6:44 Tiger and Stricker grind over Strick's final putt of the day, a 20-footer on the 9th hole to win the hole … and it drops. Feels like it's been two hours since the U.S. team won a hole. Woods-Stricker will go to bed trailing Westwood-Donald 4 down through nine. 6:42 Jimenez birdies — he and Hanson finish their day 2 up on Bubba-Overton. 6:38 Francesco Molinari chips one in, and Cink calmly answers with a four-footer for birdie and a halve. The Super Molinari Brothers are 1 up through five holes, and that's it for this group today, as darkness is falling. 6:33 It's Kaymer's turn to make a birdie for the European team; he and Poulter are 2 up on Folwer and Mickelson through four holes. 6:31 American fans: I miscalculated the estimated time for sunset. We should have another 25 minutes of live golf. Can the U.S. swing any of these six matches? 6:28 Zach flips a stone out of the bunker (a legal move at Celtic manor), then nearly jars his bunker shot. Doesn't matter, as McIlroy sinks a four-footer to win the hole. They're 3 up. 6:26 G-Mac and McIlroy are in tight and can go 3 up on Zach and Mahan. Everywhere you look the European team is rolling. American fans: sunset is still more than an hour away. This could get uglier. 6:23 Bubba leaves a a birdie putt short and right; he an Overton remain one down to Jimenez-Hanson. 6:21 DJ finally makes a birdie putt to win a hole, and gives a little fist pump. He and Furyk move to 1 down. Europe still leads all six matches in progress. 6:18 Woods misses, and the U.S. dream team is now 5 down through seven holes. TW and Stricker are five over PAR as a team. 6:14 Donald chips one to kick-in range at the 7th. Stricker blasts out of the bunker and leave Tiger about 15 feet to salvage a halve. 6:12 Corey Pavin on the bleak U.S. outlook: "These guys are professionals. They can see the leaderboard. They know what to do." Will anyone with a microphone ever talk to Corey Pavin again once this Ryder Cup is over? 6:09 Tiger pushes a five-iron on the par-3 7th into a greenside bunker. Sunset cannot get here fast enough for the U.S. 6:06 Tiger misses a six-footer. He and Stricker are four over par, and more importantly, 4 down to Westwood-Donald through six holes. That's a stunner, and I think it's giving the rest of the Euros a boost. 6:01 Super Molinaris take a 1 up lead on Cink and Kuchar. That feels like the best nickname for them. Don't look now, but the Euros lead in all six mathces right now. 5:56 Commenter John is catching fire, and nominates Martin Kaymer's girlfriend Allison Micheletti as the star WAG of the Ryder Cup. I need an entirely new blog to properly debate this, but I met both Martin and Allison when they visited our office last month, and they're a lot of fun. Kaymer is not your stereotypical, stone-faced German golfer. 5:59 DJ's misery continues as he leaves a straightforward birdie putt a foot short. He and Furyk are 2 down through six. 5:51 Woods misses a 12-footer for birdie; he and Stricker remain 3 down through five holes. 5:49 Commenter John weighs in on my search for a nickname for the Molinari brothers. "Italian Stallions" isn't bad, but maybe a little too obvious. I'm still leaning toward Super Molinari Brothers for now. Keep the ideas coming. Let's make this happen. 5:47 Sports Illustrated's Mark Godich on why it was smart to break up Phil and DJ for the afternoon session:
"Pavin needs these guys in singles. Having them languish together for another round does no good. Each needs to see a partner hitting good shots, making putts. Not the slightest indication that was going to happen keeping them together." 5:44 Stricker takes a free drop and lashes an iron to about 12 feet. Tiger will have that for a birdie. Donald's approach from 156 yards settles about 25 feet away. A chance for TW-Stricker to get one back. 5:42 Poulter makes a par at the first, while Folwer and Phil make bogeys. Another blue flag on the board early. 5:40 Europe is down 6-4, but they have all the momentum right now. Sports Illustrated's Mark Godich has some perspective, though:
"The Euros are in a tough spot. Whatever momentum they build in this session figures to be slowed when play is suspended for the day. And if they start to fall behind in matches, they will be in for a restless night's sleep." 5:37 Ross Fisher makes another birdie, and the Euros move to 2 up on Furyk and DJ. 5:35 As we go to another commercial NBC shows Thomas Bjorn attempting to kiss Jimenez on the mouth after Miguel made a birdie. Jimenez laughed and shoved Bjorn away. I bet Miguel wishes Thomas had never been Bjorn. Sorry about that, everyone. 5:33 Johnny Miller tells us that Westwood has dusted Tiger in five of their last six matches in team competition. I bet Tiger really wants this one today. TW promptly misses a six-footer. Westwood drains a three-footer, and he and Donald are 3 up through four holes. 5:30 Commenter John brings up a great point: As long as they are both playing so badly, why not keep DJ and Phil together and only cost yourselves one point? Separated, their bad mojo could cost the U.S. two points. I actually think both guys will play better this afternoon. I would've kept them together simply because they are due to win one. 5:28 Bubba misses a putt at the third and Jimenez and Hanson go 1-up through three holes. 5:26 Tiger pulls another iron approach shot, and mics pick him up grouchily talking to himself. The American dream team is struggling right now. 5:22 Molinari brothers set to tee off against Cink and Kuchar. This reminds me, since the Molinaris are going to be around for a while, why can't we give them a good nickname? I will submit "Super Molinari Brothers." I'm open to suggestions, though. Let me hear 'em. 5:20 Tiger confidently sinks a four-foot par-saver for a halve. That was a big one–going 3 down through three holes would've been tough for the U.S. 5:15 Hanson blasts a shot birdie putt through the break, and the Bubba jars a three-footer to win the hole. That match is all square. 5:13 Tiger pulls his tee shot at the par-3 third into the greenside rough. It'll be a tough up and down for the U.S. from there. 5:09 Westwood drains the putt, and the Euros are 2-up through two holes on Woods and Stricker. It's early, but the leaderboard is all blue right now — the Euros are lead each of the four matches on the course. Two matches are yet to tee off. 5:05 Donald sticks another iron approach, this one from 145 yards out. And somewhere in Canada, Paul Casey pours himself another drink. 5:03 A break in the action, and that means more Geico commercials. Is there anything Geico isn't sponsoring these days? And more importantly, can they REALLY save me that much money on my car insurance? 5:00 DJ burns the edge with his birdie try. Still nothing happening for him so far in Wales. Fisher rims his putt in, and he and Paddy take a 1-up lead over DJ and Furyk. 4:58 Rosaforte spoke with Bubba's cancer-stricken father, who couldn't be prouder of his son as he watches from home. I had a funny feeling Bubba would be the breakout star for the U.S. team, and he's played well so far. Watson and Overton could really make a statement if they can take out Jimenez and Hanson and win their second point this week. 4:54 Tim Rosaforte enters the broadcast booth as Dustin Johnson sticks one on the third hole. That match is square through two holes. DJ needs to sink a putt to get his mojo going. 4:51 From Sport Illustrated's Mark Godich, who's spent as much time at his computer as Paul Casey has spent at a Canadian bar this weekend:
