1:08 p.m. Perry’s bunker shot goes long, and Furyk misses the par putt. They concede the hole and halve the match. Sergio escapes with his undefeated in alternate-shot record intact. That’s it for me. Thanks for reading. Check out Alan Bastable’s live blog of the afternoon round. 1:05 p.m. After what felt like an hour, Furyk puts his third shot in the greenside bunker. Westwood overshoots the green, but he’s there in two. 12:57 p.m. USA two points up with one match still out there. Unfortunately, Furyk and Perry have found trouble on 18, while Garcia and Westwood are in the fairway. They’ve been trying to figure out where to drop from a hazard for about 15 minutes. Ugh! Somebody should start playing the Jeopardy! theme. 12:51 p.m. If Camilo Villegas is the Spider-Man, then Poulter is the Worm, reading the 18th green on his belly like he’s looking for a lost contact on the floor of the pub. No matter. Rose misses the putt past Cink’s and Campbell’s ball, then Poulter misses that putt. They concede the match; Team USA wins! 12:46 p.m. Poulter in the bunker on 18 gets out and leaves his BFF Rose a decent-length putt for birdie while Perry misses his chance to seal the match on 17. Sergio from 4 feet to win the hole and we’re on to 18. 12:41 p.m. Rose hits into the greenside bunker on 18; Campbell hits a laser to about 15 feet. Meanwhile, Furyk and Perry are making a mess of 17, setting up possibly more 18th-hole drama. And we have two-and-a-half more days of this! 12:37 p.m. Cink and Poulter both find the fairway on No. 18. If Cink and Campbell win this and Furyk and Perry can hold on, this will be an incredible morning for Team USA. C’mon, British press: Let the Faldo second-guessing begin! 12:33 p.m. Stewart Cink, who is truly the nicest professional athlete you could ever meet, sinks his par putt on 17, and he and Campbell go to 18 all square. 12:30 p.m. Westwood misses his part putt by just a hair, but Furyk can’t take advantage, leaving his partner Perry will one of those really long 4-footers. Perry mans up and sinks it and now Sergio’s team can at best halve this match. 12:16 p.m. Harrington’s birdie putt takes a look in the hole before rolling past. AK makes a gutsy par putt to halve the match and get a half-point. What a comeback! Phil and AK will be going out first this afternoon, and this is clearly the team to watch. Tiger who?
12:11 p.m. Sergio’s tee shot goes in the water on 15. Karlsson’s approach on 18 will give Harrington a makeable putt, and — CHOKE ALERT! — Kim doesn’t get it out, leaving the ball on the slope above the trap. Phil hits it to a few feet for a likely par, but Harrington has that make-able birdie. 12:07 p.m. Harrington tops his bunker shot, but its ends up as a good lay-up in the fairway. I think hit one of those last week. Phil goes for the green and lands in a greenside bunker. 12:01 p.m. Tee shot on 18 in first match : Kim lands in fairway bunker and Karlsson lands in the fairway bunker. Perry drains par putt on 14 to stay 1-up on Sergio and Westwood. One the bad side, Justin Rose and Ian Poulter have pulled even after Cink puts his approach in the water on 15. 11:59 a.m. Karlsson putt runs all the way around the hole before falling so he and Harrington go to 18 all square with Kim and Mickelson Have I mentioned how much I love match play? And spirited crowds? Should we really have to wait two years for this? 11:56 a.m. Score one for Team USA. The surprise of the morning has been the stellar play of Leonard and Mahan (and the comparatively sloppy play of Casey and Stenson). They win their match 3 and 2. As Apollo Creed’s trainer once said: "This guy doesn’t know it’s a show. He thinks it’s a fight!" 