 Ryder Cup at Valhalla.

But he's clearly not ready to let the matter lie.

In the team media conference after Europe's victory over the United States at Gleneagles, Lee Westwood was asked what made Paul McGinley such a great captain.

"He cherry-picked from captains he played under and spoke to other captains," Westwood said, making reference to Bernhard Langer, Jose Maria Olazabal and Sam Torrance.

That's when Garcia butted in.

"Do you think he talked to Faldo?" he said, sparking roars of laughter among European team members and reporters. "Just a question."

Faldo, who captained Europe in 2008, said in a television commentary this week that Garcia was "useless" and had a "bad attitude" in Valhalla. He later said he had used a harsh choice of words but defended his comments, saying Garcia had emotional and physical problems during the 2008 competition and "wasn't the Sergio everyone knows now."

"I'm an open man and I'm always willing to forgive and forget," Garcia said Sunday. "I think it was an unfortunate comment ... I don't know if he regrets it or not, but I think it was just unfortunate.

"I've moved on and I'm sure that everything will be OK."

Garcia said he hadn't received a message of congratulations from Faldo following Europe's latest win.


REED'S RETORT: Patrick Reed leaves Gleneagles as the Americans' top point scorer and the player Europe's fans love to taunt.

The Ryder Cup rookie wasn't allowed to forget the two-foot putt he missed on No. 16 during the afternoon foursomes on Saturday.

"Hope you've been practicing your putting this morning, Patrick," one spectator shouted before Reed took his first tee shot Sunday.

By then, he'd been roundly booed for not doing a dance on the first tee — something the crowd in the U-shaped grandstands had asked of every player.

More polite abuse followed in the opening holes, so Reed bit back.

After making a birdie on No. 7, a fired-up Reed placed his finger to his lips and gave the spectators the hush sign. He shouted "Come on, Come on" and whirred his arms.

"I was doing it all in fun to get the guys going and get everyone going," Reed said. "It was awesome after that. It got the European side really fired up and really roaring and it got the U.S. side really fired and really roaring. It was one of most fun rounds of golf I've ever played."

Reed won 3½ points in his first Ryder Cup.


HAPPY ANNIVERSARY: Europe captain Paul McGinley wanted all along to put Graeme McDowell in the leadoff spot on Sunday at the Ryder Cup.

McDowell had it circled on his calendar for other reasons.

It was his wedding anniversary.

McDowell was married a year ago to Kristen Stape. She missed the Ryder Cup because she gave birth to a girl, Vale, last month.

PHOTO: From left, Europe's players Jamie Donaldson, Henrik Stenson, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Justin Rose pour champagne over captain Paul McGinley as they celebrate winning the 2014 Ryder Cup golf tournament, at Gleneagles, Scotland, Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)
From left, Europe's players Jamie Donaldson, Henrik Stenson, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood and Justin Rose pour champagne over captain Paul McGinley as they celebrate winning the 2014 Ryder Cup golf tournament, at Gleneagles, Scotland, Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)

"She wanted a point today," McDowell said after his 2-and-1 win over Jordan Spieth. "I'm standing there watching Jordan with an 8-foot putt on No. 7 to go 4 up thinking I would be letting my wife down."

He had another inspiration, too.

"You try to send a signal to your teammates," he said of his leadoff position. "That's all that drove me onward."


ON MESSAGE: One of the secrets of Paul McGinley's winning Ryder Cup captaincy was hammering motivational messages into the heads of his 12 players. They certainly sunk in. With some, at least.

Asked at the European team's victory news conference to list some of the things he told his players to remember, McGinley put them to the test.

"'Complacency,' 'concentration,'" Rory McIlroy, who's clearly been listening, quickly answered.

"'Wave after wave,'" Graeme McDowell chimed in.

"'When the storm comes, we'll be the rock,'" offered Justin Rose.

"There's another one," said McIlroy, searching.

"'Have fun,'" answered Lee Westwood.

"Westy remembers that one," McGinley joked, provoking laughter.

"I'm nothing but consistent," Westwood shot back.


NO CONTEST? Among the images that captain Paul McGinley posted in Europe's team room to inspire his 12 players: one showing how far Europe still lags behind the United States in total Ryder Cup matches won.

Europe's latest win lifted its total to 13. Three of those were before the competition was opened to players from continental Europe in 1979, joining those from Britain and Ireland, to make it more of a contest.

The United States has 25 wins. The two opponents have also tied twice in the biennial competition since 1927.

Rory McIlroy says that lopsided history punctures the notion that the Ryder Cup is becoming less of a contest, after Europe's string of recent wins. It has now won eight of the last 10 Ryder Cups.

"We have an image in our team room and it shows how much red, white and blue is still on that," he said.

"America have still won a lot more than Europe. And that's what we're going towards. OK, we have won eight of the last 10 or seven of the last eight or whatever it is, but we are still very much behind the U.S. in terms of Ryder Cups won. That is our goal and that is our main objective: to catch them up and overtake them as quickly as we can."


NEXT UP IN EUROPE: The Ryder Cup will be held in France the next time Europe hosts the matches. When that was announced, it was unclear if the European team would have any French players.

Now it most likely will have at least one: Victor Dubuisson.

"I hope what I have done this week will motivate more people to play," said Dubuisson, who went 2-0-1 in his debut. "They are building a lot of nine holes, a lot of short nine holes, par 3, everywhere in France. I hope it's going to be good and, I hope that more people will play golf in France now."


AP Sports Columnist John Leicester and AP Golf Writer Doug Ferguson contributed to this report.

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