"This is Tiger's opportunity to make a Ryder Cup statement. Westwood and Donald are arguably the heart of the European team. Take them down, and the Euros will really be deflated. Nice to see Tiger pipe his drive at the first." 4:49 Donald fires a dart out of the fairway bunker on the 1st. Stricker hooks his approach into the greenside bunker. Euros could take an early lead there. 4:46 Jimenez puts the Euros 1-up in their match against Bubba-Overton. Wonder if that U.S. rookie pairing has any juice left for the afternoon session. 4:44 Stricker and TW are 6-0 as a team in international competition, and Donald is unbeaten in this format. Meanwhile, Westwood is primed to grab Tiger's No. 1 ranking later this month. In the words of Micheal Buffer, let's get ready to rumble. 4:41 I know a lot of folks wanted to see a Tiger-Rory showdown (and it still could happen tomorrow), but this Tiger-Stricker vs. Westwood-Donald alternate shot match is the glamour group of the Ryder Cup so far. 4:38 Greetings, everyone. No time for the U.S. to stop and bask in a successful showing in the morning matches. The guys are right back out there. It's USA 6, Europe 4. 4:35 Okay folks, that's going to do it for me today. Thanks for sticking with us and for all the great comments. I'm putting you in the soft yet capable hands of Golf.com's Jeff Ritter. Hope you're as great to him as you've been to me. 4:34 Jimenez is done messing around. After an underwhelming loss to Stricker and Woods in the morning, the big man sticks a 4-iron on the green on the 1st. I don't see him as a big difference-maker today, but I wouldn't be shocked to have him prove me wrong. 4:32 Speaking of great golf, the afternoon foursomes got off to a great start, with Harrington and Furyk both making sizable birdie putts. 4:29 From Reader (and great judge of character) Joe Gunter:
SI's excellent coverage makes NBC's bad coverage bearable.
Thanks Joe! I won't comment too much on NBC's coverage except to say that I'm impressed (and appreciative) that they seem content not to lay on the schmaltz when there's golf going on. The Ryder Cup is usually overstuffed with cheesy stories, they've done a good job just showing some great golf. 4:24 Mark Godich on Stewie's gamesmanship:
The best part about the Cink snack was his stopping to take a swig of water when he got greenside. Great way to slow the momentum of the opponents, who, by the way, walked to the 17th green as if their birdie putt had been conceded. That was match play at its finest.
Couldn't agree more. Cink isn't known as an intimidater (in fact, he's one of the nicest guys on Tour), but he's been around the block a few times. When you've got a 21-year-old kid on the other side, there's no such thing as a gimme, especially not from 8 feet. 4:20 And that's it, Kuchar nestles a safe lag and it's handshakes all around. A shocking win for the U.S. that brings the total score to 6-4 for the American side. 4:18 McDowell goes right at the hole (which he had to) and flies it. This is pretty much sewn up. 4:17 McIlroy gets much, much more aggressive, putting it short in front of the green…and where it then spun back into a greenside bunker. I'll take an incredible bunker shot or a complete meltdown from Kuchar to keep the U.S. from putting another point up on the board. Another aggressive (and misguided) play by young Rory. He's getting thoroughly Cink-ed (or would it be Cunk?). 4:16 A good, safe play from Cink to the middle of the green. 4:14 What a great day of golf. It's so rare to see so many close matches on one day. This is shaping up to be a tight, tight tournament. 4:12 Cink and McIlroy will have nearly identical shots into the 18th green. Cink will get to play first and, yet again, put the pressure on the kid. A very good position for the Americans to be in, especially with a veteran like Cink at the helm. 4:09 McDowell lays up from the 18th fairway with the U.S. in the rough. Expect Kuchar to do the same from a much worse lie. 4:06 Mike Walker is on the scene and channeling his inner-Feherty:
BTW, After Fowler sank that putt on 18, you could have heard a sheep fart.
The Cink putt is going to be the one that people remember (unless the U.S. blows it on 18), but that Fowler putt means just as much to the U.S. chances (and even more when you consider how important a confident, seasoned Fowler is to future Ryder Cup teams). 4:04 Apparently Cink shared a PB&J with his caddie before that putt. Can't believe I missed that. That's how you turn things around in a Jiffy. 4:02 Cink did more than just make his putt, he turned McIlroy's 8-footer into a mile-long affair, and the young Irishman wasn't up to the task, pulling it past the hole. McIlroy had so much time to look at his putt while Cink was studying his own, and the kid ended up rushing. He'll learn you can't let slow play get in your head like that…but hopefully not before the end of the weekend. The U.S. 1-up going to 18. 4:00 Stewart Cink DRAINS a monster of a putt from waaaaay downtown. A huge, huge, huge putt. He spent 5 minutes looking that thing up and down, and I guess it paid off!. 3:58 From SI'S Mark Godich, who's been giving us great insight all day: When Monty turned those pairings in, he was looking at being possibly two points down. Now the Euros might be tied. I wonder if he panicked a bit and felt the need to shake things up. Let the second-guessing begin. I think I'll skip right to the third guessing and wait until the end of the day to talk about Monty's picks. On the whole though, i think they were mostly safe choices. Poulter and Kaymer better win that best ball match, though, or things could really swing in the Americans' favor. 3:56 Well…nevermind. On a hole where everyone's taken 4-iron all day, the big-hitting McDowell hits a monster 5-iron inside 10 feet. Major winners in the Ryder Cup, at least you know they won't fold under the pressure, an absolutely brillaint shot. 3:54 Kuchar putts one on the fat part of the 17th green…don't look now, but the U.S. might be able to steal one here. 3:51 Things are looking better in the other group, where Matt Kuchar is finally starting to turn it on. He sinks a 6-footer to move all square through 16. A win would be great, but the U.S. really just needs to halve this match in order to keep the pressure on the Europeans moving into the afternoon. 3:49 Huge blunder by Overton earlier in that match. He was putting lights out wearing a goofy rain hat, which he eventually switched out for a Watson-style visor. Not that he played badly after that, but you can't mess with mojo like that. Rookie mistake. 3:47 Poulter finishes off the rooks 2 and 1. Man is Donald an animal in alternate shot. 3:43 Luke Donald sticks his tee shot at the par-3 17. It's going to take a miracle putt from Overton just to keep it at 1-up. Things are looking grim for the American rookies this time around. 3:40 Donald and Poulter have wrested the lead from Watson and Overton, giving the Euros a 1-up lead in both of the remaining matchups. Time for the U.S. to make one last push and see if they can make something happen like Furyk and Fowler did. 3:37 With only two groups left on the course, pace has slowed significantly. And since it was already at a crawl, that's saying something. 3:33 Couple interesting notes on those matches. Not shockingly, Pavin chose to break up Mickelson and DJ, swapping Johnson for Rickie Fowler. The bigger surprise for me is Monty pulling the switcheroo on his two best groups, putting Donald with Westwood and Poulter with Kaymer…be interesting to here what his thinking is there, though I'd imagine it has something to do with keeping Luke Donald's short game in the alerternate shot format. 3:30 Got an update on what you'll be seeing later on today: Alternate Shot Donald/Westwood vs. Stricker/Woods
McDowell/McIlroy vs. Zach Johnson/Mahan Better Ball: Harringotn/Fisher vs. Furyk/Dustin Johnson
Hanson/Jimenez vs. Watson/Overton
Molinaris vs. Cink/Kuchar
Poulter/Kaymer vs. Mickelson/Fowler 3:27 It's definitely worth noting how good most of these matches have been. With the exception of some sloppy play by the Molinaris and Mahan/Johnson, the shotmaking has been worthy of the best players in the world. 3:23 As brutal as DJ and Mickelson were, I'm starting to think that Pavin might not want to mess with a good thing in Fowler and Furyk…it might be better to roll the dice and keep Phil and Dustin together and just hope that at some point they get their act together. 3:20 Rickie Fowler makes amends for his rookie mistake (improperly dropping that ball on 4 to cost them a hole) by draining a 5-footer to halve the match. Can't overstate how huge that was for the U.S. Westwood and Kaymer are Europe's premier team (especially in foursomes), and Fowler and Furyk ground them out to a tie. 3:18 Birdies are coming in bunches now, finally working on the Euro side. McIlroy gets his side back to all square. 3:17 From Golf.com's Jeff Ritter:
The only way that Phil-DJ pairing could've gone worse is if they'd gone 0-3 in two matches.
