2010 Ryder Cup Live Blog: Monday Singles

FINAL: EUROPE WINS RYDER CUP 14.5-13.5 3:30 If nothing else, the U.S. Ryder Cup team gave it their all, but in the end the 3 point deficit they faced heading into Monday was too much to overcome. A stirring comeback by young rookie Rickie Fowler left the Cup all square with one match left on the course: American Hunter Mahan against reigning U.S. Open Champion Graeme McDowell. Mahan stirred the hopes of the U.S. team by coming within one hole of the Irish veteran with three to play, but McDowell's steady irons and clutch putting were too much for Mahan, who conceded his match, and the Ryder Cup, on the 17th green. Thanks so much for all your great comments, can't wait to see you all again next season. 3:26 No shame for the U.S. team this year. In the end, it wasn't a lack of depth that sank the Americans (as we thought it might), but, instead, inconsistent play at the top in team play (starting with Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson) and some flat-out stellar play from some of the Europeans in singles.

3:25 What an incredible finish. After all those rain delays, all those back and forths, it came down to the 17th hole of the last match. What a performance from Graeme McDowell, who's got to be Team Europe's MVP. Mahan gave him a run for his money, but, in the end, the U.S. Open winner was just too good. 3:20 There's almost no pressre on McDowell now, he's probably just got to get it close enough to 2-putt (which he already is). He knocks it to about 8 feet. "It's not over yet" says Johnny Miller. But Mahan is going to have to hit this one. 3:18 Well...that was interesting. Hunter completely chunks his chip, sending it about 8 feet foward and short of the green. I don't want to call it a choke...but what else can you call it? Feeling terrible for Mahan right now. 3:16 Hunter's drive is dead on target, but it's short of the green, Mahan will have to go right at the pin with his chip to try to win this hole. 3:14 McDowell has the honors and stripes his iron shot right, and rolls, rolls...and just barely hangs on to the fringe, avoiding the greenside bunker that has ruined several rounds today. A nice stroke of skill and luck for McDowell. 3:12 Something worth noting as the final pairing makes its way to 17: Harrington wasn't the absolute disaster that I predicted he'd be, but he was close. He won two points this weekend, largely on the back of Ross Fisher, who played some great golf. If somehow Mahan comes back and wins this thing for the U.S., Monty is going to be feeling the heat for not taking Paul Casey. Frankly, he should be taking the heat regardless. 3:10 McDowell takes another long look, something that's helped him the last couple holes. And it does again. He just barely drops his putt into the right side of the cup, a dagger in the side of the U.S. team. McDowell has now extended his lead back to 2-up with 2 to play. Ice water in his veins. 3:08 Hunter chips on nicely, leaving himself a tricky little 7-8 footer but putting a bit of pressure on McDowell to get it close. Remember, now all Mahan has to do is tie it up to maintain the Cup. That's a lot easier than trying to make up two holes. 3:06 in the meantime, Zach Johnson squares the match by beating Padraig Harrington 3 and 2. We're all square with one match out there! 3:05 McDowell turns his huge drive into a 15 foot putt, he's pumping up the crowd and feeling very good. This guy doesn't know what it's like to be nervous. 3:04 Mahan slugs his ball out of the rough just in front of the green on 16. 3:02 WOW! Rickie Fowler follows a great Molinari lag with a gorgeous birdie putt. Fowler nabs 4 straight birdies to overcome a 4-down back-nine deficit. This bodes well for the U.S., not just this year, but in the years to come--this kid can play! 3:00 McDowell looks to make that point moot. He drills his tee shot down the middle of 16 while Mahan is in the deep rough. 2:58 Molinari obviously thought the same thing: He skies his approach and lands it well past the hole. Fowler can halve the match either by sinking his putt or hoping that Molinari three-putts (very doable considering the amount of real estate the Italian has left). 2:57 Fowler puts one past the hole and spins it to about 20 feet on 18. That'll put the pressure on Molinari to at least stick the green. 2:55 And he does! He's got 3 holes to make up either the 1 hole deficit (if Rory can get a half) or 2 for the outright win. There's still some hope out there for the U.S. 2:54 After stalking the putt for a couple minutes, McDowell drains a 12-footer to keep the pressure on Mahan, who absolutely must make his putt to swing the momentum in his favor. 2:52 McDowell has silenced the crowd (and not in the good way), his next chip goes way past the hole, so he's going to be away for the third straight shot. Mahan should have no trouble picking the hole and making things crazy tight. 