Saturday, September 23, 2006

Without Hope What Is There?

It would be easy to bury the American Ryder Cup team right now and a lot of people probably are.
They're down 10-6 entering the Sunday singles and they've looked dull. Not disinterested, just dull.
Too many putts have burned the edges, too many chances have been wasted, too many things haven't happened.
Golf, like any other sport, is often built on momentum. It's huge in the Ryder Cup and the Americans have never, not for a second, had it.
Their only hope is to grab it Sunday and never let go -- and that may not be enough.
It's easy to point to the American failures so far. Phil Mickelson has done nothing. Chris DiMarco has done nothing. Four matches for Phil, three for DiMarco, no wins.
Tiger hasn't been too much better. He was flat Friday and lousy Saturday morning but he and Jim Furyk kept alive the Americans' slender hopes by winning the last point on Saturday.
Has Tom Lehman made all the right moves?
He should have played J.J. Henry more than he did the first two days and he should have put Phil Mickelson on the bench Saturday afternoon when it was obvious the left-hander didn't have it. Maybe he should have played Vaughn Taylor earlier, too.
Ian Woosnam looks brilliant because everything is working. That's what happens when more putts fall than for the Americans.
I expect the Americans to make a game of it Sunday. That doesn't mean they're going to win -- the Europeans are too good and too deep -- but the U.S. may give them a scare.
David Toms is a good match against Colin Montgomerie.
Sergio Garcia may be too much for Stewart Cink but Sergio's record on Sunday's playing by himself isn't too good these days.
The Jim Furyk-Paul Casey match could swing the early matches. Two terrific players going head to head.
Tiger beats Robert Karlsson then it gets tricky. But if the Americans can get up big on most of the early matches, something unexpected could happen.
When Woosnam was asked Saturday night if he was worried things could go all wrong for his team on Sunday, Woosie said, "Yes."
They probably won't. Four points is huge when the Americans need 8 1/2 to win the cup.
But it could happen.