USA's Cup will run over
MEDINAH, Ill. -- Golf Chernobyls happen. Ask European Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal. In 1999, he and his European teammates had a four-point lead going into the Sunday singles against the USA in Brookline, Mass., and wound up weeping in a huddle in the team room.
"We all cried together," Olazabal remembers, "including me."
Will Davis Love's USA team, leading 10-6 after the first two days, be reduced to blubberers at a Medinah Massacre Sunday?
Why wait? Find out now and save your Sunday for football!
Bubba Watson vs. Luke Donald -- Two complete opposites. Watson is the wild child who swings from his cleats, whose hair seems to be dried in a hurricane, and whose finish looks like the first celebrity out on "Dancing With the Stars." Donald, meanwhile, is the wine connoisseur with the perfect clothes and the impeccable swing. Should be a doozy, but you've got to give it to the local lad ... DONALD. USA 10, EUROPE 7.
Webb Simpson vs. Ian Poulter -- Poulter is a murderer, a bloodless hit man in bad pants. He's the runaway star of this Ryder Cup. He birdied the last five holes Saturday afternoon to save his and Rory McIlroy's point against Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner. Did you read that? HE BIRDIED THE LAST FIVE HOLES! Everything but everything is a challenge to Poulter. When Bubba Watson exhorted the crowd to scream and yell while he hit his drive on the first tee Friday, Poulter decided he'd do the same thing, in front of Watson, on Saturday morning. HE HAD THE ENEMY CROWD SCREAM ON HIS BACKSWING! "He done it to us, so I decided I was gonna do it to him," Poulter said. He and his Fierce Face -- the one in which he looks like he's going to throw a kitchen knife through your larynx if you so much as inhale -- is now 11-3-0 in Ryder Cups. He's a thin Monty. He's Seve with a hedgehog haircut. Webb Simpson, meanwhile, is playing his first Ryder Cup. Poulter will cut him into little pieces and eat him with A1 sauce ... POULTER. USA 10, EUROPE 8.
Keegan Bradley vs. Rory McIlroy -- Even God might switch off the NFL to watch this one. The heavyweight throwdown of the day. Bradley is the new puppy that threatens to tear the leash in half. McIlroy used to be that guy, but has settled down into the No. 1 player in the world. But McIlroy isn't playing like No. 1 this week and Bradley is ... BRADLEY. USA 11, EUROPE 8.
Phil Mickelson vs. Justin Rose -- Mickelson has the most fun when he's shepherding some wild young buck in the two team-play days (Anthony Kim in 2008, Keegan Bradley in 2012). He and Bradley went undefeated all day Friday and Saturday morning and then sat out Saturday afternoon because -- get this -- Phil ASKED to. "Phil always has a plan," Love explained, "and that was his plan. To play two or three team matches, no more." So Love benched his undefeated team. The question is, did he cool them both off? Historically, Mickelson hasn't been that sensational when he hasn't had a partner in this thing (4-4-0) ... ROSE. USA 11, EUROPE 9.
Brandt Snedeker vs. Paul Lawrie -- Here's some Ryder Cup trivia. Who was one of the few European players to win their singles match in the Miracle at Brookline in 1999? Lawrie. (He beat Jeff Maggert 4 and 3.) Sneds, meanwhile, is blown away by his first Ryder Cup. His eyes are about the size of Cinnabons. "I have a buddy out here marshaling who used to play for the [Chicago] Bears, [Hunter Hillenmeyer]. He comes up to me and goes, 'I'd rather play in one of these than 10 Super Bowls.' It's awesome. It's crazy. I love it." No wonder Snedeker has looked a little jumpy, despite going 1-1 so far. And wait until he gets to hit his first tee shot on the first tee. He hasn't done that yet. Still, there's a reason Snedeker just won $11.4 million and Lawrie still gets mistaken for your heating and air conditioning guy ... SNEDEKER. USA 12, EUROPE 9.
Dustin Johnson vs. Nicolas Colsaerts -- Oh, Lord. The longest of the long. The trees will shake. Balata will melt. But Johnson has been solid all week. Colsaerts is the Rebecca Black of golf. He had one epic day Friday (eight birdies and an eagle) and not much else. Johnson, by the way, is undefeated so far ... JOHNSON. USA 13, EUROPE 9.
Zach Johnson vs. Graeme McDowell -- There were five pro-Europe skywriting jets heckling Johnson Saturday at Medinah. The message read: "Zach Johnson Should Play From the Red Tees." That ought to light a small furnace under Johnson, who can be very flammable. Also, he's been mostly money. From the gold tees. McDowell hasn't been good from anywhere ... JOHNSON. USA 14, EUROPE 9.
Jim Furyk vs. Sergio Garcia -- Old-school grudge match. They played on Sunday at the Miracle at Brookline in 1999. Furyk beat Sergio 4 and 3. "It'd be nice to give it back to them the way they gave it to us," Sergio said Saturday night. This time around, Sergio has a bad head cold. He keeps sneezing during interviews. He looks bleary-eyed and stuffy. Fear the sick man ... GARCIA. USA 14, EUROPE 10.
Jason Dufner vs. Peter Hanson -- This is a walkover. Dufner is playing fantastic. Hanson didn't even play at all Saturday. Dufner will win the point that gives the USA the Ryder Cup trophy and react by arching his right eyebrow slightly ... DUFNER. USA 15, EUROPE 10.
Matt Kuchar vs. Lee Westwood -- Another pasting. Westwood has been just dreadful. No, he's been worse than dreadful. More people have carried him this week than carried Cleopatra. Kuchar, meanwhile, is coming off a terrific Saturday afternoon when he made five birdies. And he watched in 1999, too, so he's ready for anything. "We know this deficit is overcomeable," he said. Yes, he did ... KUCHAR. USA 16, EUROPE 10.
Steve Stricker vs. Martin Kaymer -- Stricker hasn't been great, but Kaymer is a mess. Kaymer couldn't find a fairway with a course map. If I were Olazabal, I'd put Kaymer in the injury envelope and then find a way to kneecap Bradley ... STRICKER. USA 17, EUROPE 10.
Tiger Woods vs. Francesco Molinari -- We saw this movie in 2010 in Wales and Woods feasted on sauteed Molinari, 4 and 3. Woods does not do well sharing one golf ball, but he actually played terrific when he just got to golf his in the better-ball matches. He made seven birdies and got beat on Friday by a Belgian having the greatest day of his life. Then he made five birdies and got beat by Fierce Face, who was not to be stopped by a wall, much less a man. 36 holes, 12 birdies, 0 points. Like it matters, which it won't ... WOODS. USA 18, Europe 10.
Sorry, Ollie, but a four-point deficit on the road when four of your players should be at the range instead of the Ryder Cup? That's not overcomeable.
ESPN TOP HEADLINES
- Source: Michigan to announce Harbaugh hire
- Sources: Bears fire both Emery, Trestman
- Falcons fire coach Smith after seven seasons
- Jets clean house, fire GM Idzik, coach Ryan