Here’s your quick and subjective guide to which captain is giving his team the edge at the 2014 Ryder Cup.
BEST USE OF HEAVY HITTERS: There’s not a whole lot captains can do to help their team win beyond fielding the best lineup. That’s exactly what European leader Paul McGinley did. He tinkered just enough around the edges to keep his team’s Friday momentum going into Saturday. McGinley’s best move was resting Sergio Garcia in the morning session while Ian Poulter teamed with Rory McIlroy. Those two got a valuable half point against Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker thanks to Poulter’s stirring chip-in on No. 15 and a birdie putt on 16. A rested Sergio rejoined McIlroy in the afternoon for a 3 and 2 win over Jim Furyk and Hunter Mahan. Tom Watson gets props for having the stones to sit Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley all day. Better late than never, Captain.
EDGE: Paul McGinley
BIGGEST SURPRISE MOVE: Hey, it’s Jim Furyk! Watson teamed Furyk and Hunter Mahan in the morning fourball. Mahan and Furyk, the top-ranked American at the Ryder Cup, responded with a 4 and 3 victory over Jamie Donaldson and Lee Westwood. That improved Furyk’s career fourball record to 2-8-1 and gave the Yanks hopes, briefly, of making this a competitive Ryder Cup. That didn’t last as Europe’s dominance in the afternoon foursomes stretched a one-point lead to 10-6 at the end Day 2. McGinley didn’t pull any rabbits out of his hat -– he didn’t need to.
THE VERDICT: McGinley has positioned his team for victory with the skilled hand of a veteran orchestra conductor. He’s rarely made a wrong move and put together two seemingly unbeatable combinations in Justin Rose/Henrik Stenson and Graeme McDowell/Victor Dubuisson. He’s only four points away from retaining the Ryder Cup while Watson and Team USA have to hope for a Sunday miracle. The needle is pointing strongly in McGinley’s favor and is going to stay there unless something incredible happens in the singles matches.
EDGE: Paul McGinley