Woods finally loses one, Mickelson stumbles to 0-3

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Mickelson won the Masters in April, but since the U.S. Open he hasn’t come close to winning again.

Woods arrived here at the end of his worst year ever as a pro. It came on the heels of a sex scandal that made global news when his SUV careened down the driveway of his Florida home after a contentious Thanksgiving dinner last November. But just as he has been a focal point in previous Ryder Cups, the Europeans made him a rallying cause.

Two months ago, young Northern Ireland star Rory McIlroy said he wanted a shot at Woods, which caused the soon-to-be-deposed world No. 1 to quip, “Me, too.”

But thanks to Stricker, who brought a steadying influence and solid putting stroke to the pairing, Woods and his close pal beat Ian Poulter and Ross Fisher in the opening-round fourball (better-ball) match 2 up, then came out in the foursome and handled Miguel Angel Jimenez and Peter Hanson 4 and 3.

Woods and Mickelson will get one last shot at turning things around. Unlike European captain Colin Montgomerie, who front-loaded his hottest players, Pavin chose to sprinkle the few Americans playing well throughout the lineup. Woods goes off in the eighth singles match against Francesco Molinari; Mickelson is in the No. 10 slot, facing Peter Hanson.

Asked for “the rhyme and reason” behind his lineup, Pavin wisecracked, “Basically, we sat up last night and said we wanted to win 12 points, what order do we put the guys out in?”

But a moment later, he explained he sent experienced players early, his hot players in the middle and “finished off with guys that can handle the pressure of a Ryder Cup on their shoulders.”

Considering the way things have gone, Pavin has to hope there’s still something to play for at the end.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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