Blog 241, 9/30/12 - Ryder Cup: Sunday Singles; Not Predicting a Happy Day for Europe


Luke Donald

Bubba Watson
The excitement starts right here with two big guns leading each side out. Former world number one Donald hasn’t had the Ryder Cup he was hoping for, but did salvage some pride with his Saturday afternoon fourball victory with Sergio Garcia against Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker. Masters champion Watson partnered Webb Simpson to two wins from three mtches, and is very obviously pumped up. One wonders how much sleep he’ll get tonight. A classic introvert v extrovert clash to lead us off.
Donald singles record: 2-1-0
Watson singles record:
Donald wins
Match score:
US leads 10-7

Ian Poulter

Webb Simpson

The star of the European team with a 3-0-0 record so far this week, Ian Poulter has never lost a Ryder Cup singles match having taken down Chris Riley, Steve Stricker and Matt Kuchar in ’04, ’08 and ’10. In Webb Simpson though, he will come up against the reigning US Open champion who seems as durable as he is talented.
Poulter: 3-0-0
Simpson wins
Match score: 11-7

Rory McIlroy
Keegan Bradley
The battle of the young studs. Before the competition began most fans were hoping 23-year-old McIlroy might face Tiger Woods in the singles, but after the sort of Ryder Cup Keegan Bradley has had, this match actually seems even more fascinating. Bradley, 26 and perhaps the highest and brightest of America’s stars this week, would complete a perfect 4-0-0 week if he were to beat the world number one. But I think McIlroy will be too strong.
McIlroy: 0-0-1
McIlroy wins
Match score: 11-8

Justin Rose
Phil Mickelson
This is a repeat of Rose and Mickelson’s 2008 Ryder Cup singles in which the Englishman ran out a 3&2 winner. Mickelson will obviously be eager to turn the tables this time, but one wonders how he will fare without his trusty sidekick Keegan Bradley who has helped his mentor add three more points to his wins column this week. Rose is 2-2-0 having played in all four sessions thus far. Mickelson took Saturday afternoon off. Will that prove significant?
Rose: 1-0-0
Mickelson wins
Mtch score: 12-8

Paul Lawrie
Brandt Snedeker
Given that he has played two and lost two so far this week and hasn’t played a Ryder Cup singles match since 1999, it may seem odd that Lawrie is in the top half of the draw when Europe needs points and fast. But the Scot has proved himself a doughty competitor and did actually win his one and only singles, beating Jeff Maggert 4&3. Snedeker has had a decent Ryder Cup as a rookie winning one foursomes and losing the other alongside Jim Furyk and can put the cherry on his FedEx Cup winning season with a singles victory.  
Snedeker wins
Match Score:

Nicolas Colsaerts
Dustin Johnson
For the first few holes at least, all that matters here will be which one of these two powerhouses can hit their tee shots the farthest. Colsaerts and Johnson are two of the longest hitters in the game, so the player hitting it farther will likely gain a significant mental boost. Colsaerts proved on Friday afternoon, however, he can putt as well as he can drive holing half a dozen or more lengthy putts in his 1up fourball victory with Lee Westwood over Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker. Johnson has played two and won two so far this week in concert with Matt Kuchar, and he smashed Martin Kaymer in the singles at Celtic Manor two years ago.
Colsaerts: Rookie
Johnson wins
Match score: 14-8

Graeme McDowell
Zach Johnson
This will be a close, tense encounter played out between two of either side’s toughest competitors. Neither player will flinch and holes will most likely be won with birdies rather than lost with bogeys.
McDowell is 1-2-0 for the week, Johnson 2-1-0 having formed a potent pairing with Jason Dufner.  
McDowell: 2-0-0
McDowell wins
Match score: 14-9

Sergio Garcia
Jim Furyk
Jose Maria Olazabal was surely hoping for more from his countryman at this Ryder Cup, but the point he earned alongside Luke Donald on Saturday afternoon may have given Garcia the lift he needs heading into Sunday. The once excitable Spaniard’s emotions have dulled somewhat over the years, but surely he will fire himself up for this one. His singles record is not good, however, and the last time he played a Ryder Cup singles match, he lost heavily to Anthony Kim at Valhalla. Furyk has a much better record than his opponent in this format and with his experience and steely nerve is bound to be a tough proposition.
Garcia: 1-4-0
Furyk wins
Match score: 15-9

Peter Hanson
Jason Dufner
This will be one of the more subdued games played between two of each team’s quieter members. That said, it won’t matter how quiet the players are if Europe has had the advantage in the earlier ties and the match score is getting tighter and tighter. Hanson has played only once so far this week going down 5&4 with Paul Lawrie in a Friday afternoon fourball against Webb Simpson and Bubba Watson. Dufner has seen a little more action, winning two of three matches with Zach Johnson.
Hanson: 0-1-0
Dufner wins
Match score: 16-9

Lee Westwood
Matt Kuchar

A heavyweight battle in which the American will surely start favorite after Westwood’s fairly disappointing displays of late. After playing well at both the Barclays and BMW Championship in the FedEx Cup playoffs, the Englishman finished plumb last at the Tour Championship on 18-over-par and has clearly been out of sorts this week. It will take a monumental effort for him to overcome the ever-steady Kuchar who has played two, won two with Dustin Johnson this week.
Westwood: 2-5-0
Kuchar wins
Match score:

Martin Kaymer
Steve Stricker

Both men have had a fairly miserable week so far, Kaymer losing his only game and Stricker losing all three of his alongside Tiger Woods. Kaymer’s only Ryder Cup singles ended in inglorious defeat to Dustin Johnson at Celtic Manor where Stricker beat Lee Westwood 2&1. By now, one suspects the Americans will have clinched the Cup, but if the game is still on Stricker will likely grind out what would be a very valuable point.
Kaymer: 0-1-0
Stricker wins
Match score: 18-9

Francesco Molinari
Tiger Woods
These two met in Wales two years ago when Woods pulled off a handy 4&3 victory. Both have had a wretched time of it so far this week, Woods losing three out of three matches, the Italian two out of two. It’s unlikely this tie will have a significant bearing on the outcome, but if it does come down to this last match and Woods has a ten-footer for a three on the 18th to win the Cup, Medinah’s mighty clubhouse will likely crumble to its foundations if he holes it.
Molinari: 0-1-0
Woods wins
atch score: 19-9

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