Ryder Cup: It all comes down to this, Sunday singles matchups and predictions as U.S. team holds an 11-5 lead over Europe

Star-studded matchups will decided winner of the Ryder Cup.

Ryder Cup: It all comes down to this, Sunday singles matchups and predictions as U.S. team holds an 11-5 lead over Europe

European Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington and his 12-man European team are still holding out hope that they can pull off the biggest comeback in Ryder Cup history on Sunday.

All 12 Americans have won a match at the 43rd Ryder Cup as Team USA built an 11-5 lead over Europe at Whistling Straits.

“Six points is a tough one to make up tomorrow,” said Harrington, who was on the losing end of USA’s rally from a 10-6 deficit in 1999 and on the winning side in 2012 when Europe rallied from the same deficit, “ but I think we were a half-point short of that in the Miracle at Medinah on Sunday, so we’re just going to have to push for that tomorrow.”

It’s the largest lead Team USA has held over Europe in the modern era (since 1979) – largest since 1975 – and matched the 2004 European squad that thrashed the Americans. The Americans need to win 3 ½ points out of 12 on Sunday to win the Cup for the first time since 2016.

Team Europe had its first non-losing session on Saturday afternoon, splitting four Four-Ball matches, but for much of the day it looked as if Europe would have won three of the four matches before the U.S. flipped a match late in the day. How big a difference will that make in the outcome?

“Very big. 11-5 versus 10-6, that’s a big difference in my book,” U.S. captain Steve Stricker said.

But the Europeans refuse to relinquish the golden trophy it claimed in Paris in 2018 without a fight.

“We’re still not out of it,” said Shane Lowry, who holed a clutch 10-foot par putt on 18 to secure a full point in the afternoon. “It’s a long day tomorrow, 12 matches. If any 12 of us were going out against any of them in the match play, we would fancy our chances. We just have to believe. It’s all about believing.”

“If that doesn’t go in, Europe’s got no shot tomorrow,”

The 34-year-old Irishman, who sat out Saturday morning’s foursomes session, was looking on his phone Friday night when an inspirational quote popped on the screen and stuck in his mind.

“It was like if you’ve got a 1 percent chance, you have to have 100 percent faith. And I just think that we really need to live by that tonight and tomorrow and go out and give it our best,” Lowry said. “If we can win three or four of the games early on, you just never know. Golf is a funny game. If you’ve got a chance, you just never know.”

Dustin Johnson leads the Americans with a 4-0 record this week and has the perspective of being on the 2012 U.S. side that blew a 10-6 lead in the Miracle at Medinah. “You know, it’s not over,” said Johnson. “We’ve still got to go out, and everybody needs to play well. We’ve still got to get, what, four points, or 3 1/2. You know, it’s not over.”

But England’s Ian Poulter didn’t mince words. “We’re not in a good position and it’s going to take a beyond monumental effort,” he said. “So we need a couple of miracles.”

“Hopefully we can rally and at last give them something to maybe sweat about tomorrow in the middle of the afternoon,” said Rory McIlroy, who is winless this week.

“We have a big task tomorrow, and hopefully let’s see if we can make history,” said Sergio Garcia, who teamed with World No. 1 Jon Rahm to win three points and represents one of Europe’s few bright spots.

Sunday singles matchups and predictions

Schauffele vs. McIlroy

Schupak: Schauffele is undefeated this week; McIlroy is winless and has looked lost. This one goes to Team USA.

DiMeglio: I didn’t see McIlroy going 0-2 on the first day and then dropping to 0-3 on the second day. I can’t see him ending the Ryder Cup 0-4. Somehow, he’ll find his form for the victory. Even against the gold medalist.

Cantlay vs. Lowry

Schupak: This is an intriguing matchup. Love the fight Lowry showed but Cantlay, the FedEx Cup champion, is a silent assassin and lives for these moments too. Point for USA.