11:47 a.m. Anthony Kim takes a tough-looking lie near a greenside bunker and hits a flop to inside 3 feet, which gets a rare concession from the Euros, but Karlsson calmly sinks his par putt. Karlsson is Swedish for "a guy who doesn’t miss many big putts." Meanwhile, Furyk misses a birdie putt and loses the hole following a big putt from Westwood. I’m starting to notice a theme here. 11:38 a.m. Perry drains a long birdie putt on 12 and Sergio leaves his just short. Two up on Sergio! Perry can skip every major in the world and I wouldn’t care. Cink and Campbell win 13 and there are now no blue flags on the leaderboard! The crowd is treating this like the combination of the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey team and a UFC death match, God bless ’em. 11:33 a.m. Touch sequence for Faldo’s captain’s pick: Ian Poulter dunks his approach on 13 and Paul Casey hits his drive on 15 in a creek. Somehow I don’t see Monty or Darren Clarke doing this. 11:30 a.m. Live from Kentucky, it’s the Mickelson Show! Phil drains a long birdie putt on 15 to square the match. You’d think this guy was the second-best player in the world or something… 11:25 a.m. Hunter Mahan=Rock Star. The rookie hits his tee shot on 13 to inside 5 feet. Big par save by Chad Campbell to halve No. 12, as fans chant "UNLV, UNLV"–Campbell’s alma mater. I’m not feeling the college cheers. How about "Mmmmm’ good" or "One Chad m—–f—–er!" 11:24 a.m. Loud cheer for a Sergio birdie miss on 11 as Boo Weekley leads the crowd in "USA! USA!"chants. Once every two years golf fans get to have the same fun other sports fans do. Unfortunately Kenny Perry can’t make his birdie putt either and he and Furyk stay 1-up. 11:17 a.m. Super-Phil Mega-Lob! Mickelson hits his approach on 14 to inside 3 feet. The Euros are putting for bogey and Anthony is putting for par. He calmly drains it and they are right back in this match. What a day! Get out to your local Bennigan’s or someplace at lunch if you can to watch this thing. 11:12 a.m. Casey misses a long putt by just an inch on 13, after captain Nick Faldo comes by to help with a read. But Leonard and Mahan make up no ground after Leonard misses a short putt. Sergio sinks his putt to halve 10 because, well, Team Europe doesn’t miss short putts. 11:07 a.m. Michael Jordan watches the action from a hospitality tent near the 14th tee. Must be a great moment for basketball-crazy Kim. 11 a.m. We’ve been at it for about three hours now and so far so good for Team USA. The Leonard-Mahan pairing looks brilliant, and Furyk and Kenny Perry are holding their own against Never-Lost-in-Foursomes Sergio and Lee Westwood. Plus, Phil and Anthony make an unlikely par win on 13 to get to two down. Harrington and Karlsson force Kim to putt the 3-footer though. I guess word from the captains is no gimmes unless it’s on the lip. 10:47 Oh my Phil! Huge par save when he rolls in 20+ footer on No. 12. Unfortunately, Karlsson is not impressed and makes his short putt for a birdie and a three-hole lead. 10:43 a.m. Jason writes: "Mahan is gonna be big. you wait." He better be, because we need him and Anthony Kim to play like superstars to win this thing. Mahan and Leonard stay 1 up through 11 so no complaints here.10:39 a.m. Sergio makes a 3-footer to halve the eighth. Apparently, Furyk and Perry won’t concede anything. Kim sends his tee shot into the trees on No. 12. Stop thinking about that photographer, guys. 10:37 a.m. Mickelson and Kim lose No. 11 after Kim leaves his bunker shot long and Phil misses the putt. Pressure will be on at 12. They are playing too well to let this get away from them. 10:30 a.m. Westwood drains his tough par putt on No. 7, because that’s what the Europeans do. But Perry makes birdie and he and Furyk go to eight with their first lead. 10:25 a.m. Karlsson makes his easy birdie to win the hole and go 1-up after Phil’s photographer mishap. Who knew Steve Bartman had a camera? Cink and Campbell win No. 8 to get to 2 back. 10:23 a.m. Kim’s approach to 10 from the rough starts off looking great but never stops rolling until it’s off the green, while Karlsson sticks his to six feet. Meanwhile, both Perry and Sergio hit second shots to No. 7 like elite players and not 15-handicappers, both clearing the water easily. Phil misses his chip on 10 and goes into the crowd to complain about a photographer. I guess Tiger is here in spirit after all. 10:19 a.m. After Harrington’s head rub, we wondered if you can get assistance like that from someone who’s not your caddie. We checked with a Rules offical at the USGA and apparently it’s fine.