Part of me is surprised they didn't find a way to do it. 3:15 Tiger and Stricker finish their domination of Jimenez and Hanson 4 and 3. And trust me, it wasn't even that close. If Tiger can have a decent run in singles, I think he'll have no problem shedding his reputation for Ryder Cup mediocrity. Thanks to Steve Stricker he's already shed his reputation for being impossible to play with. 3:13 Reader Brian Rosenwald also has Phil's size on his brain:
I was thinking yesterday about how much bigger Phil looked. I wonder how much more his arthritis is affecting his play than he is letting on.
Yeah, we really have no idea. To me it looks like he just didn't have his feel (especially on the green) out there today, and he's certainly been playing well of late, but you have to wonder how well his body is holding up after a long and trying season. And obviously that goes double for his head, he's got to be mentally exhausted after everything he's been through this year. He doesn't appear to be in any pain though. 3:11 Wow, Fisher sinks a deep putt to finish Mickelson and Johnson off 3 and 2. You have to wonder if Phil is simply star crossed at this point…will he ever win another Ryder Cup match? 3:09 Francesco makes a poor attempt for the win on 18, and the Brothers will concede a full point to Hunter Mahan and Zach Johnson. Can't overstate how much I like that pairing, they are a perfect compliment. Huge point for the U.S. 3:06 Luke Donald can do some incredible things with a wedge. he works his way out of the deep rough and over the water to get to about 5 feet. 6 inches shorter and it would have been in the drink, 6 inches further and it may very well have been in the hole. Don't worry though, Bubba hits his (from a better lie) just as well. 3:04 Kaymer barely misses a chance to put away Fowler and Furyk, but they'll halve the hole and move to 18 with a chance to tie. It would be a huge moral victory for the U.S. if they could steal half a point on that one. 3:02 Cink stuffs home a birdie to move 1-up with just five holes to play, that would be an enormous win for the U.S. team. Cink was a no-brainer captain's pick, and his play so far is showing why. 3:00 I think Team Europe needs some sort of nickname. Obviously I'm biased, but compared to the rousing "U.S.A.!" chants from Valhalla, the "Eur-ope!" chants here sound lame and limp. Any suggestions for a better chant for our friends across the pond? 2:57 Lee Westwood continues to make huge putts. They're still one up with two to play, but, as Mark mentioned before, at least Fowler and Furyk are making him go the distance. Hopefully that'll make a difference tomorrow. 2:53 SI's Mark Godich on some things to consider as the groups make their way to the home stretch: Here's something worth keeping an eye on as the session winds downs. On the first tee, Johnny Miller questioned why Bubba was teeing off on the odd-numbered holes, saying he'd prefer to have Overton in that spot. Miller's reasoning: The guy teeing off on the odd-numbered holes would probably have a dozen approach shots and Overton is a better iron player than Bubba. Well, we're also seeing that Overton is one heck of a putter. Pavin no doubt wanted to get him as many looks as possible. Fantastic point. I think one of the first questions someone should ask Corey Pavin at the end of the day is when he made the decision to have Bubba tee off there. I figured it was because he put the premium on Watson's superior driving, but Mark is probably dead on–Pavin had to have seen how hot Overton's putter has been, and he knew that it could make up for some sloppy approaches. And it certainly has. 2:51 A little gamesmanship between the Molinari's and the Johnson/Mahan pair. They're not conceding anything…and I mean ANYTHING. To add injury to insult, Johnson just nailed a huge putt to move 1-up going into 18, that'll guarentee the US at least a half from that big openening pairing. 2:48 Jimenez and Hanson are looking for a ball in the water that makes me think they're about to get finished off by Tiger and Stricker. You know Sergio Garcia is staring at Hanson from behind a tree, thinking "That should be me getting my ass kicked by Tiger right now!" 2:46 Weird happenings on 15…the hole ate nearly everyone alive this morning, but now people are nailing the short par-4 with tremendous consistancy. Other than the air lightening up a little bit, i can't figure out how it's gotten so much easier in such a short period of time. 2:43 The Molinari's square things up on 16. They try to pump up the crowd with…limited results. As popular as these guys are, the crowds are still relatively quiet. They're rewarding great shots with cheers, but there's not nearly the energy there was at Valhalla or even K Club. 2:40 Tiger can't put Jimenez and Hanson away from 5-feet. They're still 3 up with 5 to play, but that would have been the nail in the coffin. 2:37 McIlroy does a great job picking up his partner with a clutch putt to keep that match all square. How often do you watch a 21-year-old play with the reigning U.S. Open champion, knowing that the 21-year-old is much more likely to take control. 2:33 Not everybody hates the U.S. uniform as much as I do. From Mark Godich: For what it's worth, my wardrobe-conscious wife, Leigh, gives Pavin a thumbs-up for the lavender sweaters and the collared shirts Here's my rule of thumb: I never wear anything on the golf course that would have gotten me beat up if i wore it to high school. Those sweaters may not have earned me a beating, but they've got "swirly" written all over them. 2:30 "Must be fun playing with Stricker," says understatement expert Johnny Miller. 2:28 Speaking of missed opportunities, Kaymer watches a putt somehow roll over the side of the cup. They're still 1-up, hanging on by the skin of their teeth. If Fowler and Furyk can make a couple putts and either halve or win this thing, that's the putt that Kaymer's going to be dreaming about tonight. 2:26 Phil badly misses another birdie putt, and he and Johnson are running out of time. The European fans don't seem to cheer as loud when Phil misses as when other players do. Clearly he's got some fans in the crowd, even if they're still rooting against him. 2:23 Overton can't convert to match a stellar gimme birdie, so Poulter and Donald move to 1-up after 11. There's only so much they can ride Overton's magic putter…he and Bubba are going to have to make some better approaches. 2:21 One thing to note about Rory today, he's been anything but standoffish. It seemed like he's gotten partner McDowell's opinion on most of his putts. That may seem like an obvious thing to do (especially considering McDowell won the Euro event here this year), but it's still a good sign that McIlroy is meshing with his teammates…he's certainly meshing well with the fans. 2:19 A great tee shot from Cink brings a birdie and they're now tied with McIlroy and McDowell. They'll be the last group o the course, and it's looking like this thing might go back and forth right up to 18. 2:14 Francesco is taking a few notes from his brother on pumping up the crowd. He asks them to bring the noise after he halves to stay 1 down. Nice to see some emotion from the usually reserved Molinari, but Ray Lewis he ain't. 2:12 Jimenez just misses a birdie putt, so they'll stay 2 holes behind Striker and Woods through 12 holes. This part of the course has a ton of risk/reward opportunities though, so the U.S.'s power pairing isn't on the home stretch yet. 2:10 Little known fact: Jeff Overton is the most clutch player on Earth. Tell your friends. 2:06 A great note from SI's Mark Godich: If nothing else, Furyk and Fowler need to extend their match as long as possible. Fatigue could become a factor with Westwood as the event goes on. Fantastic point–it's been 7 weeks since Westwood competed, and the new rain schedule has made this event exponentially more punishing than it would have been. If Westwood is fading tomorrow, it will really help the Americans' chances in a close race. 2:04 Mickelson drains a birdie, but he's immediately matched by Harrington. The Euros are still 3-up in that one, and it's not looking very likely they're going to let up. 2:02 Speaking of Poulter, I'm glad that Monty has let Poulter continue to Tweet during the Cup. It's too bad that Pavin hasn't done the same. I totally understand why he might be wary of letting any info get out there, but maybe he could have appointed Stewart Cink the "official tweeter" for the U.S. squad. Like Poulter, Cink's a Twitter pro, and I'd trust his discretion. It's a new world out there, and pro golf needs to embrace it. The more accessible Tour players are, the more popular the sport could become. 2:00 Fowler and Furyk can't seem to break through. They're still down one hole, but it really feels like it's just a matter of time–Rickie's putter is heating up and Furyk has been playing great golf all month. If they can keep it close I like their chances of stealing that one towards the end. 1:59 Bubba loses his touch and misses a halving putt–that matchup is back to all square. Poulter's been relatively quiet today, the last thing that Watson/Overton want to do is get him on a roll. 1:57 Loyal reader Brian Sullivan on my passion for a match play major:
Match play major: Its great for RC and PC because it is a team format. The WGC Match play makes for some of the most boring weekends (the first 2 days are fun), but when you get down to 2 matches, or even 1 match, alot of dead TV time. Also, the thing about match play is that you don't have big scoring swings via a great birdies or bad messups.