2:51 I'm going to take credit for that one: McDowell completely chunks his shot and doesn't escape the rough. HUGE opportunity for Mahan here. 2:50 Mahan makes a great chip from off the green. that's going to put a lot of pressure on McDowell, who's up high and in the same rough that I saw Dustin Johnson not escape two days ago. 2:48 The big winners from this Cup? USA Network. This has to be their best Monday morning ratings in history. 2:47 Mickelson makes a point to mention the fantastic wives and families of the players here this week. A tribute to his own family, or a shot at Tiger? You'd have to think it's the former, but why did I immediately think of the latter? 2:46 Phil puts his match away. Only one point separates the two teams. If nothing else, this is the most exciting Ryder Cup in years, super tight till the very end. 2:44 Hunter can't catch a break, he plugs just off the green. He's going to have to make a great stroke from there to make birdie. McDowell goes waaay right into an even worse lie. Lots of tough shots to come. 2:42 Which he can't, Johnson is now 3-up with 3 to play. Still in control, but he's going to want to finish this thing off. 15 continues to crush the American side. 2:41 Harrington makes what feels like his first pressure putt all day. Still, Zach Johnson will have a chance to win with a birdie. 2:39 I've been seriously impressed with the level of play this weekend, especially today. After all of the rain delays and pressure packed situations, we've seen a ton of great golf. Not everyone has gone unscathed, though. According to Mike Walker "Monty looks like he's aged five years this week. The perils of micromanagement." From what I can see, Corey Pavin has remained calm and has looked almost relaxed. Maybe too relaxed? I don't think so, but if the U.S. loses you're probably going to hear that question a lot. 2:36 Mahan is looking like the last hope for the U.S., at 2-down with 4 to go. Fowler is 2-down with 2 to play, but he's coming off a win on 16 so he's still got an outside chance to half. 2:33 it's amazing how many pressure 4-footers the Ryder Cup brings out. It's an ulcer waiting to happen. McDowell makes his, and Mahan should as well. 2:31 McDowell isn't going to give Mahan an inch. After a terrible approach, McDowell chips to a kick-in. Does Mahan have a couple hole-outs in him? He might need them. 2:29 Ex-pats and American reporters have been complaining about Sky Sports' coverage all weekend. I can't imagine why...this from Mike Walker:

Ryder Cup Radio takes homer-ism to a whole new level. When Rory flubbed his bunker shot in 18, the announcer said, "If I had a knife I'd stab myself." 2:25 Johnson can't convert, so he'll have to settle for trying to win it on the next hole, still 4-up. 2:24 Quiet domination from Zach Johnson today, as he absolutely took apart Padraig Harrington. He's 4-up with a chance to put it away right now. 2:22 From Golf Magazine's Mike Walker, out on the course in Wales:

Was out at 13 when Tiger hit that 50-foot putt, great scene, he raised his putter with about 10 feet left before it went in and even the Euro fans cheered loudly. Everyone wants the old Tiger back. 2:19 McDowell and Mahan will likely split, keeping him 2 holes back. Time is running back on the young American, but I can't fault Pavin for sending him off last. He's one of the best ball strikers on Tour, and he's got to one this one bad. 2:18 Pavin has been "chewing Rickie Fowler's ear off" and is following him as he tries to make up some ground. He's still 3-down to Eduardo Molinari, who just stuck one on 15, which has turned into the American Waterloo this weekend. 2:16 El Tigre! 7 birdies and an eagle takes Tiger to a 4 and 3 victory. Credit Molinari for keeping it close this long, because Tiger was on a roll--a classic Woods match play performance. 2:15 Hey, remember Phil Mickelson? He's 4-up with 4 to play. Are American fans excited to see him return to form, or fuming that it took him this long to find his putting stroke? 2:13 Overton has to be the MVP of this U.S. team. For a guy who wasn't expected to be a big difference-maker, Overton has been the biggest fighter for the Americans all weekend. What a coming out party for him. Even if he doesn't have an amazing couple of years, he's got captain's pick written all over him for 2012 2:11 And he can't do it! So Overton wins his match 3 and 2 and the U.S. puts another point up on the big board. 2:10 In the meantime, Fisher is having trouble keeping the pressure on Jeff Overton. He already blew a winning putt, now he needs to sink par just to stay in the match. 2:09 Making his move? Hunter gets a hole back at 12. He's now 2-down and trying desperately to build up some momentum. McDowell was absolutely flawless on Sunday at Pebble, so you don't figure nerves to be a problem, but somehow this atmosphere can be even more gut-wrenching than the U.S. you never know. 2:07 Great Tweet from SI's Alan Shipnuck:

Overheard in press room: "Why don't they just put Tiger out alone in fourballs?"
