Ryder Cup 2010: Preview and Predictions of Monday's Singles Matches

Chris PolsonContributor IOctober 3, 2010

NEWPORT, WALES - OCTOBER 02:  Europe fans show their support during the rescheduled Morning Fourball Matches during the 2010 Ryder Cup at the Celtic Manor Resort on October 2, 2010 in Newport, Wales. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
David Cannon/Getty Images

Thanks to a lot of rain, the 12 singles matches for the Ryder Cup have been moved to Monday for the first time in the history of the event.

The United States started out strong, but during the last set of matches, the Europeans nearly swept the U.S. and now have a 9.5-6.5 lead.  The U.S. needs 14 points to retain the cup, Europe needs 14.5 to win it back.

Its not insurmountable, since the U.S. came from four points behind in 1999, but its highly unlikely that they'll be able to come back from this.

And in my personal opinion, it almost seems as if U.S. Captain Corey Pavin either doesn't know what he's doing or doesn't care.  European Captain Colin Montgomerie is very animated on the course and usually during interviews.  Pavin barely moves.  He's certainly much more stoic now than when he was a player.

With that being said, here are the lineups along with my predictions for how the singles matches will pan out.

Match 1:  Steve Stricker vs. Lee Westwood

Both of these guys have played well during this Ryder Cup.  Westwood hasn't lost, while Stricker's only loss came at the hands of Westwood and Luke Donald.  Ironically enough, both of these two will be challenging Tiger's No. 1 ranking when the PGA season starts again.

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Prediction - It will be close, but Westwood will pull it out in the end.  2 & 1.

Match 2:  Stewart Cink vs. Rory McIlroy

The dream match of Tiger vs. Rory will have to wait for another time.  Stewart Cink has been one of the few bright spots for the U.S. team.  Rory's energy and passion have gotten him this far.  If the talent we all know he has shines to the forefront, Cink could be in for a long day.

Prediction - This will be another close one, but I think it will also be another win for the Euros.  1-up.

Match 3:  Jim Furyk vs. Luke Donald

Luke Donald has been almost as unstoppable as Lee Westwood.  I can only imagine the outcome had Monty put those two together in their first two matches.  We'll have to wait and see how much Furyk has left in the tank after winning the FedEx Cup last week.

Prediction - Sadly, the trend continues.  Furyk hasn't been hitting the ball straight and Donald is on a roll.  Donald runs away with it.  4 & 3.

Match 4:  Dustin Johnson vs. Martin Kaymer

Dustin Johnson has easily been the biggest disappointment during the Ryder Cup, at least as far as the rookies go.  Unless he hits a hot streak, especially with the putter, its going to be 0-4 for Mr. Johnson. Kaymer is playing well enough that he can even make a few mistakes and probably pull this one out.

Prediction - Maybe not a runaway, but I think Kaymer wins.  2 & 1.

Match 5:  Matt Kuchar vs. Ian Poulter

Kuchar started out slow, but came on late during Saturday's play.  If Kuchar can get the putter going and get out to an early lead, he can keep Poulter from using the crowd to his advantage.  Poulter's emotions could get the better of him here if he starts to fall behind early.

Prediction - Finally a win for the U.S.  3 & 2.

Match 6:  Jeff Overton vs. Ross Fisher

Mr. Overton has made himself into a star during this Ryder Cup.  He and Bubba Watson shocked the golfing world when they beat Luke Donald and Padraig Harrington in the first match.  Since then he's been making long putts and even knocking in shots from the fairway.  He also seems to be the emotional leader for the U.S.  Fisher has played well, but he is extremely slow, and this could affect the outcome of the match.

Prediction - As long as Overton isn't bothered by Fisher's pace of play, he should be able to win this one.  And I say he isn't bothered.  2 & 1.

Match 7:  Bubba Watson vs. Miguel Angel Jimenez

Bubba Watson has a lot of emotion heading into this Ryder Cup.  His father is dying of cancer and has been told he only has three months to live.  Despite the skills of the veteran JimenezI think Bubba pulls this one out for his dad.

Prediction - No matter the outcome, I think Bubba's father is proud of him.  With that said, he wins anyway.  2 & 1.

Match 8:  Tiger Woods vs. Francesco Molinari

This is an interesting placement for Tiger.  Most people think that the middle positions are the ones that you don't trust as much as you would your top and bottom three.  I saw flashes of the brilliance that once was Tiger Woods when he and Stricker were down in their last match.  Since that will be the case again, I think he'll cruise past the Italian.

Prediction - Tiger makes Pavin think twice about putting him in this spot by dominating.  6 & 5.

Match 9:  Rickie Fowler vs. Edoardo Molinari

Neither of these two have played great, but they haven't played poorly either.  They're both young, so this will come down to who has the stronger set of nerves. 

Prediction - This one could easily go to 18.  With that being said, I'm going to predict a halve of this match.

Match 10:  Phil Mickelson vs. Peter Hanson

Mickelson continues his disappointing Ryder Cup play.  Like Dustin Johnson, lefty hasn't won a match yet.  The relatively unknown Hanson is 1-1.

Prediction - Phil comes out of his funk on this one.  3 & 2.

Match 11:  Zach Johnson vs. Padraig Harrington

This is another interesting matchup.  Harrington has played much better during this Ryder Cup than he did during his previous two.  Johnson has only played twice and split his two.  I'm not sure why captain Pavin didn't put someone like Woods or Stricker down here in a spot usually reserved for your top guys.

Prediction - I think the putter keeps Johnson in it, but he still loses to Paddy.  1-up.

Match 12:  Hunter Mahan vs. Graeme McDowell

Another unusual spot for what could be the cup winner.  Someone like Furyk would've been good in this situation.  Monty got it right by putting the U.S. Open champ in the anchor spot.  However, I think the cup will be decided long before these two finish there match.

Prediction - This one will be close, but since Europe would've already secured the cup, McDowell may let up a little.  Mahan wins this one.  2 & 1.

Final score -  U.S. - 13;  Europe - 15

As an American, I'm hoping this isn't the outcome.  And if the matches come out close to that, really only one more American would need to win to retain the cup.  Thanks for reading.