Ryder Cup's second round
MEDINAH, Ill. (AP) This Ryder Cup is turning into a rout.After taking a commanding 8-4 lead with a near-sweep Saturday morning in the foursomes, the Americans didn't even give Europe a chance to recover before starting the next romp. The U.S. had the lead in all but one of the fourball matches, with Webb Simpson and Bubba Watson leading the way at 4 up through 13 holes over Justin Rose and Francesco Molinari.
Only Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods were missing out on the fun again down 4 to Sergio Garcia and Luke Donald at the turn.
The Americans need 14 points to regain the Ryder Cup. The largest comeback in Ryder Cup history was at Brookline in 1999, when the U.S. erased a 10-6 deficit on the final day.
"I keep telling the guys we're not even halfway over with this tournament so far," captain Davis Love III said after the morning matches. "There's a lot of points left, let's keep doing what we're doing. They're buying into it, they're playing great."
Turning Medinah Country Club into a big lovefest, too. Roars of "U-S-A! U-S-A!" echoed throughout the sun-kissed course, and the U.S. point total changes so often fans are going to have whiplash from checking the scoreboards.
And this is with Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson sitting out the afternoon matches.
Bradley and Mickelson kick-started the Americans' big day in record-tying fashion, thrashing Lee Westwood and Luke Donald 7 and 6. The two are on such a roll they didn't even have to putt to win their first two holes. The Europeans conceded No. 1 when Mickelson put his second within 2 feet of the pin, and they gave the Americans No. 2 after Westwood put his tee shot in the water and missed the bogey putt.
Mickelson's gorgeous wedge set up Bradley with an 8-footer for birdie on No. 4, and he knocked it in easily, letting out a roar when the ball dropped into the cup. The Americans went 6 up when Donald had another putt lip out on 10, and the Europeans might as well have conceded then, the result was so inevitable.
Sure enough, two holes later, Mickelson played a perfect wedge from the rough, hitting the green about 20 feet left of the pin and trickling down a slope within a foot of the cup.
"Phil is a good partner to Keegan," Donald said. "He's obviously been a rock star this week, and they did nothing wrong."
The 7-and-6 win, in fact, matched the mark for most lopsided score in an 18-hole team match. Two other teams have won 7 and 6, both foursomes, with Paul Azinger and Mark O'Meara in 1991 the last to do it.
The victory made Bradley the first U.S. rookie to start 3-0 since Loren Roberts in 1995. And it handed Donald his second straight loss in foursomes after going unbeaten in his first six matches.
The U.S. got another big boost in the final match, Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker's 1-up victory over Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell.
The Northern Irish duo are considered Europe's top team, the No. 1 player in the world and the guy who delivered the winning point for Europe two years ago at Celtic Manor. But they've looked almost ordinary since Furyk and Snedeker forced them to grind out a victory in Friday's foursomes, and they couldn't overcome their slow start Saturday.
"We were just parring the place to death, which is not good enough in this format," McDowell said. "We just couldn't get the ball to go in the hole. Rory had a few putts in particular that burned some edges, and we just couldn't get any momentum going."
Take the last three holes. A nice iron by McDowell gave McIlroy an easy birdie putt on 16, and he made it to pare Furyk and Snedeker's lead to 1 up. But McIlroy followed that with a miss on a 15-footer that would have evened the match on 17.
McIlroy's monster drive on 18 put the Europeans in good position to scratch out a halve especially after Snedeker went in a bunker off the tee. But McDowell flew the green on the second shot, leaving McIlroy with a long putt from the fringe. He nearly made it, but his line was about a half-inch too far to the right and McIlroy groaned as he watched it roll on by.
When Snedeker got a 25-footer to about a foot, the Europeans conceded.
"We are in a hole," McDowell said. "These guys, there's blood in the water and they're up for it. They've got a head of steam up and we've got to try and stop it."