That's definitely the argument (that it would too often be boring), but don't we have boring majors already? Maybe the answer would have to involve a relatively small field, because a lot of the reason the Ryder Cup works is because all of the players are the cream of the crop. 1:54 Tiger can't get the ball out of a greenside bunker. That's the second wedge today he's muffed bigtime. You wonder if he's been working so much on his full swing with Sean Foley that his short game might be a little rusty. 1:52 Don't throw that green turtle shell away just yet, the Super Molinari Bros. have moved to within a hole of Mahan/Johnson, and they're in a slightly better position on the 13th green. 1:49 Jimenez might not be the player he once was, but he's still made his mark on this season. That bank shot on the Road Hole at the Open Championship was the shot of the year (and maybe of his career). 1:47 SI's Mark Godich on the Phil/DJ pairing: Phil isn't doing his partner any favors blowing the first putt six feet past. Wonder if Pavin is thinking about breaking this team up. How about Mickelson-Fowler and Furyk-Johnson in the next session? I'd say it's all but done. Mickelson and Johnson would probably be happy to never play together again after today. 1:46 Harrington and Fisher have broken out the paddles and are now 3-up on the lackluster pair of Mickelson and Johnson. Not a good day for them. 1:44 Stricker sticks a fantastic birdie putt, recovering from an awful Woods drive. Tiger liked it so much he pulled the ball out himself. 1:42 McIlroy follows his terrible put with another great one his birdie brings the Irish pairing back to 1-up. 1:39 Great old clips of Mickelson and Pavin from '95. Mickelson looks like a young Adam Sandler, Pavin looks like a down-on-his luck porn star. That's 99% moustache though… 1:37 Crowd seems awfully subdued considering the weather's about as good as it's been this weekend. Not tons to cheer about on the Euro side, but the crowd should be trying to MAKE things happen, not just reacting. The sun is coming out in full force now, we'll see if they warm up a bit. 1:35 Dustin Johnson blows one waaaay past the hole to three-putt and drop to 2-down at the turn. They look absolutely terrible, especially on the greens. Phil is literally red in the face, and it's hard to tell if it's out of anger or shame. 1:33 What is it about golfers that makes them the worst high-fivers on the planet? It's like when they give you your Tour card, they take any sort of cool-factor you have in exchange. 1:31 There are some terrible celebrators out there today. The Molinaris are collectively awkward, Kaymer is hillariously German and Jeff Overton is one of the worst fist-pumpers I've ever seen. His pumps look like a Shake Weight impression. 1:29 Rory has made some great putts today and some absolutely attrocious ones. He just made one of the latter to open the door for Stewart Cink, who takes advantage and squares that match up after 7. 1:27 Kaymer sinks a birdie to move 2-Up on Furyk and Fowler. When a relative unknown wins a major, we always ask if he's going to be a one-hit wonder. The jury's still out on Graeme McDowell, but I can tell you one thing for sure: Martin Kaymer is no fluke. He's already a dominant force on the Euro Tour, and he's proving again so far this weekend that his game matches up with the best in the world. 1:26 Mark Godich weighs in on the Mickelson/Johnson pairing: Except for the putt that Phil made on No. 7, neither guy is making any putts. Every time one of them misses, the ensuing putt gets that much longer for the other guy. We haven't gotten the same face time with them that we have with some of the other pairs…have to wonder if they're wearing on each other. 1:23 I absolutely love Jeff Overton's putting stroke. It looks like he picked it up at an Ocean City, MD mini-golf course. It sets up perfectly for these slow, wet greens, but I'd be afraid putting like that at Augusta or Pebble…or anywhere else that doesn't have a clown's mouth on the 18th green. 1:21 Watson and Overton take the lead with their 3rd birdie in 4 holes. 1:20 Everpresent Ryder Cup fan Michael Jordan has been getting some solid face time this week. Here's a great interview Mike Walker did with him for our #1 Issue. 1:18 While, on paper, the birdie machine pairing of Mickelson and DJ makes perfect sense, they certainly didn't seem to mesh too well this morning. Yes, they can make up almost any deficit, but you want a pairing that doesn't dig itself a hole to begin with. Remember how we used to wonder if we'd ever find someone we could pair with Tiger? Who would have thought four years later we'd be wondering if we'll ever find someone we can pair with Phil? 1:17 Less impressive? Phil and DJ, who just dropped a hole back to Harrington and Fisher. 1:15 Can't overstate the teamwork between Tiger and Stricker. Everytime you look at them on the green you see the two of them staring intently at every angle, regardless of who is putting. There's a lot of pride and stubornness there, but not a lot of ego at the moment. Very impressive. 1:13 Stricker makes a gorgeous putt that just barely sneaks into the hole, moving them to 2-up. 1:11 You guys have been razzing the color of the U.S. outfits all morning, but the real tragedy is the design. I didn't realize that Ryan Moore was in charge of picking out the Ryder Cup uniforms this year. 1:07 Astute note of that all-important first match from SI's Mark Godich:The opening match is pivotal for the U.S. The Molinari brothers look like a bundle of nerves. Time for Mahan and Zach Johnson to step up, but Johnson seems to be struggling with his speed on the greens. Hopefully Johnson's just adjusting like some of the morning round guys had to in the early goings. If nothing else, we know that Zach can handle pressure putts. Mahan and Johnson are 2-up, right now the only match that's not within one stroke. 1:05 The seesaw continues in the Cink/Kuchar match–they make birdie to even it back up. 1:03 Not to be a jerk about it, but am I the only one that thinks that Phil has…filled out a bit over the last few months? After being in amazing shape at the beginning of the year I feel like he's gone back to the doughy physique we saw a couple years ago. He's certainly got a lot else to worry about, but I wonder if his change in diet might have something to do about it. Brewer's slugger Prince Fielder also seemed to get big (or, in his case, bigger) after he switched to the vegan lifestyle, so it cold be something similar. 1:00 Mickelson finally breaks through, taking the 7th for the U.S. and bringing that matchup back to all square. You know Pavin's been counting on them for at least a point so he's got to be desperate for them to make a move. 12:58 Rory makes a great approach on the par 4 5th. The rough on this course is serious–it's like an old school U.S. Open, but as wet as it's been the last couple days it can be even more punishing. Dustin Johnson and Tiger have already felt its wrath with some poor wedge shots. 12:56 Overton and Watson crawl their way back to all-square. Great showing from the rookies so far–maybe the U.S. is deeper than we gave them credit for. 12:55 The Euros have Fisher and the Americans have Tiger. He's slow as molasses out there today. I've never seen him take so many practice swings, but I can't tell if he's just not in a groove or if he's trying something new. 12:53 Time to revisit my favorite "what i would do as commissioner" idea. I would love to see a match play major (most likely the PGA Championship), and I'd like to see it sooner rather than later. Is there anything more exciting than watching the best players in the world go head to head? According to the ratings for WGC Match Play, you like it pretty well too. Every time I bring it up in the blog people say I'm crazy, but I haven't heard a good reason why a match play major wouldn't be a great idea. Finchem, you're on notice! Tell me why I'm wrong below. 12:50 Kuchar leaves one about two inches short of the cup to drop a hole to Team Mc. 12:47 Reader Derrick Solomon on the pairings/shot selection
As a whole, that is. There are several groupings that seem to be meant for each other…but then the shot order strategy seems to fizzle the luster.
The shot order always seems to have me scratching my head, but I actually agree with a couple choices that the ESPN crew doesn't seem to. As far as pairings, I agree there are some fantastic matchups. My favorite has to be Zach Johnson and Hunter Mahan. Two great, consistent ball strikers. They should be fun to watch. 12:44 Furyk can't convert on 7th, but there won't be any blood. He and Rickie will remain just one back. 12:42 Harrington was Donald's cross to bear this morning, and now he's Fisher's. You have to wonder how many times Fisher has rubbed his eyes, hoping that Paul Casey would suddenly appear in front of him. 12:39 As a couple people have pointed out, it was Fisher, not Harrington, who made that putt on 3. Paddy's still birdieless. 12:38 Winners and losers so far from the rain yesterday:
Winners: The captains. Pretty much all of the controversial decisions that can be made in a Ryder Cup have been taken out of their hands, meaning they'll likely be held blameless for a loss. Yes, the new format will likely expose the Americans' lack of depth, but that can hardly be blamed on Pavin.