Somebody find out who said that and  sign that guy up as the next U.S. captain. 2:05 Bubba leaves yet another big putt short, and that ends. Jimenez looked incredible out there, sticking a tough bunker lie to about 4 feet and putting it home. The 4 and 3 victory is the Spaniard's first ever singles victory. Yes, Bubba played some shaky golf (especially on the greens), but Jimenez went out and won that one, a great round for him. 2:03 Europe still 3-up in all 3 of the matches it leads. Again, the best shot for the U.S. is Hunter Mahan, if only because he has the most holes left to play (certainly not because of how he's playing, he's missed a couple very makeable putts so far). 2:01 Remember how I said there was no fire left in Francisco Molinari's eyes? Well it's the exact opposite for his brother. The older Molinari has the crazy eyes of a rabid dog, or something even scarier: a rabid Ian Poulter. 1:59 So what are we to make of Tiger's performance this week? Personally, I think it's a sign of what we knew all along: Tiger needs to practice. By missing the Tour Championship, Woods had a chance to work on his game for a full month, something he hasn't done all season, and I think he looks way better for it. Not vintage Tiger, to be sure, but still maybe the best in the world. 1:57 Molinari the younger finally got an opening from Tiger, but he wasn't able to convert. You get the feeling Woods broke his spirit a long time ago. No fire left in the Italian's eyes. 1:54 Pronunciation note from reader Jay:

@ 1:45 - Um, Steve, it IS "Jimeneth." Like this: "Him-EN-eth." Castilian Spanish (as opposed to Latin American Spanish.) Why begrudge a guy for pronouncing it correctly
Great point, Jay, and I shouldn't have hedged my comment like that. What I should have said was, "I don't care how it's actually pronounced, stop saying it like that." When Miller is broadcasting on CSN (the Castilian Sports Network for you uncultured isolationists out there), he can pronounce it however he wants. 1:52 Hunter Mahan makes a huge miscue, lipping out a birdie try and giving McDowell a chance to pull even further ahead, which he does. Well, I guess a lip out is rarely a miscue, but it was a pretty short putt. McDowell now 3-up and the U.S. team officially on life support. 1:49 Bubba can't convert, so Jimeneth will remain 3-up with 4 to play. Elementary. 1:47 Okay, they saved themselves with a solid Dos Equis joke. Touche USA, well played. 1:45 Okay, I didn't want to get into this, but come on Johnny Miller. "Jimeneth"? I don't care whether or not it's right (and I don't really believe it is), but know your audience. I don't know a single human being who doesn't say "Jimenez" in exactly the same way. Don't be that guy! At least this makes Gus Johnson's pronunciation of Mark SanCHEZ's last name tolerable by comparison. 1:43 Tiger is back on the prowl, going 4-up on the younger Molinari with 5 to play. When we look back on this Cup, will we remember the drubbing he and Stricker took yesterday, or just the two great foursomes and the two great singles performances? Honestly, that might depend on what Hunter Mahan can do on the back nine. 1:41 Fisher misses the putt coming back, so he'll actually be 2-down to golf's youngest Baby Boomer. 1:40 Jeff Overton takes his time over a birdie putt but he can't convert. He'll stay at least 1-up though. There are a lot more people in the Overton fan club after this weekend. Okay, maybe somebody started the Overton fan club this weekend. 1:37 Let me spell that out a bit more. Right now Eduardo is 4-up, Jimenez is 3-up and McDowell is 2-up. The rest of the matches are led by Americans. If Mahan can be the anchor on this team and fight back, there's a chance the U.S. could bring home the bacon. 