Missed It By That Much

Sunday, Sep 30, 2012  |  Updated 8:02 AM PDT
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Missed It By That Much

AP

USA's Tiger Woods reacts after missing a birdie putt on the 18th hole to lose a four-ball match at the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament Friday, Sept. 28, 2012, at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

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It must be said that the US has pretty much had its way with the Europeans during this Ryder Cup since the afternoon session on Friday. 10-6 is a commanding lead, and that big of a gap has only been overcome during the singles session in this competition once. That was 1999, when the US overcame that sized deficit in The Miracle at Brookline. They will be favored in the singles. You'd want to be where the Yanks are.

But it felt like the US could have ended it Saturday.  And you wonder if they won't come to regret it tomorrow.

The Americans were brilliant in the morning, and it may be more than a coincidence that Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods were sitting it out. Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson continued their simply out-of-body level of play, setting a record for largest margin of victory over Lee Westwood and Luke Donald at 7&6. If it were a boxing match the ref would have stopped it.

Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson continued their streamlined play, rolling to a 2&1 win over Nicolas Colsaerts and Sergio Garcia. It was quite a reversal for Colsaerts Saturday  from Friday, when he singlehnadedly kept Tiger Woods at bay. Saturday, he couldn't buy a putt. If they kept such things, he would have set a record for putts that lipped out.

Jim Furyk and Brendt Snedeker were able to sneak to a victory in the foursomes over the pair that had beat them yesterday, the Northern Irish duo of Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell. This time, they didn't make a mistake on 18.

The fact that Europe is even in with a shout Sunday is down to Ian Poulter. He got them their one point in the morning Saturday, and he hauled back Dufner and Johnson over the last four holes in the afternoon with huge putts. He turned a 2-down deficit into a 1up win, and he did it with birdies on the last four holes. He's been Europe's star by a mile.

If the US does cough this up, some will be wondering if that critical point that would have had a foot on the Europeans throat was the decision to bring in Steve Stricker and sit both Mickelson and Bradley.

While captain Davis Love has stated that the plan all along was to make sure no one played all five sessions to conserve energy, the thought of an audible must have crossed his mind. The publicity will go to Tiger, but he was magnificent on the back nine in the afternoon four-ball after sitting out the morning. He gave the US birdies on 15-17 to haul them back. But he got no help from Stricker at any point. 

It sets up what should be a straightforward day for the US Sunday. They need 4.5 points out of the 12 on offer. But it could have been even easier.

Let's hope they won't regret it.

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