Losers: Me and you for not getting the relaxing Saturday that we're accustomed to from the Cup. Oh, and Sun Mountain. 12:35 I think the runaway winner for the "what the heck are they possibly talking about" award is the seemingly mismatched pairing of Miguel Angel Jimenez and Peter Hanson. I mean, not to be redundant, but what the heck are they possibly talking about? 12:33 Woods and Stricker make birdie on #4 to move to one up. They really seem to be working well together. Not as many smiles as they had at the Presidents Cup, but with the amount of time they spend discussing the breaks on every putt, you can tell they're very comfortable with one another. 12:31 You can already feel pace of play becoming an issue, especially with so much golf left to play. It's a big tournament and everyone wants to play their best, but if you were stuck behind Ross Fisher at your local muni right now, you'd be fuming. 12:29 It may seem obvious, but the guys who already played this morning are going to have a huge advantage out there. The greens have been slow and tricky, I'd imagine they'll be quite a bit more managable the second time around. 12:27 Matt Kuchar wins the 2nd hole for the U.S. That'll put him and Cink 1-up in the early goings. An important good start for them 12:24 Howdy folks, Golf Magazine's Steve Beslow to take you through the early afternoon (or, depending on where you are, late morning) rounds. Huge props to Mike Walker, who's been a one-man-wrecking crew in Wales this week. 12:17 p.m. Jiminez and Hanson square their match with Woods and Stricker with a birdie on the par-3 third. 12:15 p.m. The final match of this group will be a repeat of the best match of the morning: Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell vs. Stewart Cink and Matt Kuchar. 12:10 p.m. Padraig Harrington sighting on the third hole. After the only birdie-less opening round, Paddy makes one on the par-3 third to even he and Fisher's match against Mickelson and Dustin Johnson. 12:08 p.m. The Molinari brothers win the fifth hole with a par to even their match with Mahan and Zach Johnson. 12:06 p.m. Golf.com's David Dusek on Fowler's rookie mistake on the fourth hole: Rickie Fowler drops the ball he had in his pocket, not the ball Furyk hit off the tee, when getting relief. Loss of hole. Whoops. Westwood/Kaymer now 2-up through 4. 12:01 p.m. Tiger's putt on burns the edge (again) with his putt on 2, but Jiminez misses his as well. This match will likely stay square through 2. 12 p.m. Harrington hits a sweet approach on the par-5 second but Ross Fisher misses the birdie try. Mickelson/Johnson 1-up through 2. 11:57 a.m. Luke Donald and Ian Poulter take a 1-up lead over Bubba Watson and Jeff Overton on the first hole. 11:53 a.m. Zach Johnson and Hunter Mahan take a 1-up lead on the Molinari brothers with a par on No. 4. 11:52 a.m. Reader Brian Sullivan writes: I think there is a decent chance this turns into a USA rout. Westwood seems to be the only Euro playing well. Shhhhhhhh! That's like talking about a no-hitter. 11:50 a.m. Johnny Miller: "18 pars will win half the matches." 11:49 a.m. Pars for Fowler/Furyk and Westwood/Kaymer on No. 3. Europe still up 1. 11:47 a.m. Stricker makes a nice approach after Woods' wayward drive. Jiminez and Hanson make bogey and Stricker and Woods go to the second hole 1-up. I think this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. 11:45 a.m. Bubba Watson and Captain America Jeff Overton on the first tee against Ian Poulter and Luke Donald. 11:43 a.m. Question for you to think about while you wait for Padraig Harrington to line up a putt: Does playing six alternate shot matches at once favor the Europeans? SI's Mark Godich thinks it does: Pavin didn't seem especially thrilled about the prospect of sending all of his bombers out there in alternate shot (though the way Overton played this morning might change that). Plus, the Euros seem to be a bit more accurate off the tee. 11:38 a.m. The Westwood/Kaymer team just keeps rolling, winning the second hole to go 1-up on Fowler/Furyk. Meanwhile, Mickelson/Johnson win the first hole after a Fisher/Harrington make a double. 11:36 a.m. SI's Mark Godich says the Harrington/Fisher match might be good for Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson: Playing against Harrington might be just what Mickelson and Dustin Johnson need to get going. Harrington just doesn't seem to have it. 11:35 a.m. Woods drives it way left, while Hanson is safely in the fairway. Advantage: Europe. 11:33 a.m. Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker on the first tee against Miguel Angel Jiminez and Peter Hanson. Star power vs. Cigar power. 11:30 a.m. Longtime Friend of the Blog Brian Sullivan writes: By the time he retires, Westy could be the all time King of Euro Ryder Cup. He does great in these. Yup, tall order for Fowler and Furyk today. 11:28 a.m. The Molinari Brothers square the match after Mahan/Johnson make a bogey on two when Zach misses a putt. Do you think you'd play better or worst with a family member? For example, my brother and I are frequent partners in hi-lo-jack but it's a little volatile if someone makes a bad play. 11:26 a.m. Sports Illustrated's Gary Van Sickle is not a fan of the 18th at Celtic Manor: Looks like we've got new contender for worst Ryder Cup hole ever: 18th at Celtic Manor. Balls land past pin, still go in water. Not cool. 11:23 a.m. Ross Fisher/Padraig Harrington vs. Phil Mickelson/Dustin Johnson on the first tee. Dustin Johnson didn't play well in the morning and I'm starting to think he doesn't respond well to pressure. 