1:35 Hunter Mahan puts home a healthy par put, but Graeme McDowell still leads him 2-up. Considering the Euros only need 2.5 more points, and Eduardo Molinari is 4-up, things are looking grim for the American side. 1:33 With the way Jimenez is manhandling Bubba Watson so far in singles, I'm wondering if Hanson was holding him back in foursomes...or if Overton was holding Bubba's head above water. He's 3-up with 5 to play. 1:31 Luke Donald 2-putts to win that huge 12th point for Europe. His ball striking was great all week, and he's looking to be a mainstay for the European team for the next decade or so. Furyk did a great job just keeping that match close, but in the end he couldn't make the big shot. 1:29 Can't overstate how impressive fan-favorite Rory McIlroy was this Ryder Cup, especially for his age. By comparison, my biggest accomplishment when I was 21 was showing a girl Star Wars for the first time. Now sure, that's a big deal and I'm sure I changed her life forever, but it pales in comparison to what McIlroy has done in Wales this weekend. It's like he's shown Star Wars to an entire CONTINENT for the first time! 1:27 Furyk is doing his darnedest to keep up with Luke Donald, but he got too aggressive on 18 (he had to, being 1-down) and rolls into the same bunker Rory was just in. Looks like the Euros are about to pick up another point. 1:25 The other Molinari is fairing beet, 3-up. But the big mover right now is Jeff Overton, who's come back to take a 1-up led with 5 to play. What a Cup for Overton. 1:24 Eagle beagle! Tiger is now officially taking apart F. Molinari after a blind hole-out. When Tiger found out he sank it, he playfully threw his putter back to Stevie, saying "I don't need that." Oh you two! Tiger's 3-up in that match. 1:22 Hear the roar! McIlroy comes up big to get the half. He's not celebrating too hard though, the crowd favorite knows he got away with one there on 18. Still, a fantastic first Ryder Cup for Rory. 1:20 Rory's next shot from the bunker is much more successful, but Cink will still have a putt to win this match. 1:18 McIlroy takes a healthy cut from the bunker but was waaay too clever for his own good. The ball goes up on the green...and then promptly rolls back into the bunker. Now he's got to really get aggressive. to try to put some pressure on Cink, who's got about 10-12 feet from the hole. 1:16 Things have gotten progressively better for the U.S., but with such a steep hill to climb you wonder if it's going to make those matches yesterday seem like an even bigger missed opportunity. 1:14 Donald can't put Furyk away, but he'll go to 18 1-up. Both he and Furyk had birdie putts to make something happen, but neither could get it done on 17. 1:13 McIlroy goes all out, going over the green on 18 but landing it in the deepest part of the greenside bunker. He's going to have a lot of trouble getting up and down from there. 1:12 Cink lays up nicely on 18, a good pitch in will give him a chance to at least get a solid half with Rory. 1:10 Eduardo is pulling away from Rickie Fowler, he's won to of the last three holes to go 2-up. 1:08 Who is this imposter and what has he done with old, decrepit Miguel Angel Jimenez? He's up 3 holes through 10 and has the smile and swagger of a pirate...ok, maybe he always looks like a pirate. 1:06 Luke Donald is hearing footsteps as Jim Furyk has pulled to within one hole with two to play. Even a half here would be a hge accomplishment considering Furyk has trailed all day. 1:04 The flogging of the day belongs to Ian Poulter, who beats Kuchar 5 and 4. He was 7-under through 14, so if I were him I'd ask Monty if I could keep playing by myself to take a run at the course record. 1:02 Oh Stewie! Cink misses a short (but tricky) opportunity to take the lead against young Rory. Instead the two will head to 18 all knotted up. 1:00 Ian Poulter is playing an unbelievable round, 6 under with a birdie putt on 14. He's one of those guys who just flat out play better in the Ryder Cup. Maybe they don't miss Sergio as much as we thought they would. 12:58 Cink and McIlroy are all square at the 17th, great to see these two coming down to the wire. Since we didn't get the Rory/Tiger matchup we wanted, this is a nice consolation, especially after that Cink freeze-job a couple days ago. 12:55 Tiger has finally taken the lead over Molinari, 1-up through 10. Not bad considering he lost the first two holes. 12:54 There's something horribly disconcerting about Ian Poulter's celebration...he looks like some sort of sick bird. Anyhow, he's still 4-up so I guess he can celebrate however he wants. 