Column: Decades-old debt erased in 10 seconds

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McIlroy hits his opening drive into a tangle of TV cable well off the right side of the No. 1 fairway.

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1:04 p.m.

Tiger Woods tees off against Italian Francesco Molinari, with most golf fans viewers still waiting for an answer to the question they slept on overnight: “What was U.S. captain Davis Love III thinking when he put the once-(and sometimes-still) best golfer on the planet out in the 12th and final match?”

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1:07 p.m.

Exactly an hour into the matches, Europe gets a nose in front, leading 4-2, with five matches even. In many ways, the die is already cast.

Donald, who never trailed after the first hole en route to his 2-and-1 win over Watson, is already 2 up. Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland, who trailed from the start against Zach Johnson, is already 3 down. The four Europeans who contributed no points in the first two days _ Kaymer and Swede Peter Hanson played only once _ are more holding their own. Scot Paul Lawrie is already 2 up en route to the day’s biggest beating, a 5-and-3 win over Brandt Snedeker.

Even Lee Westwood, whose meager contributions the first two days left him looking on several occasions like he wanted to hide in the trees, is more than a match for Matt Kuchar.

The same galleries that screamed themselves hoarse Friday and Saturday as the Americans rolled out to a 10-6 lead are doing a lot of nervous whispering.

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2:07 p.m.

Europe 4, U.S. 3, with five matches even.

Love turns up for an on-camera interview and it’s clear he feels the same sense of foreboding that is blanketing the place. He reveals he advised Watson, still 2 down to Donald at the 16th, to do the same thing he told Justin Leonard in the middle of America’s improbable comeback at Brookline in 1999: “Drag him out as far as you could.”

Not quite on par with “Win One for The Gipper.”

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