11:22 a.m. Sports Illustrated's Alan Shipnuck check in via Twitter: Love the Zach/Hunter pairing. Both are fiery, precise, and can roll the rock. The Flying Molinari Bros. need to bring their A-game. 11:20 a.m. Westwood/Kaymer halve the first hole with Fowler/Furyk. 11:17 a.m. Sports Illustrated senior editor Mark Godich says the morning matches were a big win for Captain Pavin: Pavin has to be ecstatic. He got nothing out of Tiger and Phil, yet the U.S. is up a point. And this after sitting Furyk, Mahan and Zach Johnson. 11:13 a.m. That didn't take long. Hunter Mahan makes his birdie putt and he and Mahan and 1-up over the Molinaris through one. 11:10 a.m. It would be nice if Fowler could share some of that great hair with Furyk. 11:09 a.m. Jim Furyk and Rickie Fowler on the tee (aka Team USA's nothing-in-common pairing) is on the first tee. They're playing Europe's heavyweight team of Westwood and Kaymer. 11:06 a.m. Reader Alex writes: When I heard that Pavin's wife had a hand in designing the rain gear, I said to myself: "That's absurd." It's really gone too far with the wives in the Ryder Cup. In what other sporting event do spouses do ANYTHING? Here, they march in the opening ceremonies, they get uniforms like the players — and now they are taking part in equipment decisions affecting the competition. Can't the PGA pay someone for this? You know, a professional designer? It's like my mother helping to sew costumes for the school play because we have no money. Sorry, Alex. i'm over the rain suits. You needed scuba gear at Celtic Manor yesterday. The guys didn't like their rain gear so they bought new ones. Story over. Waterproofgate was a nice diversion during the rain delay if you couldn't find a bar, but I'm moving on. 11:04 a.m. The Brothers Molinari and Mahan/Johnson teams all find the green on No. 1 and Zach sticks his approach closer. 10:59 a.m. Friend of the Blog Charlie Hanger still can't get over Tiger's flubbed chip on 18: That was nuts. you do not see pros do that, especially tiger. whoa Yes, you can't give Tiger much better than a C for his play. He disappeared on the back nine. Still, a win's a win and he and Stricker play well together. 10:55 a.m. One thing you know about this Zach Johnson/Hunter Mahan pairing: They'll wear their sunglasses until it rains. They're playing against the Molinari brothers in alternate shot in the first match of the second round. 10:50 a.m. Reader Brian Rosenwald chimes in on Tiger and Phil's poor Ryder Cup records: There's another reason you hear about Tiger's Ryder cup struggles more than Phil. Before his singles match against Philip Price at the Belfrey in 2002, Phil was an outstanding Ryder Cupper. You can argue that if Lanny Wadkins plays him 5 matches in 1995, instead of 3, that the U.S. may have won the extra half point it needed to retain the cup. So he didn't get the rep in of being a poor Ryder Cupper unlike Tiger. He also clearly loves the event. Couldn't have said it better, Brian. Really. Can you handle any Mickelson questions that come up in the comments today? 10:44 a.m. Poulter misses right and the morning goes to the Americans. Woods/Stricker win by 1 over Poulter/Fisher. Scoreboard after the first round: USA 2.5, Europe 1.5. 10:43 a.m. Fisher's putt never had a chance. It's all on Poulter now. 10:41 a.m. Can't fault Fisher and Poulter for surveying this 18th green like Mason and Dixon. They've got some important putts coming up. 10:37 a.m. Tiger flubs his chip from the rough, goes maybe 15 feet. His second one is much better, but Sticker will be carrying the weight here. Just like he did on most of this back nine. 10:35 a.m. Stricker nestles his approach in closely. That could be it since the Americans already lead this match by one. 10:34 a.m. Fisher plays a similar shot to Poulter and will have a similar length putt left. 10:32 a.m. Poulter plays it safely to the middle of the green where he'll have a birdie chance. News must have gotten to these guys about Rory's ball hitting the green and spinning back into the water. 10:31 a.m. You know it's a great 18th hole when the 100-yard approach shots are exciting. 10:29 a.m. Standing on 18 with the crowds lining the fairway and surrounding the green Tiger looks heroic standing over his ball. Unfortunately he misses way left, and he'll have a tough shot from the greenside gallery. 10:27 a.m. Stricker, Poulter and Fisher all lay up on 18, but Tiger is going for the green. 10:22 a.m. Pairings announced for today's six foursomes (aka alternate shot) pairings:
Match No. 1
Jiminez/Hanson vs. Woods/Stricker
Match No. 2
E. Molinari/F. Molinari vs. Z. Johnson/Mahan
Match No. 3
Westwood/Kaymer vs. Furyk/Fowler
Match No. 4
Poulter/Donald vs. Watson/Overton
Match No. 5
McDowell/McIlroy vs. Cink/Kuchar
Match No. 6
Harrington/Fisher vs. Mickelson/D. Johnson
What do you think? Leave your comments below. 10:19 a.m. Bubba is loose after his win. Asked about his partner Overton, Bubba jokes, "I don't even like him. Look at him, he's ugly."
