The American Ryder Cup team find themselves in a familiar position heading into Sunday’s singles matches: Losing. After a 3.5-0.5 thrashing in Saturday afternoon foursomes, the Europeans have taken a(nother) commanding lead 10-6 headed into the final day of the biennial matches.
Miracles do happen as we saw only two years ago at Medinah, but the chances of it happening for the Americans on foreign soil are slim to none. To put it bluntly, I’m not seeing “Glory at Gleneagles” — it’s been more like “Goof at Gleneagles,” with several major questionable decisions made by American Captain Tom Watson. (Just a few to start with: Why did he sit the rookies in Friday Foursomes? Why did he play Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley twice on Friday? Why didn’t he play them at all on Saturday? Why didn’t he rest Jimmy Walker?)
Plus, I look at the matches and I’m thinking it will be over rather quickly. Remember: Europe only needs 14 points to retain the Cup. Without further ado, here’s the lineup:
Jordan Spieth vs. Graeme McDowell: (Great opener. Spieth will be out for blood and Dubuisson has carried McDowell in their matches.)
Patrick Reed vs. Henrik Stenson: (Sore back or not, he’s rested and Reed might feel a little lost without Spieth and he doesn’t inspire confidence with the flatstick.)
Rickie Fowler vs. Rory McIlroy: (This is going to be an awesome match. Rory has had Rickie’s number at the last two majors, so I’ll stick with the past winner.)
Hunter Mahan vs. Justin Rose: (Rose is this year’s American kryptonite, a la Ian Poulter in 2012 for Europe.)
Phil Mickelson vs. Stephen Gallacher: (The home favorite has something to prove, but he’ll be nervous.)
Bubba Watson vs. Martin Kaymer: (Bubba made six birdies in 15 holes in Saturday fourballs. Kaymer couldn’t make a putt to save his life in Saturday foursomes.)
Matt Kuchar vs. Thomas Bjorn: (Kuchar hasn’t been playing that well, but neither has Bjorn, so I’m going with the latter because the Europeans are leading and have higher morale.)
Jim Furyk vs. Sergio Garcia: (Sergio’s all-time record in the Ryder Cup against Furyk is 7-1-1.)
Webb Simpson vs. Ian Poulter: (Toss up and it probably won’t even matter, but Webb’s confidence is shot and Poulter made some putts late Saturday morning to boost his — not that he needs it.)
Keegan Bradley vs. Jamie Donaldson: (Donaldson might feel lost without Westwood, but he’s in form and I expect him to continue on his Ryder Cup high.)
Jimmy Walker vs. Lee Westwood: (I’m not sure here. I want to say Jimmy, but he might be too tired after playing four in a row, so let’s go with a halve. Let’s be real, though, it’s going to be over before we get this far.)
Zach Johnson vs. Victor Dubuisson: (Duh. Europe’s next superstar as G-Mac keeps hammering home and I have to agree with him. Figured he’d do well this week after what I saw at the Accenture Match Play Championship.)
Captain Paul McGinley has expectedly front-loaded his lineup with some of its strongest players, with G-Mac leading the way (a decision he said he had come to already two years ago), Stenson starting second, the world no. 1 heading out third and its rockstar of this Ryder Cup, Rose, going out fourth. I think there’s a good chance for Kaymer to have a shot to clinch the Cup for Europe for the second time in a row — if he’ll do it is another discussion.
Your knee-jerk reactions?