With the Europeans jumping all over the Americans in the afternoon session for the second straight day at the 2014 Ryder Cup, it’s tempting to just list the Euros as the studs and the Yankees as the duds. But that’s too harsh.
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There are a couple bright spots within the U.S.’s six points, and a few lowlights among Europe’s 10 points. Here is a look at the studs and duds from Saturday at Gleneagles:
The MVP for Europe through two days is clearly Rose, who’s competed in all four sessions and has yet to lose. After leading the way Friday with Henrik Stenson by grabbing two victories, Rose and Stenson took out Bubba Watson and Matt Kuchar in a classic four-ball match Saturday morning. Stenson got an afternoon rest, but Rose went out again – this time with Martin Kaymer – against the top U.S. pair, Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed. The Americans led for the majority, but they left a door open, and Rose stole another half point when he sank a pressure-packed putt on 18 to halve the match.
Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed
The youngest Ryder Cup pairing ever consists of the only Americans yet to lose a match. Spieth (21) and Reed (24) cruised in their Friday morning four-ball match, 5 and 4 over Ian Poulter and Stephen Gallacher, were left on the bench Friday afternoon, but then came back Saturday morning to take out Thomas Bjorn and Martin Kaymer, 5 and 3. Captain Tom Watson wouldn’t make the same mistake twice, so the youngsters teed it up in Saturday’s afternoon foursomes, and they should have walked away with another point. Reed missed a two-foot putt to win the hole at No. 16 when the match with Rose and Kaymer was all square, and that’s how it ended. Still, Spieth and Reed have taken 2.5 points in three matches, while the rest of the U.S. has posted 3.5 points in 13 matches.
Like Rose, the world’s No. 1 player has played every single session. McIlroy and Sergio Garcia weren’t as dominating as expected Friday, so European captain Paul McGinley paired McIlroy with Poulter for the Saturday morning four-balls. McIlroy carded three birdies in four holes to put the Euros 2-up on Jimmy Walker and Rickie Fowler at the turn, but they lost the lead and were only able to salvage a half point after Poulter came alive late. McIlroy finally notched his first win when Garcia joined him again in the afternoon, when they lost only one hole to Jim Furyk and Hunter Mahan and took the match, 3 and 2.
Among the most consistently good golfers in the world, Kuchar has only consistently lost at Gleneagles. Maybe he only fares well when paired with Tiger Woods, which was the case last year at the Presidents Cup, because Kuch has faltered with three different guys at the Ryder Cup. He and Bubba Watson couldn’t stop a hot Justin Rose on Saturday morning, and Kuchar lost the first four-balls match of his Ryder Cup career. In the afternoon, Kuchar teamed with Zach Johnson and neither played that poorly, but they let Jamie Donaldson and Lee Westwood walk with the point.
Thomas Bjorn and Martin Kaymer
It’s slim pickings for European duds, but neither Bjorn nor Kaymer has won a match yet. They teamed up Friday morning and halved their match with Fowler and Walker, and went out again together Saturday morning, dropping their match to Spieth and Reed, 5 and 3. That’s been Bjorn’s only action. Kaymer returned Saturday afternoon with Rose to face Spieth and Reed again, and the Euros managed a split, but still no wins for Kaymer, the reigning U.S. Open champ.
Jimmy Walker and Rickie Fowler
Walker is the third rookie suiting up for the U.S., and like his fellow first-timers, he was playing well – until Saturday afternoon. Walker and Fowler are the only pair to appear in all four sessions together, and they had neither won nor lost entering Saturday’s second session. But that’s when the strong duo lost its strength. The Americans chunked shots and missed makeable putts, allowing Victor Dubuisson and Graeme McDowell to storm to a 5-up lead at the turn. Walker and Fowler won their first hole at No. 11, but dropped that point at 13, and it was all over after 14.
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