Tiger hits a bomb that find fairway on 18, and Sticker is in the bunker. Poulter in fairway but much shorter, as is Fisher. Advantage: USA. 10:18 a.m. Tiger makes a decent putt on 17 but it runs past the hole left. The final match of the morning goes to the dramatic 18 with Team USA up 1. 10:16 a.m. Captain Corey Pavin's gamble just paid off big. The rookie pairing of Overton and Bubba Watson take out Luke Donald and Padraid Harrington 3 & 2. Scoreboard: USA 1.5, Europe 1.5. 10:15 a.m. Tiger will have a birdie putt to win the match on 17. 10:12 a.m. The guys are taking a long time over their putts on 17. More grinders here than a New Haven sandwich shop. 10:08 a.m. Jeff Overton is making this Ryder Cup his own. Another great approach on 16 and this match might not see 17. Team USA leads this match by 3. 10:05 a.m. Tiger Woods moment from Tiger Woods. He sticks his tee shot on the par-3 17th and will have a nice look at birdie. 10:03 a.m. Woods/Stricker are 1-up through 16 over Poulter/Fisher in the match that will likely decide the morning. 10:01 a.m. Kuchar misses his putt by about an inch left. Europe concedes that par. McDowell drains a 3-footer and this match ends even. Half-point to each side. Scoreboard: Europe: 1.5, USA .5. 10 a.m. McDowell leaves his birdie try just a little short. Kuchar will have a chance to putt for the match. 9:59 a.m. Overton/Watson are 3-up with three to play on Donald/Harrington, which means Team USA will get at least a half-point here. 9:57 a.m. From the drop area, Rory hits what looks like a nice wedge before it spins off the green and down into the water. With the front pin, this hole is a thrill ride. 9:54 a.m. Kuchar hits a high-pressure wedge to about 15 feet on 18. Under these circumstances, an incredible shot.
The U.S. Open champ McDowell's shot looks even better at first, but it spins back past the flag and threatens to roll off the green and into the water before it stops. Both putts look about the same distance, but McDowell gets to putt uphill. 9:53 a.m. Both Kuchar and McDowell laid up on 18 so this match will come down to them. 9:51 a.m. Cink goes for the green on 18 and misses right, catching the slope and then rolling back into the water to loud cheers from the hometown crowd. Rory takes aim at the 18th green as well and dunks it right into the water. Silence. 9:46 a.m. Reader Beau Waterside writes: Phil's record in Ryder Cups can't be much better than Tiger's, especially lately, but he doesn't get dinged as much on it. Should Pavin have brought AK along, if only to pair with Phil? Phil's Ryder Cup record is 10-15-6 while Tiger is 9-13-2. Neither guy has a great highlight reel from this event but Woods should get the nod due to his excellent play in singles. (He hasn't been beaten in singles since 1997.) The reason you hear more about Tiger' Ryder Cup struggles is that for ten year the storyline has been "Tiger is the greatest player ever" so his Ryder Cup record was more noteworthy than Mickelson's. Long story short: Neither guy is particularly good in this format.
