Crushing foursomes sweep puts Europe 5-3 ahead

Brenda Watkins
September 29, 2018

And Europe's lead was up to 8-3 by the time the next foursomes pairings were named, as the hosts recorded wins in each of the first three fourball matches Saturday.

Golf Is A Mind Game created a tale-of-the-tape infographic breaking down each team's stats this season. Team USA's players averaged more birdies per round and fewer putts per round than their European counterparts - but Team Europe is markedly more accurate off the tee.

But it was not just the points tally that will have sent European captain Thomas Bjorn off to dinner on a high, but the crushing nature of the victories as the home team dealt much better with the strong wind that developed through the afternoon as numerous big name Americans fell apart.

Leading the field coming into the final day this morning, Woods got off to a flier with a birdie on the first hole, aided by competitors Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy dropping shots.

After sinking the putt, McIlroy turned to the crowd and screamed: 'Who can't putt? "Now that we as a group - Tiger, myself, Furyk and (assistant Steve) Stricker - we've been part of the winning side on the Presidents Cup, we've been on the losing side on the Ryder Cup. we know exactly what the difference is and now that we have involvement we're going to fix it".

There have been two memorable comebacks from a 10-6 deficit.

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"There's a lot of matches to be played, " Woods said.

The previous time Phil Mickelson was forced to take a Ryder Cup day off he sent texts begging for a second chance before undermining his captain in front of the world's press.

Woods' last tournament victory came at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational back in 2013, before a run of both poor form and injury bought his dominance to a crashing halt.

Finau's birdie on the par-three 16th narrowed it to one but Garcia nailed his putt on the 17th. Tommy Fleetwood has kicked it into another gear this morning, so a 4-0 sweep is out of the picture.

Early on in the session they were the only U.S. duo with a lead, only for Thomas to push a short putt right on the fifth to bring their match level too. The Americans have never made up that much ground away from home, though they were the first to win after trailing 10-6 at Brookline in 1999, when they frontloaded the Sunday lineup with their biggest stars.

Europe will begin the singles as strong favourites, but their opponents will at least feel they have some momentum after responding to a stunning streak of eight points in succession for Thomas Bjorn's side across Friday and Saturday.

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