US doesn’t plan to let up in Ryder Cup singles
The Americans are hoping a murderers’ row of heavy hitters in Sunday singles can finally put the brakes on Europe’s win streak and deliver the first US Ryder Cup victory since 2008.
The determined Team USA take a three point cushion into the final day of the 41st Ryder Cup on Sunday, but there is heightened pressure to produce because of Europe’s recent domination in the biennial event.
“We always get criticized that we don’t bond as a team, or we don’t have enough passion and this time we have taken it personally,” said USA Ryder Cup team captain Davis Love.
The Americans are also hoping to avenge a shocking loss from 2012. The last time the Ryder Cup was on US soil was four years ago when they fell victim to the greatest last-day comeback in tournament history, Europe’s 14 1/2-13 1/2 win in the “Miracle at Medinah.”
“Our team is showing a lot of heart by playing some tough golf,” said five-time major winner Phil Mickelson.
The US team needs only five points from 12 concluding singles matches to reclaim the Ryder Cup while Europe must take 7 1/2 points to keep the trophy.
Since 1979, when the Cup expanded beyond a British-Irish squad, teams ahead by three points or more entering singles have won seven of nine times.
“We all know the deal is to do our job,” said American Matt Kuchar. “We go out there to win our match, not worrying about how many points the team needs to close out a win.
“We’d like to win all 12 matches. That’s our job for tomorrow.”
Four-time major winner Rory McIlroy and the red-hot Patrick Reed will meet in Sunday’s singles opener with other matchups including Jordan Spieth against British Open champion Henrik Stenson of Sweden, Olympic champion Justin Rose of England against Rickie Fowler and Mickelson against Sergio Garcia.
Kuchar, who is one of five players back from the 2012 loss at Medinah, will take on 2014 US Open winner Martin Kaymer in the second to last singles match of the day.
Other interesting combinations include reigning US Open champ and heavy hitter Dustin Johnson facing the 1.98 metre (6-foot-6) Englishman Chris Wood and American Brooks Koepka, who started his pro career on the European Tour, squaring off against Masters champion Danny Willett.
European team captain Darren Clarke said his players can draw on inspiration from what the 2012 squad accomplished.
– ‘Still game on’ –
“In Medinah they were four points behind, one point worse than what we are now,” Clarke said. “Teams have come back from that deficit. So it is still game on.”
It would take Europe’s second-biggest rally to keep the Cup, having trailed 10-6 in 2012.
“We’re one closer than we were at Medinah,” said Rose. “It’s going to be a monumental challenge tomorrow.
“We’re going to put out our lineup and we’re going to look at each other man-to-man tomorrow.
“It’s going to be eyeball to eyeball on the first tee, no partners, no friends out there on the golf course.
“Just go out and try to put a point on the board. That’s everybody’s mission.”