Ryder Cup 2012 Pairings: Players Who Need to Come Through for American Win

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistSeptember 30, 2012

MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 29:  Bubba Watson (L) and Webb Simpson of the USA celebrate a birdie putt on the fifth green during day two of the Afternoon Four-Ball Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 29, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois.  (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
Andrew Redington/Getty Images

The Americans come into the final day of Ryder Cup play with a white-knuckle grip on the lead at 10-6. However, anything can happen as the competition goes to singles play.

The American team will need a clutch performance from a few players to ensure the U.S. does come out victorious when it's all said and done.

The Americans merely need to win five of the 12 singles match ups to exceed the 14.5 point total needed to win the event. With all the pressure on the Europeans to pull off a historical comeback, a few Americans coming up big in their matchups should be more than enough to bring the cup back to the U.S.A. for the next two years.

These are the players who need to come up big in their singles match.

Bubba Watson

Watson gets things started for the U.S. team when he tees off around noon against the Europeans' Luke Donald.

Donald was one of the few players to get the Europeans on the board in Saturday's afternoon action. The team of Sergio Garcia and Donald was able to notch a win against the team of Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods, tying the session score at 2-2.

Donald came into the Ryder Cup with the second most qualifying points on the team and figured to be a key component to the Europeans' chances of defending the cup. His teams are 1-1 in the tournament so this opening singles match will define his role.

If Watson is able to defeat Donald, the odds of the Europeans winning eight of the 12 matches are not good.

Keegan Bradley

Bradley has been among the most fun golfers to watch in the entire competition. The 26-year-old has brought an amazing amount of energy to the team and has come up big in pressure situations.

Picking up a victory in a singles match against Rory McIlroy is a tall order. McIlroy isn't the No. 1 player in the world by accident. If Bradley is able to pull off the upset, the Americans might as well just take the cup right then and there.

If Bradley gets hyped about sealing the deal on Friday morning, imagine the reaction we'll see if he takes out the Europeans' best player.

Tiger Woods

This may not be the best scenario for American fans, but it may be the most intriguing.

As the final golfer to tee off on the Cup's final day of action, the Americans' chances of victory may lie squarely on the shoulders of one Eldrick Woods.

Woods, as always, has faced media scrutiny through the first two days of the competition as his pairing with Steve Stricker hasn't been as productive as team captain Davis Love III might have hoped. Stricker and Woods are 0-2 against the Europeans.

If the first 11 matches wind up with the Europeans holding the advantage in seven of the first 11 matches, the entire Cup standing would come down to the winner of Woods vs. Francesco Molinari.

Considering Woods' struggles this year to close out tournaments, he could be America's hero or a complete goat if it comes down to him in the final round.

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