12:52 It's great to have those points, but things are grim for the U.S. on the course. Of they 6 matches that Europe leads, they lead by 2-up or more in 4 of them. 12:50 Stricker seals the deal with a 2 and 1 win on 17. Great Ryder Cup from Strick, and the first two points on the board today belong to the U.S. 12:48 Martin Kaymer just cannot find his stroke, and he'll cede to Dustin Johnson who wins the match 6 and 4. I'm sure that makes up for not winning the PGA Championship. 12:45 Luke Donald is doing his "my son John" impression, with one foot in the drink on 15, where the Euros have dominated this weekend. It's an absurd lie and awkward as humanly naturally he runs it just past the hole where it sits inside 10 feet. That man can work a wedge. 12:44 The action is starting to slow a bit, and it'll probably continue to calm down as some of the pairings finish their rounds. It's been non stop action so far today. 12:42 Westwood pelts the crowd with his drive on 17. He's going to need a miracle to stay alive in this matchup. 12:40 MATCH UPDATE: Things getting rougher for the U.S., the Euros now lead 7 matches and the Americans 4. Just one match all square at the moment. 12:39 Some less than stellar putting has left Cink all-sqare with young Rory. Furyk is sticking to Luke Donald, but still 2-down with 4 to go. 12:38 Stricker missed his birdie putt and Westwood saved par, so they'll move on to 17 with Strick up 2 holes. 12:36 Jeff Overton continues his great putting with a birdie to pull within one hole of Ross Fisher. Meanwhile, DJ is dominating, moving to 5-up with 5 to play. It would take a huge choke job for Johnson to lose this lead. And as we know, Dustin Johnson never chokes. Never. 12:36 Stricker has a chance to put Westwood away on 16, that would be a big coup for the U.S. 12:34 From reader George Spinks:

I have a feeling like Ben Crenshaw had in 1999......the USA will win.
Love the condfidence, George, but I have a feeling like Ben Crenshaw had after eating some bad shellfish in 1987. 12:32 Jimenez is showing some of his old form, another birdie will let him make the turn with a 2-up lead. He's holding his chest high with pride...well, I think that's pride. 12:30 Speaking of 4-up leads, Poulter leads Kuchar by that number through 11 after a sweet hole-out. He was about to say "Boom Baby!" but Jeff Overton's agent came running over with an injunction. 12:29 Rory McIlroy's eating a sandwhich with Cink on the 15th tee...quickly. Chew your food, son, you're going to choke! 12:28 Dustin Johnson is putting the hurt on Matin Kaymer--he's 4-up and doesn't show any signs of slowing down. 12:26 Mahan lips out, missing an opportunity to pull within one shot of McDowell. He's still 2-down after 5. 12:25 Keep the comments coming. This blog isn't just live, it's ALIVE, and it feeds on your comments. As a side note, I'm currently feeding on granola, tortilla chips and Diet Dr. Pepper. Breakfast of champions. 12:24 Speaking of resurgence, Steve Striker just sank a monster eagle putt to move 2-up on Lee Westwood. Not withstanding yesterday's beatdown, Stricker's had a great Ryder Cup, proving this tournament isn't all about nerves and's also about great golfers. 12:23 Peter Hanson will not go quietly into that good mid-day. He sinks a birdie to move to 2-down against the finally permorming Phil Mickelson. 12:21 MATCH TOTAL UPDATE: Europe leads 6 so far, with the U.S. up in 4. The other 2 are all square and very few are out of reach. Still plenty of golf left to be played. 12:19 If things get tight, it could be the matchup of Harrington and Zach Johnson that swings it one way or the other. Paddy just grabbed one hole back to square it up. 12:15 Jimenez gamely chips one from the rough at 8, giving him a 1-up lead on Bubba Watson. Luke Donald pulls 3 up on Jim Furyk. That momentum we were talking about before? It's slipping away. 12:13 Johnny Miller credits F. Molinari for "Hanging in there with Tiger Woods," which is a nice way of saying "Holy crap, Molinari's beating Tiger Woods!" The Italian is 1-up through 7. 