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THE 13TH MAN: Blame the partisan galleries at Medinah, the leadership of Phil Mickelson, excitable rookie Keegan Bradley’s spectacular play, or even the businesslike duo of Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner. All have played a role in Europe’s mounting deficit heading into the final day’s singles matches.

But Graeme McDowell thinks there’s one other factor in play.

“This golf course, it’s about momentum. If you’re seeing it on the greens, you can really get it going with the putter,” he said. “And if you’re not … “

If you’re not, you’re in for some misadventures. McDowell and teammate Rory McIlory were strong on the greens in their opening match, beating Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker 1-up, but the Northern Ireland duo has struggled since. They were beaten Friday afternoon by Mickelson and Bradley, then again Saturday morning by Furyk and Snedeker before splitting up.

“We’re in a hole,” McDowell said. “These guys, there’s blood in the water and they are up for it.”


UP IN THE AIR: Bring back the sky Tweets!

Rather than being annoyed by the series of pro-European messages written in the sky Saturday, U.S. captain Davis Love III is hoping Irish bookmaker Paddy Power does them again Sunday.

“We texted back and forth about it … and decided, `Hey, it’s working good for us, we keep winning holes,’” Love said. “I’m just disappointed that they stopped, because if they’d have kept doing it all afternoon, maybe our roll would have kept going.”

Paddy Power asked fans to Tweet messages via the GoEurope hashtag, and a fleet of sky writers “painted” the best ones above Medinah. Some were supportive (“Do it for Seve” and “We Believe”), others were clever (“Rory’s Gonna Getcha”) and others were, well, off-color.

But they were all in good fun, Love said.

“As long as it wasn’t the other side,” he said. “Once we asked around and figured out who was doing it, then we understood.”

The Europeans got a chuckle out of the messages. McIlroy even had someone grab his phone so he could take a photo of the “Gonna Getcha” message.


DIVOTS: Keegan Bradley became the first rookie since Sergio Garcia in 1999 to win his opening three matches. Garcia went on to halve a fourth match, and then lost in singles. Bradley is the first American rookie to go 3-0 in team matches since Loren Roberts in 1995. Roberts had three partners at Oak Hill _ Jeff Maggert, Peter Jacobsen and Corey Pavin. … Bradley and Phil Mickelson have been so dominant this week that at one point, they won seven consecutive holes _ the last four holes of a foursomes match Friday morning and the opening three holes of their fourballs match that afternoon.