October 1, 2016

Ryder Cup – Day Two

I feel sorry for Lee Westwood.  Too classy of a guy to have this collapse and burden put on him.  It was plausible to miss a four to five footer on the 17th hole, because other players like Rory, Zach, Sergio and others had missed from that distance earlier.  But after hitting a clutch iron to two feet on 18 and then badly missing that putt was painful to watch. Those two putts were critical for the European side and meant a full point difference in the two day total.  Westwood handled his failure as a gentleman and his teammates were fully supportive and sympathetic, but his miscues could easily cost his team the Ryder Cup. 

Going into Sunday’s single matches with a 9 ½ to 6 ½ lead, the US squad is in an enviable position.  The early matches favor the European’s.  The pairing of Reed against McIlroy should be a classic, but in the battle of two that roar the loudest, I would favor Rory.  If Patrick wins this match the Ryder Cup will be in American hands.  Spieth is off his game and Stenson is solid.  I don’t see this even being close.  Holmes verses Pieters is a tossup.  Both have played well and we will see whose nerves are strongest.  Fowler and Rose is a win for Europe.  Fowler hasn’t fared well individually.  I hope he can make a breakthrough.  Jimmy Walker matches up with Rafa Cabrera Bello in a contest of who shows up and wants it more.  Phil Mickelson gets Sergio Garcia in one of the marquee matches.  A lot of emotion will be on display.  I think Phil will want this so much that he will have his “A” game on display. 

The first six matches favor the Europeans.  Darren Clark has front loaded his selections to quickly get back in the game and his hope is that their play will inspire the tail end of the lineup.  The second half strongly favors the Americans.  Dustin Johnson, Snedeker, Kuchar, Zach Johnson, Koepka, and Moore are formidable match play competitors.  They will be favored in each of the matches.  If the US can split or even win two of the first six, it will be very difficult for Europe to retain the Ryder Cup.

Watching Lee Westwood line up the two foot putt on the 18th green to give Europe a halve against Moore and Holmes.  I first hoped for a miss, but quickly changed my mind and wanted him to make it.  In a competition that had so much drama and great shotmaking, I didn’t want Lee to be embarrassed and the outcome and possible blame for a European loss placed at his feet.  I hope the outcome will not come down to that putt.  There will be plenty of drama, great shots and choking on display on Sunday.  I hope the outcome will be the result of one team just playing better than the other.


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