Advertisement
  1. Archive

Americans take a Cup beating

They weren't speaking to the media afterward, which was no surprise. The bigger question: Were Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson speaking to each other?

America's dream team suffered through a nightmare at Oakland Hills Country Club on Friday, failing to win either of its highly-anticipated, first-day matches in the 35th Ryder Cup and blowing a 3-up lead in the second one.

No words were necessary, really.

The look on Woods' face said it all as he watched Mickelson's tee shot on the 18th hole sail left and nearly up against an out-of-bounds fence in the foursomes match against Europe's Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood.

Woods, who had to deal with Mickelson's misfire in the alternating shot format, had no swing, taking an unplayable lie that led to defeat.

It was in keeping with a gloomy day for the Americans, who watched Scotland's Colin Montgomerie work his Ryder Cup magic and fell behind 6{ to 1{.

It was the biggest first-day deficit in Ryder Cup history for the Americans. Captain Hal Sutton reacted quickly, sitting Mickelson in this morning's fourball matches and wondering what it takes to get better golf out of the top American players.

"I felt like the world wanted to see them together. I wanted to see them together. I think they wanted to see each other together," Sutton said. "We're going to have to move on. I didn't see any downside risk. I thought when they got beat (Friday morning), they'd be on fire (in the afternoon). And they started out on fire. They were 3-up.

"How big a bet would you have made that they wouldn't have lost their match after they got 3-up? We'd all be broke. They'd have bet on it, too."

The gamble went bust, and the Europeans prospered. Woods and Mickelson lost the first match of the day to Montgomerie and Padraig Harrington. The Europeans never looked back, winning 3{ of a possible four points in the morning and three of four in the afternoon.

"The story really is Harrington and Monty," Ireland's Paul McGinley said. "To take out your American No. 1 and No. 2, psychologically, it just sent a shiver right through the team. It was an immense performance. Momentum is huge in the Ryder Cup, and fortunately, we had it."

The Americans have led after the first day just three times in the past 11 Ryder Cups and have lost three of the last four. But the deficit is daunting, and Sutton was nearly at a loss to figure out his pairings for today.

The only team to win a match for the United States, Jay Haas and Chris DiMarco, are first off. Woods gets Chris Riley, instead of Mickelson, for his match against Darren Clarke and Ian Poulter. Jim Furyk plays with Chad Campbell, who didn't make a birdie in his morning match, against Paul Casey and David Howell. And Stewart Cink is teamed with Davis Love, who played the worst among the Americans competing in both matches. They'll take on the star team of Montgomerie and Harrington.

Montgomerie kept intact an amazing streak of not trailing in any Ryder Cup match since the second day of the 1999 competition, a span of 143 consecutive holes. A big grin crossed the Scot's face when asked if he knew of the streak. He takes particular pride in his Ryder Cup play.

He birdied the first hole in fourball against Woods and Mickelson, and along with Harrington, combined to birdie the first four holes and six of the first eight; they won 2 and 1. Then in the afternoon, the duo hammered Love and Fred Funk 4 and 2.

"We've had a very, very good day," said Montgomerie, whose record improved to 13-2-3 in his past 18 matches and 18-7-5 overall. "Very few days in Ryder Cup play have I personally enjoyed as much, and in anything, if you enjoy what you do, you're usually quite good at it. So we really enjoyed playing together."

"It's been an awesome day for the European team," captain Bernhard Langer said. "To beat the top pairing, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, and get two points out of those first two matches that's awesome. And to have the biggest lead we've ever had after the first day is just incredible and awesome and fantastic."

Again, there are some head-scratching numbers for the Americans. Mickelson, the fourth-ranked player in the world, has lost nine straight matches, including last year's Presidents Cup during which he went 0-5. Woods, ranked second, has lost seven straight first-day matches, going back to his first Ryder Cup in 1997. His overall record fell to 5-10-2. Love, the sixth-ranked player, dropped to 5-10-3 when playing with a partner.

"Well, we made history," Sutton said. "They played great and we played very poorly. Who would have seen that coming?"

TOOTHLESS TIGER

A rough year for Tiger Woods continued Friday with two losses in the Ryder Cup. But the event has always been unkind to Woods, who fell to 5-10-2 (2-5-0 in fourball, 2-4-1 in foursomes and 1-1-1 in singles):

2004 OAKLAND HILLS; BLOOMFIELD, MICH.

FOURBALL (0-1)

Montgomerie-Harrington 2 and 1 vs. Woods-Mickelson

FOURSOMES (0-1)

Clarke-Westwood 1-up vs. Woods-Mickelson

2002 SUTTON COLDFIELD, ENGLAND

EUROPE 15{-12{

FOURBALL (1-1)

Clarke-Bjorn 1-up vs. Woods-Azinger

Woods-Love 1-up vs. Garcia-Westwood

FOURSOMES (1-1)

Garcia-Westwood 2 and 1 vs. Woods-Calcavecchia

Woods-Love 4 and 3 vs. Clarke-Bjorn

SINGLES (0-0-1)

Woods { vs. Parnevik {

1999 THE COUNTRY CLUB; BROOKLINE, MASS. U.S. 14{-13{

FOURBALL (0-2)

Clarke-Westwood 1-up vs. Woods-Duval

Lawrie-Montgomerie 2 and 1 vs. Woods-Pate

FOURSOMES (1-1)

Garcia-Parnevik 2 and 1 vs. Woods-Lehman

Woods-Pate 1-up vs. Jimenez-Harringto

SINGLES (1-0)

Woods 3 and 2 vs. Andrew Coltart

1997 VALDERAMA GC; SOTOGRANDE, SPAIN. EUROPE 14{-13{

FOURBALL (1-1)

Woods-O'Meara 3 and 2 vs. Montgomerie-Langer

Faldo-Westwood 2 and 1 vs. Woods-O'Meara

FOURSOMES (0-1-1)

Langer-Montgomerie 5 and 3 vs. Woods-O'Meara

Parnevik-Garrido { vs. Woods-Leonard {

SINGLES (0-1)

Rocca 4 and 2 vs. Woods

Up next:MILESTONE

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Advertisement
Advertisement