12:11 As Mike mentioned earlier, Tiger refers to his erstwhile partner simply as "Strick," presumably because "The guy who single-handedly saved my Ryder Cup reputation" is a little long for a nickname. 12:10 Steve Stricker is still struggling with the speed of these greens, leaving yet another birdie putt short on the 14th. Westwood saves par himself, keeping Stricker 1-up in the premier matchup of the day. 12:08 Match total update: Europe leads 5, the U.S. leads 5 and 2 matches are still all square. That's actually a big improvement over where the Americans stood just 15 minutes ago, so things are moving in the right direction. 12:06 Hey there folks, Steve Beslow here to take you through the middle portions of today's rounds. 12:02 a.m. The morning has belonged to the Europeans so far, but I'm feeling a momentum shift. There's a good momentum shift in the Live Blog as Golf Magazine's Steve Beslow is ready to take over. Thanks for reading. See you later. 12:01 a.m. "Boom, Baby!" The only American to display emotion at this Ryder Cup, Jeff Overtson sticks his approach close on 8. He's two-down to Ross Fisher. That will change soon. 12:00 a.m. Tiger remembers that he's Tiger. Makes birdie on 6, now just 1-down to Francesco Molinari. 10:58 a.m. Rickie Folwer makes birdie on 5 to square his match with Edoardo Molinari. Somewhere at Celtic Manor, Colin Montgomerie in on the two-way radio with one of his 18 or so assistant captains. "Sergio, we need a fist pump on 11!" 10:56 a.m. Cink and McIlroy all square. These matches are tightening up. 10:54 a.m. Stricker wins the par-3 10th with a par and for the first time Team USA leads the first march. 10:52 a.m. Rory McIlroy makes a ridiculous approach on 12 which spins to inside 12 inches. Nobody gets this crowd going like Rory. 10:50 a.m. Martin Kaymer gets one back from Dustin Johnson with birdie on 9. Johnson still leads by one but he hasn't made a birdie all day. 10:49 a.m. Francesco Molinari makes another birdie to go 2-up on Tiger Woods. If Tiger continues playing poorly, how long before we stop being interested in him? I'm guessing 2019. 10:48 a.m. Harrington comes back with a birdie on 3. Zach Johnson still leads by 1. 10:44 a.m. Stricks, as Tiger calls him, squares his match with Lee Westwood on No. 12. This is getting interesting. 10:41 a.m. Zach Johnson all over Padraig Harrington early, leads by 2 after 2. 10:39 a.m. Mickelson is making this look easy. 3 up after 3 on Peter Hanson. Furyk finally wins a hole against Luke Donald to get to 2-down and Stricker hits in close on 12. Things look better for Team USA than the scoreboard indicates. 10:37 a.m. Jiminez makes his par putt. Europe leads in eight (gulp!) matches. 10:35 a.m. Bubba Watson makes a great escape from the water around the fifth green but can't make the par save. You'll see a lot of that because in match play it's all or nothing. The Ryder Cup always ruins stroke play for me until at least the next Masters. 10:31 a.m. Edoardo Molinari takes the third against Rickie Fowler. He goes 1-up. 10:29 a.m. Graeme McDowell wins the first hole against Hunter Mahan in the anchor match. I'd bet McDowell is a solid anchor man in drinking games as well. 10:28 a.m. Once of the nice things about golf in Wales: I haven't head "Get in the hole!" all week. Not so lucky on "You da man!" 10:27 a.m. Phil Mickelson is taking care of his end of things so far: 2-up after 2 against the Swede Peter Hanson. 10:26 a.m. Jeff Overton's putt on 5 horseshoes out. Bust, baby! Fisher halves the hole with a bogey and Overton is still 2-down. 10:25 a.m. Jim Furyk can't make any headway against Luke Donald. They've halved the last two holes and Donald is still 3-up through 8. 10:21 a.m. Tiger wakes up on No. 4, makes a nice birdie putt and cuts Francesco Molinari's lead to 1. 10:18 a.m. Zach Johnson wins the first hole against Padraig Harrington with a birdie. Monty put the slow-playing Padraig out second-to-last so we'd finish before dinner time. 10:13 a.m. Sports Illustrated's Gary Van Sickle is concerned: It's still early but this could turn into an ugly blowout in a hurry. 