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Big defeat for Woods, Euros surge to Ryder lead
Question of the Day
“They didn’t play as well as they wanted to, and the other guys played well,” Pavin said. “It happens. It happens to the best of ‘em.”
It had never happened to Woods, not like this. Not only was it his worst Ryder Cup defeat _ a pairing with Mark O’Meara was a 5-and-3 loss to Colin Montgomerie and Bernhard Langer at Valderrama in 1997 _ it was Woods‘ worst showing in any match-play event, whether individually or with a partner.
Previously, his biggest setback was in the 2007 Presidents Cup. Vijay Singh and Stuart Appleby beat Woods and Jim Furyk 5 and 4 in a fourballs match at Royal Montreal.
At least Woods and Stricker had won their first two matches, on the heels of becoming the first team in 30 years to go 4-0 in a major team competition at last year’s Presidents Cup.
Mickelson lost all three of his team matches, the latest the 17th defeat of his career. He had been tied with Raymond Floyd for the most losses by an American player.
The duo did fight back from 3 down in fourballs against Poulter and Martin Kaymer. Fowler holed out from the bunker at No. 11 for an improbable eagle, then Mickelson rolled in one of his few clutch putts at the 13th to even the match.
But the U.S. team faded miserably down the stretch. After Mickelson’s equalizing putt, Fowler went to the next hole and dumped his tee shot in the water. Instead of playing it safe, Mickelson tried to cut the corner, too, and nearly went in. He wound up taking bogey, and the Europeans had the lead for good on the way to a 2-and-1 victory.
Everyone had a hand in the Americans’ misery. Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy held off Zach Johnson and Hunter Mahan 3 and 1 the other alternate-shot match. The other four matches were fourballs, and the Europeans dominated that format as well.
Ross Fisher picked up the load for struggling Padraig Harrington, leading a 2-and-1 win over Dustin Johnson and his new partner, Jim Furyk. Ryder Cup rookie Bubba Watson and Jeff Overton, the most boisterous of the Americans, took their second straight close loss when Miguel Angel Jimenez rolled in a huge putt at the 16th and held on with partner Peter Hanson for a 2-up victory.
Overton had the shot of the day, holing out from the fairway at the eighth for an eagle.
“Boom, baby! Yeah! Come on!” the American screamed as he walked toward the green with Watson.
By the end of the day, the Europeans were doing all the yelling and hoping to drink champagne Monday night.
“They are a great U.S. team, and you’ve got to expect them to come out quick,” Poulter said. “So we need to keep the blue on the board and hit the right shots at the right time and play some good golf.”
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