Hey, we’re trying to do everything we can here for Team USA! 10:13 a.m. Cink puts one in the water at 7 and concedes the hole. Lot of that going on on this hole today. 10:04 a.m. Justin Leonard just short on his birdie putt, but Stenson misses the par putt and the Mahan-Leonard are 2-up. The assassin Harrington actually misses a putt on 9 so Phil and Anthony are now all square going to No. 10. By the way, it’s barely 10 a.m. and the crowd is totally into this, cheering European missed putts, the funniest part of the Ryder Cup. "Miss it, Noonan!" Expect a wild scene Sunday if the U.S. stays in this. 9:57 a.m. After Casey hits it in the water, his partner Stenson does the same thing. Pick ’em up, Stenson says, conceding the hole. Match play is great. Why aren’t we doing this for the FedEx Cup playoffs again? 9:52 a.m. Phil and Anthony catch a break when Karlsson misses a short putt on No. 8 and get their match square again. On the sidelines, someone is massaging Padraig Harrington’s head. Really weird. Paul Casey dunks one in the water on No. 7 and gives Team USA a chance to take its first lead. 9:45 a.m. Steve writes: "Here we go again…..USA can’t putt !
and the European’s are draining everything!" Uh-huh. Sergio politely asks a photographer to move before a fantastic bunker shot on No. 5, while Phil putts from the fairway to two inches on No. 8. Then the assassin Harrington almost holes his bunker shot on eight. This is getting frustrating! 9:40 a.m. Mickelson looks great so far this morning. Maybe the Kim pairing energized him. I was worried about Phil in alternate shot because he’s so famously aloof from his fellow Tour pros, and there was no official "Friend of Phil" like Chris DiMarco here this year. Now, Phil looks like our best hope to win this thing. Can’t ever figure him out. He is one of the most confounding and fascinating people in sports.
Harrington saves par (again) to halve the seventh hole. 9:30 a.m. Karlsson’s been standing over his ball in a hazard for the last 10 minutes or so. And people say golf isn’t exciting! 9:27 a.m. Top 100 Teacher Ed Ibarguen took a break from his job at the Duke University Golf Club to watch the action at Valhalla this weekend. He says you’d have to see the rough to believe how short the first cut is. It’s like the anti-U.S. Open. However, the greens are very fast. Based on what he saw Thursday, Ed says to expect a rowdy and raucous crowd this weekend. Sweet! 9:25 a.m. Sergio misses another birdie putt, another cheer. Furyk and Perry get back to all square. 9:21 a.m. Harrington holes a clutch par putt from about 10 feet and Mickelson’s par attempt rims out. Now American golf fans know how Sergio felt at the PGA Championship. Harrington is just a stone-cold assassin. 9:16 a.m. First cheer of a missed putt on No. 2 when Sergio runs it by the hole on a birdie attempt. 9:08 a.m. Leonard and Mahan follow bogey-bogey with birdie-birdie and square their match through No. 4. 9:00 a.m. Westwood drains what looks like about a 10-footer for birdie after Sergio’s approach (Perry knocked his in the bunker). Another birdie on the first for the Europeans, who incidentally don’t impress reader Jeff from Charlotte: "Maybe if those ankers keep adding every country on the planet it will
make this match interesting, and competitive. Right now, they don’t
have my attention, nor do I believe they have the attention on the
American professional golfers. Keeping hyping it, and maybe some day
someone will tune in, but as for now the baseball race is getting
interesting, so go Dodgers!!!!"