10:08 a.m. Tiger misses a decent chance to win the third hole. Still down 2 to Francesco Molinari after 3. 10:07 a.m. Westwood smoothly rolls in his birdie putt as well top stay 1-up through 9 against Stricker. 10:04 a.m. Watching Stricker line up a birdie putt, I haven't been this tense since I saw Hurt Locker. He makes it though. 10:03 a.m. Phil Mickelson, who hasn't won a Ryder Cup singles match since 1999, makes a birdie to win the first hole against Peter Hanson. 10:02 a.m. editor in chief Charlie Hanger is enjoying the USA Network coverage: This USA broadcast is heavily promoting Friday Night Smackdown. Not your typical golf advertising. So far, this feels like Monday Morning Smackdown. 10:00 a.m. Tiger Woods now down 2 after 2 to Francesco Molinari. 10:59 a.m. Stewart Cink (my Team USA MVP this week) keeps bringing it. He makes birdie on No. 8 to take the lead back against McIlroy. 10:56 a.m. Rickie Fowler makes a double (yikes!) on No. 1. Gift for Edoardo Molinari who wins it with a par. 10:53 a.m. Kaymer plays his ball from the water hazard on 5, with his foot in the water. Barely gets it out. Tough day for Kaymer so far, but he's the only European feeling that way. 10:51 a.m. Bubba Watson gives Team USA some needed good news. He birdies No. 2 to get even against Jiminez. 10:50 a.m. Luke Donald puts the smackdown on Jim Furyk, now 3-up through 6. 10:47 a.m. Phil Mickelson walks to the first tee with all the enthusiasm of someone going to a root canal. 10:45 a.m. Things almost got worse for Team USA, but Rory McIlroy missed a good chance for birdie on 7, and Cink keeps the match all-square. 10:42 a.m. Martin Kaymer gets one back on Dustin Johnson on No. 4. Dustin Johnson still leads but the momentum is going the wrong way for the Americans. 10:40 a.m. Tiger not even close with his putt on one. Johnny Miller calls it "one of the worst putts I've ever seen him hit." Woods makes par, Francesco Molinari makes birdie to go 1 up. 10:35 a.m. Kuchar makes a gutsy par save to stay even with Poulter through 2. Reader Craig Ellis Denson asks: How slow are the greens this morning and how long will it be before it warms up? Looks mighty cold out there.  Faster than any time this week due to the dry weather, which might be a marginal advantage for the Americans who are used to faster greens. However, making putts today has more to do with internal fortitude than speed of the greens.
It's really nice here. Anyone who says it's cold is a wimp. Jeez, golfers are so soft. 10:33 a.m. Miguel Angel Jiminez takes the first hole over Bubba Watson. 10:31 a.m. Dustin Johnson wins the third hole after another bogey by Kaymer. No one's more surprised about this than Johnson. He's 2 up through 3 over Kaymer. 10:30 a.m. Tiger Woods teeing off in what Corey Pavin insisted was the all-important eighth match. That's like getting picked second-to-last in kickball. He's playing Francesco Molinari. 10:28 a.m Westwood misses a short one on 6 which would have given him his third-straight birdie. A gift for Stricker who gagged his shortish chance. Westwood still leads by 1. 10:24 a.m. MATCH TOTAL: USA leads 2; Europe leads 3, All Square 1 10:22 a.m. Stewart Cink's par on 5 is good enough to win the hole after Rory's lost his ball in the water. Cink up 1 and he's won the last three holes. 10:20 a.m. Ross Fisher wins the first hole over Jeff Overton as millions of casual sports fans say, "Who?" 10:17 a.m. Ouch. Boy Wonder McIlroy hits his approach from a bunker into the water on the par-4 fifth. Advantage: Cink. 10:16 a.m. Poulter and Kuchar are even through 1. 10:14 a.m. Westwood wins the fifth hole -- his second in a row -- and he's now 1-up over Steve Stricker. 10:12 a.m. After putting his tee shot in the water on 3, Furyk makes a nice 10-footer that just drops for bogey, but Donald makes his putt and leads the match by 1. 10:09 a.m. Another birdie from Stewart Cink and he's now squared his match with McIlory. Remember Tom Watson at Turnberry? Cink excels in the villain role. 10:08 a.m. Match 5 (Ian Poulter vs. Matt Kuchar) is under way on No. 1. 10:03 a.m. Dustin Johnson wins the first hole, while Donald and Furyk halve the second.