DiMeglio: The USA fans are going to start sweating as Lowry takes down Cantlay. The par putt he made to give Europe a win in Saturday Four-Ball was a gift to his mother, who was celebrating her birthday. The good vibes continue.

Scheffler vs. Rahm

Schupak: Scheffler beat Rahm in the WGC Matchplay and has played well with DeChambeau as a Ryder Cup rookie, but Rahm has been the MVP of the Ryder Cup, albeit on a losing side. He’s been a stud and is going to earn a fifth point for his team.

DiMeglio: Poor Scheffler. Rahm has been the best player this week and will end the week 4-0-1 with his second singles victory in the Ryder Cup; he beat Tiger Woods in Paris in 2018. He’s the No. 1 player in the world and playing like it. Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but I have Europe winning the first three matches.

DeChambeau vs. Garcia

Schupak: This is one of the best matchups. Garcia is having another great week and while DeChambeau has been enjoying the fan support, I think Garcia will ball strike him to death. Point for Europe.

DiMeglio: Make that Europe winning the first four matches. Garcia came into the week as the all-time points leader in Ryder Cup history and he will add three points to the total – taking him to 28.5 – with his win in singles. He just finds a way to win in the Ryder Cup.

Morikawa vs. Hovland

Schupak: Oh, boy. I may have to walk with this group because this matchup is a thing of beauty. I can’t pick between these two. I’m calling this one a tie, but it won’t be a pillow fight.

DiMeglio: Two young studs go at it but Morikawa has the slight edge because he hasn’t played four matches like Hovland has. USA puts red on the board.

Johnson vs. Casey

Schupak: Johnson can do no wrong this week. When he’s in full flight, he’s almost invincible and will be too much for Casey.

DiMeglio: DJ is back on form, the form that won him a Masters and a FedEx Cup in 2020. Too much firepower for Casey to handle.

Koepka vs. Wiesberger

Schupak: Let’s hope Koepka doesn’t need another ruling. Either way, he’s going to be too much for Bernd. I really liked the way Koepka played on Saturday afternoon. He’ll get a full point for Team USA and could be the clincher, if someone else doesn’t beat him to it.

DiMeglio: Koepka is just the better player. Wiesberger has played well in his Ryder Cup debut, but Koepka is Koepka and he’s healthy enough to finish off his Ryder Cup week with a win.

Finau vs. Poulter

Schupak: Poulter has been hugely disappointing. Finau has been a solid contributor and he’s got another point in him for Team USA if he keeps putting like he did on Friday. Down goes Poulter’s undefeated record in singles. Point for USA.

DiMeglio: This will be interesting. Finau’s power and passion against Poulter’s precision and passion. I’ll go with the guy who is on form – Finau, who won the first FedEx Cup Playoffs event.

Thomas vs. Hatton

Schupak: Hatton acknowledged he was struggling on Saturday. Thomas is one of Team USA’s fiery leaders. He’s going to get a full point for his team.

DiMeglio: Thomas will shotgun some more beers after he wins his second singles match in the Ryder Cup in as many tries. Just the better player.

English vs. Westwood

Schupak: It’s Lee Westwood’s last stand and I don’t think he’s going to go out with a bang. Very cool to have his son on the bag, but English has the more complete game at this point in their careers. Point for USA.

DiMeglio: English is on form; Westwood is not. USA point.

Spieth vs Fleetwood

Schupak: Jordan Spieth has never won a singles match in international competition since turning pro. That streak ends on Sunday. He gets another point for Team USA.

DiMeglio: I think Fleetwood should have played at least one more match. He pulls out the win.

Berger vs Fitzpatrick

Schupak: The anchor match will be anti-climatic, but Berger won’t let up just because Team USA has already won the Cup. Berger’s going to battle to the end and get a W for Team USA.

