Kohler (United States) (AFP)
The high-octane USA take an 11-5 lead in Sunday’s Ryder Cup singles, where Europe needs an unprecedented comeback to hold onto the coveted golf trophy.
The Americans, hungry for victory after losing four of the last five editions, including in 2018 in France, only need 3.5 points in Sunday’s 12 singles matches while Europe needs nine for reach the 14 points she needs to keep it.
With nine of the top 11 players in the world to send, US captain Steve Stricker nevertheless insisted the hosts remain on their toes.
“It’s not over yet,” Stricker said on Saturday night – and his European counterpart Padraig Harrington said the same, although it seemed a little more desperate of him.
No team has come back from a deficit of more than four points to win the biennial match play showdown, which is being played this year after a one-year delay in the event of the coronavirus pandemic.
The United States rallied 10-6 to win at Brookline, MA in 1999 and Europe fought back 10-6 in the “Miracle at Medinah” in 2012.
“I know it was a four point gap,” said Harrington, “but these things can be done. “
US Olympic gold medalist Xander ScHotele leads the charge in the opening singles at 11:04 am (1604 GMT), taking on a European Ryder Cup mainstay who has failed to shoot so far this week: Rory McIlroy .
Two-time major championship finalist ScHotele thrived in his first Ryder Cup, winning all three of their foursome and four-ball games.
McIlroy, meanwhile, lost all three of his games in his sixth Cup appearance and was held a session for the first time in his career.
Patrick Cantlay, winner of four US PGA Tour titles this year, including the Tour Championship that sealed his FedEx Cup playoff crown, has won two and drew on his Ryder Cup debut.
He will face another newcomer to the fight against Shane Lowry, the 2019 British Open champion who showed his mettle in a four-ball win on Saturday, draining an 11-foot putt to seal a 1 victory alongside Tyrrell Hatton against Harris English and Tony Finau.
One of the few matches in which Europe can be considered a big favorite, world number one Jon Rahm faces 21st place Scottie Scheffler.
Rahm has been outstanding for Europe, scoring 3.5 points in the first two days, while Scheffler, although not always at his best, has yet to lose a game as a team. with Bryson DeChambeau in four balls.
Big hitter DeChambeau takes on Sergio Garcia in Game 4, then comes defending British Open champion Collin Morikawa against Viktor Hovland and in Game 6 world number two Dustin Johnson takes on veteran European Paul Casey.
Johnson has mastered the rise of the United States this week, with four wins in four matches so far.
A singles win on Sunday would make him the first American since Larry Nelson in 1979 to pass five out of five – but Europe will need to conjure the early magic for Johnson’s result to even make sense.
© 2021 AFP