By Gary Van Sickle
Sunday, September 21, 2008

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — All you need to know is that the Americans are 5 1/2 points away from winning their first Ryder Cup since 1999. The Europeans are 7 1/2 points away from winning their fourth in a row, but they only need 7 points to retain the Cup.

\nIt'll all come down to the 12 singles matches, as usual. Here are my inevitably wrong choices:

\n12:03 p.m. Anthony Kim vs. Sergio Garcia
Somebody asked me before the Ryder Cup what my dream singles match would be. This was it — America's hottest, most emotional young gun against Europe's hottest, most emotional young gun. If we're lucky, it could be the start of a beautiful rivalry. Garcia didn't play his best this week. Neither did Kim. Even though he's 1-3 in singles, Garcia finds a way.
The pick: Europe

12:14 p.m. Hunter Mahan vs. Paul Casey
Mahan is the Americans' most valuable player this week, and Casey went winless and was benched twice.
The pick: United States

12:25 p.m. Justin Leonard vs. Robert Karlsson
Leonard was another star for the U.S. team and got Saturday afternoon off to rest. Karlsson struggled early but caught fire in four-ball play. Fresh and rested, Leonard has the edge.
The pick: United States

12:36 p.m. Phil Mickelson vs Justin Rose
Lefty looked alternately terrific and terrible. His closing four-ball performance was clutch, though, while Rose didn't really impress. Mickelson finishes off a match play star turn, finally.
The pick: United States

\n12:47 p.m. Kenny Perry vs. Henrik Stenson
This is supposed to be a moment of destiny for Kentucky's favorite son. Of course, he was supposed to win the '96 PGA here, too, but lost in a playoff. This time the home crowd will carry him to a close win.
The pick: United States

\n12:58 p.m. Boo Weekley vs. Oliver Wilson
Wilson is supposed to be the scared rookie in comparison to Weekley, the crowd favorite and a superlative shotmaker. Wilson's terrific short game gives him the edge.
The pick: Europe

\n1:09 p.m. J.B. Holmes vs. Soren Hansen
Holmes survived a slew of questionable shot selections and strategy choices and did what Azinger wanted him to do — overpower the golf course. Hansen is a consummate ballstriker, however, who has showed off a solid short game. Hansen isn't going to beat himself, but Holmes could self destruct.
The pick: Europe

\n1:20 p.m. Jim Furyk vs. Miguel Angel Jimenez
Two of the toughest, grittiest players square off. You've gotta love Jimenez, with his stogies and the wooden staff he leaned on while spectating late Saturday. You've gotta love Furyk's sneer when he holed a big putt.
The pick: United States

1:31 p.m. Stewart Cink vs. Graeme McDowell
Cink's game looked ragged at times this week, as did his putting. McDowell came alive with clutch shots on Saturday and has future star written all over him. McDowell has a hotter hand.
The pick: Europe

1:42 p.m. Steve Stricker vs. Ian Poulter
It's Match 10, perhaps the game that puts one team over the top. Wow. Poulter's play over two days makes him the obvious choice, but can any player rebound after two days and four matches that intense? Poulter faces an unavoidable letdown.
The pick: United States

1:53 p.m. Ben Curtis vs. Lee Westwood
Curtis didn't pack his A-game this week, but he can scramble with anyone and will be a frustrating opponent. Westwood has a big edge in experience.
The pick: Europe

2:04 Chad Campbell vs. Padraig Harrington
It's a bit of a surprise that Azinger handed the unenviable last berth to Campbell, who came through with some clutch shots but struggled with his putting at times. Harrington, Europe's best player, is fighting his swing this week but still putting lights out. Harrington wins it on the greens, just like he won the British Open and the PGA Championship.
The pick: Europe

\nThe final score, then?
United States 15, Europe 13

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