MEDINAH, Ill. – Tiger Woods played so poorly losing his first match, Davis Love III might have been tempted to sit him down Friday afternoon in the Ryder Cup.
The way his day ended encircled by thousands of fans in the dusk at Medinah Country Club, Woods might have wished Love had.
A 12-footer that scraped the left edge of the cup on the final hole left Woods bent over in agony, a big loser again on the first day of the Ryder Cup. With it, a European team beaten badly in every other afternoon match suddenly had some hope for the weekend.
And Love was left with another decision: Should he sit Woods down for the alternate-shot matches today for the first time in any Ryder Cup he has played?
The U.S. captain did, meaning Woods will be nothing more than a cheerleader in the morning matches. But Love said it was a decision long in the making, not one based on the results of the first day.
“We just don’t want guys to be worn out,” Love said. “We need Tiger and Steve (Stricker) in the afternoon (today) and on Sunday.”
It goes down in the books as two losses in two matches for Woods and playing partner Stricker. But the difference in the two rounds was night and day.
His morning foursomes match featured more wildness than a kids’ birthday party, with sprayed tee shots – including one that drew blood from a gallery member — and missed short putts. “I didn’t hit it well warming up, and it carried into my play,” Woods said. “(Swing coach) Sean (Foley) and I talked about my swing at basically halftime. We made a few adjustments. I really hit it well this afternoon.”
He went out and made seven birdies with no bogeys in better ball, but for the fourth time in seven Ryder Cups for Woods he left the course on the first day without a point to show for it. His Ryder Cup record dropped to 13-16-2.
SERGIO’S FIRST LOSS
Sergio Garcia lost his match and his unbeaten streak.
The Spaniard brought an 8-0-1 mark in foursomes into Friday morning’s match against Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson, and he and partner Luke Donald were 4-0 when paired together. But the Europeans fell, 4 and 3, losing control of the match on the ninth hole when Donald’s birdie putt lipped out. They fell behind when another putt lipped out on 12, giving them their first bogey of the day, and the Americans won four straight holes to clinch the match.
MY BAD, I THINK
Jim Furyk wasn’t quite sure what he did. Whatever it was, he knew he wasn’t supposed to do it.
Furyk was given a one-stroke penalty on the 10th hole after reporting himself for a rules infraction during his and Brandt Snedeker’s foursomes match against Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell, Europe’s top team. Furyk was taking a practice swing on the team’s third shot, and the ball moved ever so slightly.
“I don’t remember what I did, but I think I grounded my club and I at least hovered on the grass,” Furyk said. “It may or may not have changed the competition.”
The Americans bogeyed the hole to go 2 down in the match, and dropped the next hole, too. McIlroy and McDowell eventually won the match, 1 up.