Scoreboard update (USA on left):
Steve Stricker    all square through 4     Lee Westwood
Stewart Cink    1 down through 3    Rory McIlroy
Jim Furyk    all square through 2   Luke Donald
Dustin Johnson    1 up through 1    Martin Kaymer 10:02 a.m. Kaymer can't get out of the bunker with his third shot so Dustin Johnson could win this first hole with a par. 10 a.m. Westwood squares his match with Stricker with a birdie on 4. He is the heavyweight on this Europe team -- we've had no one like him this year. 9:58 a.m. Dustin Johnson on the green while Kaymer misses right. I've been a big fan of Kaymer all year, but he's been a little shaky this weekend, no? I know his record's good but I remember him leaving some important putts short. 9:57 a.m. Dustin Johnson and Martin Kaymer's match is underway. PGA Championship flashback? Remember Dustin, they're all bunkers here. 9:56 a.m. On the par-4 fourth, Stricker misses the green short and left, while Westwood hits approach close. Advantage: Europe. 9:55 a.m. Cink Big! Stewart Cink makes his 6-footer to get within one of McIlroy. 9:52 a.m. Cink hits his tee shot inside Rory on the par-3 third. Rory misses his putt and Cink will have a good chance to get one back. 9:50 a.m. Scoreboard update (USA on left):
Steve Stircker 1 up through 3 Lee Westwood
Stewart Cink 2 down through 2 Rory McIlroy
Jim Furyk all square through 1 Luke Donald 9:46 a.m. Stewart Cink misses a 6-footer and Rory McIlroy wins the hole. After two holes, Rory leads by 2. Somebody get Cink a peanut butter sandwich. That's like Popeye's spinach for him. 9:46 a.m. Furyk and Donald halve the first hole. All square. 9:45 a.m. Stricker rolls his putt close and Westwood concedes the par and the hole. Stricker up 1. 9:42 a.m. Westwood's putt up the slope on No. 3 rolls back down at his feet. 9:39 a.m. On the par-3 third, Sticker plays to the middle of the green, and Westwood's tee shot rolls off the back. Advantage: USA. 9:35 a.m. Stricker has a great chance for a birdie to win the second hole, but it turns away at the last moment. Westwood and Sticker still all square after 2. 9:33 a.m. For all the griping about the Americans uniforms, they look pretty cool today in all black with red hats. But  clothes don't count toward your score or Phil Mickelson wouldn't be No. 2 in the world. 9:31 a.m. At Celtic Manor, there are roars and there are Rory roars! Rory makes his birdie putt on No. 1 and the fans are loud enough to clear the fog. 9:30 a.m Cink with a slick shot from just outside the greenside bunker. He'll make 4, Rory has a chance for a 3 and the hole. 9:28 a.m. Furyk having fun with the crowd on the first tee, laughing and giving it right back the them as they make a "whoosing" sound during his practice swing. He really does seem happier after winning that $10 million. 9:27 a.m. Next on the tee, Luke Donald and Jim Furyk. Euro captain Colin Montgomerie says that the first three matches are the key to the day. 9:25 a.m. Cink is short of the green, but McIlroy sticks his approach to about 10 feet. Advantage: Europe. 9:22 a.m. Both Cink and McIlroy are both in the fairway. The fog won't stop play, says Rules official John Paramor, and will likely burn off soon. After the past three days, they'd play this thing through a hurricane. Everybody just wants to get out of Dodge. 9:20 a.m. Fans around the first tee sing a sing about Rory's hair at Cink's expense. You can't overstate how popular McIlroy is with UK fans. 9:19 a.m. Stewart Cink and Rory McIlroy on the tee. The fog so thick now that neither player can see the landing area. 9:17 a.m. Westwood and Stricker all square after one. 9:14 a.m. Stricker was actually in the bunker, but hits a great escape to a couple feet. Westwood hits his putt to about the same distance. Lee Westwood has been a world-beater this week (2-0-1), but he's returning from injury. Sticker could have a shot at this. 9:10 a.m. Westwood hits his approach to the front edge of the green, and Stricker is short. The morning fog is thick enough to film the Sherlock Holmes sequel this morning, and those guys might have had trouble seeing the pins. 9:08 a.m. Tiger taking putts on the practice green. He's playing in the eighth match versus Francesco Molinari, which will begin at 5:29 a.m. EST. 9:05 a.m. And there off! Steve Sticker and Lee Westwood both hit drives into the fairway. NBC's Johnny Miller says that being down three points the Americans' goal is like eating an elephant, you have to do it one bite at a time. Exactly what I was thinking! 9 a.m. Good morning, America. Welcome to Monday Singles at the Ryder Cup. I'm Mike Walker from Golf Magazine. First match -- Lee Westwood vs. Steve Stricker -- just 2 minutes away. We'll be here following the action all day so join the conversation below.'s Live Blog of the Monday singles will begin with the opening match at 4:05 a.m. EST.

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by Kevin Cunningham