The United States holds a 10-6 lead after Day 2 of the Ryder Cup and only needs 4.5 points to wrest the Cup away from Europe. But before Davis Love III even thinks about putting the champagne on ice, his squad has a little bit of business to attend to on Sunday.
On Saturday evening, Love and European captain Jose Maria Olazabal released their pairings for Sunday's singles session and, as you'd expect on the final day of the biennial competition, there are some intriguing pairings to keep an eye on. Here's a rundown of all 12 matches.
Match 17: Bubba Watson vs. Luke Donald (12:03 p.m. EST) — Jose Maria Olazabal front-loaded his team -- the U.S. did the exact same thing when they staged the greatest comeback in Ryder Cup history back in 1999 -- in the hopes of picking up a couple points early and gaining some much-needed momentum. Luke Donald is a great leadoff for the Europeans, and you know he'll be dying to make amends for his poor play this week. Bubba Watson went 2-1 over the first two days but never really made any noise on Saturday. Donald, on the other hand, found something over his final few holes -- including a dagger tee shot on the 17th that helped Europe pick up a crucial point. We'll see if that ends up being the difference.
Match 18: Webb Simpson vs. Ian Poulter (12:14 p.m.) — Both Poulter and Simpson have been on this week. Poulter kept Europe's Ryder Cup hopes alive with a birdie barrage on Saturday afternoon, and Webb Simpson recorded seven birdies in a 5&4 fourball drubbing. This match could go distance the way both are playing.
Match 19: Keegan Bradley vs. Rory McIlroy (12:25 p.m.) — Send the wife and kid to the mall, because you'll want to give this match your undivided attention. Bradley has without a doubt been the hottest player on the U.S. squad and currently sports a spotless 3-0 record as a rookie. And McIlroy? He's only the top-ranked golfer on the planet. So yeah, there's a little riding on this match.
Match 20: Phil Mickelson vs. Justin Rose (12:36 p.m.) — Mickelson went 3-0 with Bradley this week, but it'll be interesting to see how he fares when his spark plug isn't there to give him a pep talk or an emotional boost. Rose went 2-2 in four matches and has a 1-1 singles record in his Ryder Cup career. He's made some big putts this week and will likely have to do it again if he wants to be Mickelson.
Match 21: Brandt Snedeker vs. Paul Lawrie (12:47 p.m.) — This has all the makings of a rout. Snedeker hasn't made a Keegan Bradley-sized mark on the Ryder Cup this week, but he's still the best putter in the game and happens to be going up against the oldest member on the European squad. Nothing against Lawrie but he's done nothing this week to make me believe he'll stage a big upset. Snedeker, on the other hand, played well in a 1-up win over McIlroy and McDowell on Saturday morning. This one won't even be close.
Match 22: Dustin Johnson vs. Nicolas Colsaerts (12:58 p.m.) — Two of the longest hitters in the competition will go head to head in what could end up being a glorified long drive contest. Expect a close match -- and lots of birdies -- from two in-form golfers.
Match 23: Zach Johnson vs. Graeme McDowell (1:09 p.m.) — McDowell was Europe's anchor back in 2010, but his poor play this week forced Olazabal to slot him in the middle of the lineup. He hasn't made a putt of note and has struggled with his approach shots. He's facing Zach Johnson who went 2-1 over the first two days and is silly-consistent from tee to green.
Match 24: Jim Furyk vs. Sergio Garcia (1:20 p.m.) — Two of the biggest underachievers in the 39th Ryder Cup face off in a match that could go either way. It honestly depends on who shows up to the first tee. If both are on their game, this could be a decent match, but if both struggle ... well let's just say it may be a good thing that there are 11 other matches out on the course.
Match 25: Jason Dufner vs. Peter Hanson (12:31 p.m.) — Two of the coolest customers at the Ryder Cup will go head-to-head in a battle to see who can produce the most subdued celebration. Dufner rarely cracked a smile this week, but he certainly produced, going 2-1 in his first Ryder Cup. Hanson made only one start and lost 5&4. Needless to say, he has something to prove on Sunday.
Match 26: Matt Kuchar vs. Lee Westwood (1:42 p.m.) — Another match that could go either way, this one will likely come down to Lee Westwood's game. With the exception of maybe Martin Kaymer, no one on the European squad has looked worse than the Englishman. Kuchar is 2-0 and has been his usual, consistent self this week.
Match 27: Steve Stricker vs. Martin Kaymer (1:53 p.m.) — Another pair of underachievers, Stricker and Kaymer went a collective 0-4 over the first two days. Let's just say there's a reason Love and Olazabal put these guys at the back of the pack.
Match 28: Tiger Woods vs. Francesco Molinari (2:04 p.m.) — For the second time in two years, Woods and Molinari will face off on Sunday. Woods defeated the Italian 4&3 the last time around and looks to be a good pick to do it again. He's 4-1-1 in singles and produced an impressive back-nine performance with four birdies in his last six holes on Saturday afternoon. While having Woods as the anchor makes sense, you have to wonder what Love was thinking when he decided to send the 14-time major winner off last. The Ryder Cup could be done and dusted as Woods is making the turn. Is he the last line of defense or did his struggles this week force Love to slot him at the end? Draw your own conclusions.
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