Ryder Cup 2010: Five Sure-Fire Signs The USA Team Had a Really Bad Day
With just the singles matches remaining, the European team has built a fairly comfy three-point lead over the American teams.
I think the U.S. squad needed to get within two points to feel good about its chances going into the 12 singles matches Monday. They didn't get there. A three-point lead is huge at this stage. However, the lead is not quite as big as it would be if it were the other way around. The American team tends to excel in the singles matches while the Euros traditionally do better in the team matches. If the U.S had a three-point lead now, it would be all over. As it is, it's just probably over.
The Americans will have to manage 7.5 points on Monday. Best chance, win 7, draw one, and lose no more than four. That is not a lot of room for error.
Perhaps the only thing the U.S. has going for it is they only have to get 14 points to retain the cup, while the European team has to hit 14.5 to win the cup back.
Saturday was an impressive show by the Europeans. They took 5.5 of the 6 points played after the rain delay.
For Team USA, very few of the 12 players showed up on Saturday. For a while, it was simply the Matt Kuchar show, as he seemed to be the only U.S. player doing anything on the course. Kuchar and Stewart Cink managed the only half point for the Americans.
In case Corey Pavin and his squad didn't know it, they got their collective butts handed to them at Celtic Manor on Saturday.
Here are the five signs it didn't go well for the red, white, and blue.
5. Padraig Harrington Gets a Point
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You know things are not going your way when Paddy Harrington manages a point off you. Harrington's record in recent Ryder Cups is absolutely horrible, and he had not managed a full point since 2004.
On Saturday, teamed with Ross Fisher, the European duo took down Jim Furyk and Dustin Johnson 2 and 1. In fact, Harrington even made a crucial putt. Amazing!
Harrington has actually managed two points at Wales so far, winning with Fisher earlier over Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson.
4. Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker Lose In Team Play
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Another indication it wasn't the USA's day came when its most solid team in recent international matches lost. And that team not only lost, but it got chewed up and spit out.
Woods and Stricker, 2-0-0 at this Ryder Cup going into Saturday, met up with Lee Westwood and Luke Donald. The result wasn't pretty.
The Euro team took the match six and five, Tiger's worst loss as a professional in international match play.
At least it was over early and Woods and Stricker could cheer on the rest of the boys. But, on second thought, that didn't help much, did it?
3. Phil Mickelson Is Your Weakest Player?
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When the No. 2 player in the world has suddenly become your worst chance to secure a point at the Ryder Cup, things are not good.
Mickelson continued his recent Ryder Cup woes Saturday, losing with Rickie Fowler to Ian Poulter and Martin Kaymer, 2 and 1.
Mickelson is 0-3-0 in this Ryder Cup, and 2-12-3 in his last 17 matches. He has also taken over the honor of having the most losses all-time in the history of the U.S. team, now with 17 over his career, one more than Raymond Floyd.
Mickelson looks nothing like the player who threatens major titles on a regular basis. He looks erratic, uninterested and lost out there. He has contributed nothing so far.
What the Americans need is Mickelson to step up against Peter Hanson on Monday. That is a match Mickelson should win. But will he?
2. Ian Poulter Has Become the New Sergio Garcia
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In recent Ryder Cups, Sergio Garcia had been the one the American fans love to hate. He embodied the Euro team, and when they went well, he let you know it.
Since Sergio's game has gone to pot, Monty had no choice but to leave him off the team. Although, per Garcia's request, Monty has added Sergio as an assistant, so he is still there to drive the Americans nuts.
Nonetheless, Ian Poulter has slid quite comfortably into that role of No. 1 villain. He relishes it.
The only thing worse than cocky predictions is backing them up. The Twitter-happy Poulter has pretty much done everything he has said he and his team would.
Let's see how Ian does Monday versus probably the best American player right now in Matt Kuchar. If Poulter manages another point, it might be the final nail in the American coffin.
1. Colin Montgomerie Feels Sympathy For You
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You know you're having a really, really bad day when Colin Montgomerie actually shows public sympathy for you.
In his interview with Jim Gray after the matches Saturday, Monty made a comment on how the new format that had to be implemented because of all the rain was actually helping his team and hurting the Americans.
"This new format did favor Europe, no question about it," he said, seeming to actually feel bad for the Americans.
The normally cocky Montgomerie seemed to be acting almost as though he had already won.
He might want to wait until Monday evening before actually saying how hard the Americans played and how the format hurt them.
Besides, sympathy doesn't seem to suit him. The Americans need to wipe that niceness from his face with about eight wins. Then we'll have the old Monty back.