DiMeglio: Berger is on form, Fitz is not. Yes, I wrote that for the English-Westwood match, but it characterizes the entire 43rd Ryder Cup. The USA was in form, Europe was not. The end result? USA wins 18-10.

Source : Golf Week More   

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Despite travel headaches and COVID protocols, Ryder Cup fans from Europe are enjoying their experience at Whistling Straits

The European fans are enjoying themselves at the Ryder Cup.

Despite travel headaches and COVID protocols, Ryder Cup fans from Europe are enjoying their experience at Whistling Straits

Before the afternoon matches at the Ryder Cup on Saturday, the crowd of  overwhelmingly United States fans who filled the grandstands surrounding the first hole at Whistling Straits sang a spirited rendition of “God Bless America.”

After that song ended, the small pockets of Europe supporters tried to make their own voices heard. A song from a group of five fans decked out in blue-and-yellow suits was drowned out by taunts of “We can’t hear you!”

When the Europe group gamely responded with “Olé! Olé!” chants, they were quickly overwhelmed by the “U-S-A! U-S-A!” chorus that has become ubiquitous this weekend.

Yes, it is tough to be a fan of Europe this year and not just because the Americans raced out to big lead on the first day of the competition. The delay of the biennial event from last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic caused travel headaches for those coming from across the pond.

Chris Scott, 42, and his group of friends from college in England have been to nine Ryder Cups. The rescheduling caused two members to miss the trip to Wisconsin.

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More: Herbert Kohler says, ‘we just want to create the best’ as Whistling Straits hosts the Ryder Cup

With their sharp, blue-and-yellow suits — and “Guardians of the Cup” emblazoned on the backs — they stand out in the sea of red, white and blue. In normal years there would be a hearty back-and-forth between the two contingents, but the Europe fans are just vastly outnumbered.

“We’re doing everything we can to support Team Europe,” Scott said. “But it’s not the same when everyone else isn’t here. Feel humbled to be here, but otherwise it would be much more fun to have everyone else here.”

Scott and his group are staying in Milwaukee, adding more planning to their travel logistics.

“Three o’clock starts (in the morning),” Scott said. “Pretty tiring. Endurance holiday, but it’s good fun.”

Scott said his group must pass COVID tests to return to England.

“Keeping distance from people as best as we can,” Scott said. “Can’t afford to get stuck in America.”

Mike De Sisti / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

COVID testing kept Spain’s Beltran Usera from getting the Ryder Cup experience he wanted.

“I have international exemption because of my work,” said Usera, who is involved in banking. “I was going to come with five friends. They didn’t have authorization to come in. So I had to find new friends from Miami.”

Usera was wearing a suit tailor-made with the likenesses of himself and a friend alongside those of Spanish golfing legends Sergio Garcia, Jon Rahm and Seve Ballesteros. Usera also had the Spanish flag tied around his neck.

“It’s so sad because there are no Europeans,” he said.

Usera missed the opening shots on Friday because he had to get a PCR test in Sheboygan. He’s traveling to Brazil on Monday.

It is much easier getting to and from Whistling Straits if you are an Europe fan already in the United States.

Mike De Sisti / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

John Kelly, originally from Dublin, lives in San Francisco and made the spontaneous decision to attend with his group of four other golf-mad Irish friends in their 30s.

“We were in a bar last Saturday and we were talking about Shane Lowry getting picked (by Europe captain Padraig Harrington),” Kelly said. “And we just looked online and saw tickets were available. The next day we all met up and booked tickets and accommodations and flights.”

They wanted to buy official Europe gear but didn’t have enough time to wait for the shipping. So the friends improvised by buying blue suits and ironing on yellow stars and the Team Europe crest.

“Europeans, there’s not many of us,” Kelly said. “There’s a lot of Irish jerseys. You can kind of spot everybody and group together.”

Contact Ben Steele at (414) 224-2676 or bmsteele@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenSteeleMJS or Instagram at @bensteele_mjs

Source : Golf Week More   

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