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U.S. lineup is made to order by Hal Sutton

The situation is so bleak Hal Sutton didn't bother to come up with a strategy for today.

He simply decided to send his U.S. Ryder Cup players off in the order in which they qualified for the team.

"That was as good as any way," Sutton said. "I put as strong of guys as we've got to put out first. It was as good as any way I could think of to do it. The deficit, that had a lot to do with it."

After falling behind 11-5 through two days of the Ryder Cup at Oakland Hills Country Club, Sutton is at loss for what to do.

He let the players prepare for the Ryder Cup in their own way and didn't want them to worry about the pairings. He came up with some unusual combinations. He tried a little tough love.

The result is still the largest U.S. deficit heading into the final day of match play. No team has come from further back than the one Sutton played on in 1999. That group, captained by Ben Crenshaw, trailed 10-6 but won 8{ points on Sunday for a 14{-13{ victory.

That team got off to a fast start and built on it throughout the final day.

Sutton will need more of that, and then some, today. The Americans must take 9{ of the 12 points to win the Cup, which means there can be no more than two U.S. defeats.

"In '99, basically every guy was up in their match in the first five or six matches," Tiger Woods said. "And we're going to have to do that and more. It's going to need to be more than just the first five or six; it's going to need to be a lot of great guys playing golf."

Woods leads off against England's Paul Casey, followed by Phil Mickelson against Spain's Sergio Garcia and Davis Love against Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke. Captain's choices Jay Haas and Stewart Cink will bring up the rear and take on Ireland's Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley, respectively.

Certainly Woods, Mickelson and Love have the potential to get the Americans started. Then again, they are a combined 3-8 at this Ryder Cup.

"I'm not scared at all," European captain Bernhard Langer said. "I'm actually pretty sure and convinced that out of the first three matches, I'd be very surprised if we don't get two points."

Why wouldn't Langer think that? Perhaps Sutton could use it as motivation.

"I believe in my heart that they can (come back)," Sutton said. "Whether they will or not is a whole other story. You all know how difficult this game is. These guys are capable. And I can tell you one thing about match play, once it starts swinging one direction, it seems to swing for a while."


What the Americans need to do to win:

Win 10 matches, lose 2

Win 10 matches, lose 1, tie 1

Win 10 matches, tie 2

Win 9 matches, lose 2, tie 1

Win 9 matches, lose 1, tie 2

Win 9 matches, lose 0, tie 3

Win 8 matches, lose 1, tie 3

Win 8 matches, lose 0, tie 4

Win 7 matches, lose 0, tie 5