Can’t agree with you there, Jeff. Hard-partying Team Europe is actually one of the most fun-to-watch teams in all of sports. I just wished they played for our side. Granted, Manny would make things more interesting in Valhalla: untucked shirt, dreadlocks, "Manny moments" when he hits the other team’s ball. 8:59 a.m. Top 100 Teacher Dave Phillips, who is one of Padraig Harrington’s team of coaches, is a friend of the blog. Dave wonders why we don’t hear much about the ball in alternate shot:
"I am always
amazed that nobody takes into consideration the ball that the players play. The ball has been blamed by many for ruining the game of golf and
players are seen in commercials touting the benefits of their golf ball
over another. But when it comes to playing for one of the most coveted
trophies in golf as well as national pride it does not matter! In
a day and age when launch and spin of a golf ball off the clubface can
determine distance and accuracy you would think players that play the same
ball when paired together in alternate shot would have a benefit. I personally think that a captain should try and match players if possible
that play the same ball as they would be familier with ball flight and
spin and that could be the difference." UPDATE: Phil addressed this point Wednesday: "What we do in alternate shot is, I tee off with their ball and they tee
off with my ball because we can switch balls each hole," Mickelson said. "So
it really doesn’t become much of a factor, because off the tee it’s not
going to make too much of a difference. It’s the distance control and
how it comes off the irons and the trajectory and so forth. And we will
be hitting our own balls with our iron approach shots. I just don’t
think it will be a factor."
8:52 p.m. Birdie-birdie on fourth for Mickelson/Kim and Harrington/Karlsson. Fearless prediction No. 2: This will be a great match. Plus Mahan-Leonard get a birdie on three, with a shortish but solid putt from Mahan to get to 1-down. 8:47 a.m. Justin Leonard misses par putt–he and Mahan have started bogey-bogey and are 2-down. Fearless prediction No. 1: Azinger might get some criticism for this pairing. On the first tee, crowd goes crazy for local hero Kenny Perry. You’d think Adolph Rupp was there riding Secretariat. 8:37 a.m. On the par 3 third, Phil puts it on the green and Padraig puts it in the trees by the water hazard. Phew! I was beginning to worry that we wouldn’t win a hole. On the first, Chad Campbell sends his drive way right. Maybe Johnny Miller was right. 8:34 a.m. Ryder Cup "slave" Hunter Mahan chunks his approach, leading to a bogey. Stenson and Casey win the hole. Phil and Anthony halve the second hole. 8:27 a.m. El Reno Bill comments: "Phil must play well or at least better than his last 9 matches. The
hype about playing the Kentucky duo has to be put aside for now. The
Cink/Campbell team does not look promising, but may be a strategic
Won’t disagree about Phil, and I never liked the hometown boys pairing–Holmes makes me nervous after putting his first tee shot into the forest Sunday when leading the PGA–but I kind of like the Cink/Campbell team, especially against Ian Poulter and Justin Rose. The sacrifice is probably Furyk and Perry, who drew Garcia and Westwood. 8:25 a.m. If you’re playing golf this weekend with your buddies, try a few holes of alternate shot and you’ll see how important team play and personalities are in the Ryder Cup. Especially when your "buddy" leaves you a 5-footer to halve the hole. 8:20 a.m. Paul Casey and Henrik Stenson vs. Justin Leonard and Hunter Mahan match begins. This will be a tough point for the U.S.8:17 a.m. Kim hits approach to about 20 feet, but Mickelson’s putt is just short. Harrington drains his shorter putt. Birdie. Europeans draw first blood. The merry band of leprechaun Harrington supporters is making me nervous. 8:10 a.m. Great tee shot from Phil Mickelson as the Louisville crowd gives a lusty "USA! USA!" chant. After all the talk of starting with local boys Kenny Perry and J.B. Holmes, this Mickelson-Anthony Kim pairing was the obvious choice. The U.S. can’t win without Phil playing well, so might as well start him first with our hottest player. The Robert Karlsson-Padraig Harrington team looks tough though. 8:00 a.m. "It’s Ryder Cup time! It’s Ryder Cup time!" That’s what Sergio Garcia says as he jumps up and down on his bed when he wakes up, according to teammate Justin Rose. We golf fans know what he means. This is our Superbowl, with the bonus we get to root for our country. If you’re stuck at the office today, we’ll keep you updated on the action until you can get in front of the TV. Enjoy!