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“We had a chance to all square on the last hole, and I missed it,” Woods said.

That Woods would be the center of attention on the opening day wasn’t surprising, despite Rory McIlroy having taken over as the No. 1 player in the world. That he would play so badly in the morning match was, since his game had been good for the last month or so in the PGA Tour playoffs.

He was teamed with Stricker in the morning, too, against Ian Poulter and Justin Rose, who took the lead with a birdie on the fourth hole and never surrendered it. Woods and Stricker made more bogeys than birdies, and Poulter made a clutch putt on the 16th hole on the way to a 2 and 1 win for Europe.

Woods said a quick talk with swing coach Sean Foley between rounds helped him turn his game around, even though the U.S. didn’t get a point to show for it. That was largely due to Colsaerts and Stricker, who didn’t make a birdie of his own past the seventh hole.

Woods nearly pulled off the match by himself, making a curling downhill 25-footer on 16 to get the Americans within a hole, then stiffing his tee shot on the par-3 17 after Stricker had put it in the water.

The losses dropped Woods to 13-16-2 in Ryder Cup play, and 9-15-1 when he has played with a partner. He has only played on one winning Ryder Cup team, the 1999 team that came back to win on the final day.