And yes, I would have liked to see Anthony Kim here, but he'll have plenty more Ryder Cups. 9:45 a.m. McIroy, McDowell, Cink and Kuchar all hit great drives on 18. Match square. Should be fun. 9:43 a.m. Ross Fisher sinks his second big putt in a row to halve the 15th hole with Woods/Stricker. Team USA leads this match by 1. 9:41 a.m. You'll be hearing a lot about the par-5 18th this weekend. It's a reachable par-5 with water in front. Classic risk/reward hole and it should make for some exciting finishes. 9:38 a.m. Stewart Cink thought he had the line on his birdie putt on 17 but it turns left just at the end. McIlroy/McDowell get to all square with Kuchar/Cink going to 18. 9:35 a.m. The Ryder Cup legend begins? McIlroy drains a long birdie putt on the par-3 17th. 9:30 a.m. Another halved hole for Cink/Kuchar-McIlroy/McDowell match. Team USA 1-up with two to play in this one. 9:27 a.m. Stricker drives the green on the par-4 15th and he'll have a great look at eagle. Tiger not so good, sprays a 3-wood into the crowd. 9:25 a.m. Overton/Watson 3-up through 13 on Donald/Harrington. Struggling Harrington is the only guy on the course without a birdie. 9:22 a.m. Woods/Stricker halve the 14th with Pouler/Fisher. Team USA leads this match by 1. 9:19 a.m. Imagine that reader Edward delivered his comments in the voice of Robert Duvall: You see that color son? That's lavender. Nothing else in the world looks like it. You know just yesterday we were drenched in a miserable rain soaked outfit and the future looked bleak. But then we broke out the lavender. I love the sight of lavender in the morning. It looks like VICTORY!!! 9:15 a.m. McIlroy, McDowell, Cink and Kuchar all drive it in the fairway on 16. Team USA leads this match by 1. 9:11 a.m. Reader Blue Springs responds to my accusations that the Europeans might have been too confident coming into this Ryder Cup: True, the Europeans may have felt confident enough to focus less on good golf and more on good clothes. Benefit of being the underdog, perhaps you prepare harder. . .(I hope there is no equivalent of the announcer's curse for bloggers . . .) Hey, it's not just me. Some of the European writers are wondering if Team Europe rode a little too blithely into this Ryder Cup. 9:09 a.m. Phil Mickelson has about 12 feet to halve the hole…and he doesn't come close. Team Europe wins the first match of the 2010 Ryder Cup as Westwood/Kaymer defeat Mickelson/Johnson 3 & 2. 9:08 a.m. Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson in deep trouble on 16. Lee Westwood will have a chance to putt for the match. 9:04 a.m. Scoreboard update:
Lee Westwood/Martin Kaymer
2 up through 15
Phil Mickelson/Dustin Johnson
Stewart Cink/Matt Kuchar
1 up through 13
Graeme McDowell/Rory McIlroy
Tiger Woods/Steve Stricker
1-up through 13
Ian Poulter/Ross Fisher
Jeff Overton/Bubba Watson
3-up through 12
Padraig Harrington/Luke Donald 9 a.m. Reader Eric Johnson writes: Sitting in Paris airport waiting for flight to Mumbai, thanks for keeping the blog while in sunny Wales. Lavender sweaters hey how bout Lavender Hill Mob or Project Runway or Hitting the Purple Patch or Purple Pros Glamorous life you're living there, Eric. I like Project Runway for the Name Team USA contest. BTW, everyone who submits a name for Team USA in their lavender sweater should check the blog later today. If you win, I'm going to need your address to send you a hat. I am still waiting to hear from Dr. Beeper who won the PGA Championship Live Blog contest. 8:58 a.m. Meet you new American Ryder Cup hero: Jeff Overton. Makes his second-straight birdie on 12 to win the hole. He and Bubba Watson are 3-up over Padraig Harrington and Luke Donald, who probably didn't know which one was Bubba and which one was Jeff on the first hole. 8:57 a.m. Tiger and Stricker both miss their birdie putts on 13. Hole halved. USA 1-up in this match. 8:55 a.m. Rory makes a solid 8-footer to halve the 14th hole after Kuchar made a nice putt. USA 1-up in this match. 8:52 a.m. Woods and Sticker are both in great position on the par-3 13th. Maybe we've finally found Tiger a playing partner. He's had more partners than Goldman Sachs. 8:48 a.m. Reader Blue Springs writes: I love lavender, but I have to give the point to the Europeans today. The Americans look as if they are on their way to Easter brunch. No question Europe won the opening ceremony and the uniforms, but so far it looks like Monty might have forgotten his team needs to win the tournament too. 8:47 a.m. Phil misses his 10-footer to try to save the 15th hole. Westwood makes his birdie. Westwood/Kaymer now 2 up on Mickeson/Johnson with just three holes to play. 8:45 a.m. Stricker is feeling hit. Drops a dart to about 10 feet on the par-3 13th. 8:42 a.m. Lee Westwood drives the green on the reachable par-4 15th. Phil has a 10-footer for birdie. Kaymer has a short one for birdie and Westwood is lining up his eagle putt. Johnson out of the hole. Advantage: Europe. 8:40 a.m. Stricker delivers a huge blow for the Americans, holing a chip from behind the 12th green. The shot gets a 10, his low-five with Tiger gets a solid 7. USA 1-up through 12. 8:37 a.m. Luke Donald makes a 10-footer to halve the hole and stay just two down to Watson and Overton. Donald has been carrying Harrington to just keep this match close. 8:33 a.m. Scoreboard update: Lee Westwood/Martin Kaymer1 up through 14Phil Mickelson/Dustin Johnson Stewart Cink/Matt Kuchar1 up through 13Graeme McDowell/Rory McIlroyIan Poulter/Ross FisherAll square through 11Tiger Woods/Steve StrickerJeff Overton/Bubba Watson2-up through 11Padraig Harrington/Luke Donald 8:31 a.m. Reader Alex writes: ESPN has the "live" bug on the screen, but some shot details in blogs are coming before I see them on TV. How can that be? All I can tell you is that I'm not writing from the future. Maybe since today's matches were originally going to be on tape delay, ESPN feels it needs to make the distinction. I guess it depends what your definition of "live" is. 8:29 a.m. Lee Westwood's putt to win the hole on 14 just lips out (moments after Phil almost drained a long one). No blood. This match goes to 15 with Europe 1-up. 8:28 a.m. That roar you heard was Rory's first Ryder Cup birdie. He and Graeme McDowell win the hole, now 1 behind Stewart Cink and Matt Kuchar. 8:25 a.m. Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy both have chances to win the hole on the par-3 13th. 8:23 a.m. Woods and Stricker stay even with Poulter and Fisher through 12. 8:20 a.m. Longtime Friend of the Blog Charlie Hanger writes: Morning' Mike. Looks like it's cooooold out there. Not as bad as it looks on TV and it should warm up quickly. Would be great football weather. 8:18 a.m. Great chance for birdie and the hole for Matt Kuchar on 12, but he misses it right. He and Cink still 2-up on the Northern Ireland pairing of Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell. 8:14 a.m. Bubba Watson makes a birdie to win the 10th hole. He and fellow rookie Jeff Overton are now 2-up on Luke Donald and Padraig Harrington. Murmurings in the press tent about European arrogance going into the Ryder Cup. 8:12 a.m. Tiger misses a wedge left on the par-5 11th and then lets God know that he was not pleased the shot. 8:08 a.m. Westwood misses a birdie putt on 13, which would have won the hole. Halved. Westwood/Kaymer still 1-up on Mickelson. BTW, the Americans made Kaymer putt from about 2 feet. No gimmes here. 8:06 a.m. It's quiet in this blog. Too quiet. I've got a nice Golf Magazine hat to give away to the person who comes up with the best name for the U.S. in their lavender sweaters today. You know, like the Purple People Eaters, but better. So send your suggestions below. 8:04 a.m. In the battle of the heavyweights (Mickelson/Johnson vs. Westwood/Kaymer) all four players are on the green at the par-3 13th with Kaymer closest. At one point the U.S. was down 3 and then Phil made three-straight birdies. 8 a.m. And we're back! It's Day 2 from Celtic Manor and the players from Friday morning fourballs are back on the course. If you forget about the 7-hour rain delay, we had some really good matches on Friday. Here's where things stand:
Lee Westwood/Martin Kaymer 1-up through 12 over Phil Mickelson/Dustin Johnson
Stewart Cink/Matt Kuchar 2-up through 11 over Rory McIlroy/Graeme McDowell
Tiger Woods/Steve Stricker all square through 11 with Ian Poulter/Ross Fisher
Bubba Watson/Jeff Overton 1-up through 9 over Luke Donald/Padraig Harrington