Sunday, October 17, 2021

US still atop Ryder Cup standings after dominating Europeans

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Following their sixth consecutive victory over Europe this week, the United States golf team has landed back atop the Ryder Cup standings with the series moving into its final day.

USA’s Zach Johnson won the morning foursomes on the 18th hole against Francesco Molinari, and Jim Furyk and Phil Mickelson tied Keegan Bradley and Brooks Koepka on the first.

The men’s side has not tasted defeat in the biennial competition in the past 13 years, including 11 straight wins.

Phil Mickelson, who was already guaranteed a spot on the team after the win in Boston, needed only a top-10 finish this week to secure his place on the team for a 23rd consecutive edition of the Ryder Cup.

Mickelson had his focus on the greater goal, but acknowledged his accomplishment.

“I took a lot of pride in breaking the records I had broken throughout my career,” Mickelson said. “But I also know how tough it is to get out here.

“It takes an incredible amount of hard work and dedication to do this. The men and women that sit out every year, those 15 gentlemen that took that drop for us, that’s the class of U.S. Golf, and we’re incredibly fortunate to have them as members of our team. So with all of that being said, good job to those guys.”

The American team was staggering at the end of Friday morning’s foursomes session, trailing the European side in the match, and there wasn’t much hope that they would be able to catch up over the next foursomes and fourball matches.

With just one round to go in the Ryder Cup, the United States is 8-2 up after winning two of the opening three matches on the Saturday afternoon session. Europe is now 6-3 in the competition.

United States captain Jim Furyk said the squad is “definitely” feeling the pressure, but that players are up for the task.

“You put yourself in that position and you’re very lucky to have the opportunity to lead a team in that circumstance and a final day like this,” Furyk said. “I don’t think you think about pressure, but obviously on the back nine tomorrow, that’s when you start to realize the pressure is a little higher than what you know from the end of an 18-hole team play match.”

Tiger Woods and Patrick Reed closed out their match against Phil Mickelson and Tommy Fleetwood, extending the United States lead to 10-6.

Woods and Reed had seen great play from Europe’s challengers on the third hole in the afternoon session before playing their match, but Tiger won the 2016 Ryder Cup match against Mickelson 2-and-1.

The the final five matches will be completed on Saturday afternoon, with Europe needing to win all five matches.

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