Ryder Cup 2016: Breaking Down the Sunday Singles Matches

October 2, 2016

CHASKA, Minn. – Here’s how Sunday’s singles matches shape up in my view from the media center. I’ve had a perfect record predicting the matches all week, and I’d like to thank Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton for doing the fact-checking on that.

Match No. 1 – 12:04 p.m. ET

Patrick Reed vs. Rory McIlroy

Welcome to Clash of the Titans. Rory is playing like he wants to beat the American team by himself, and the same goes for Reed. You won’t see pleasantries being exchanged. This is Seve Ballesteros versus Lanny Wadkins all over again, two guys who live and breathe Ryder Cup. Rory’s best is better than Reed’s best, though, but will it be enough?

The call: Europe.

Match No. 2 – 12:15 p.m. ET

Jordan Spieth vs. Henrik Stenson

You wouldn’t know Stenson is playing on a damaged knee. He’s been an ironman and playing terrific. Spieth has played very well, too, but Stenson’s straight driving will be pitted against Spieth’s erratic driving. That may offset Spieth’s superior putting.

The call: Europe.

Match No. 3 – 12:26 p.m. ET

J.B. Holmes vs. Thomas Pieters

All Holmes did was rack up seven birdies Saturday afternoon and carry Ryan Moore to a big point. Pieters had five birdies and an eagle and kinda carried McIlroy Saturday afternoon. All eyes will be on the first two matches, but this one is just as big. Holmes is better-rested and underrated.

The call: United States.

Match No. 4 – 12:37 p.m. ET

Rickie Fowler vs. Justin Rose

Rose has been coming up big all week with Stenson, and while Fowler has made some big shots around the greens, he’s been spraying it off the tees. Rose may be a little low on gas after playing four matches to Fowler’s two, but right now, he’s got more ammunition.

The call: Europe.

Match No. 5 – 12:48 p.m. ET

Jimmy Walker vs. Rafael Cabrera-Bello

The Spaniard made a nice team with Garcia, but he’s no big hitter. Hazeltine may play long for him. Walker hasn’t had his best stuff all week, but he’s the PGA champ, and he may be better flying solo.

The call: United States.

Match No. 6 – 12:59 p.m. ET

Phil Mickelson vs. Sergio Garcia

It’s been a great week for Sergio, whose ballstriking and putting has kept him in every match. He’s got guts, and he’s a Ryder Cup legend. Mickelson had his putter working Saturday afternoon, carding five birdies. He’ll drive it all over the lot again, but hey, he’s used to it.

The call: United States.

Match No. 7 – 1:10 p.m. ET

Ryan Moore vs. Lee Westwood

A couple of dreadful short misses with the putter knocked Westwood and the Euros’ chances down on Saturday. Moore hasn’t hit it the way he can, but he’s putted very well. His putter gets the edge over Westwood’s ballstriking.

The call: United States.

Match No. 8 – 1:21 p.m. ET

Brandt Snedeker vs. Andy Sullivan

Nobody has seen Sneds, as he is known, this fired up before. He holed putts playing with Brooks Koepka and practically breathed fire. He’s definitely got the hot putter. Sullivan is on a mission to atone for dunking a shot in the drink on the 17th hole in the opening session, the only one he got to play, and letting down Rory. Sneds is hot, but this could be an upset.

The call: Europe.

Match No. 9 – 1:32 p.m. ET

Dustin Johnson vs. Chris Wood

The Europeans may look back and wished they’d gotten Wood into more games. He looked pretty strong Saturday. Johnson is a beast, though, and a player nobody wants to match up against.

The call: United States.

Match No. 10 – 1:43 p.m. ET

Brooks Koepka vs. Danny Willett

The Masters champ showed his mettle in the afternoon, and he’s plenty well-rested, having played only twice. He’s another guy the Euros may wish they had gone to more often. Koepka had some good moments. He also had, uh, a shank, but he bounced back from it nicely.

The call: Europe.

Match No. 11 – 1:54 p.m. ET

Matt Kuchar vs. Martin Kaymer

The German has been off his game all week, while Kuchar has been spotty. If the Cup comes down to this 11th game, it’s going to be pretty interesting. At least Kuchar made four birdies Saturday. Kaymer contributed only two and a bunch of pars.

The call: United States.

Match No. 12 – 2:05 p.m. ET

Zach Johnson vs. Matthew Fitzpatrick

Johnson provided a cool highlight in the afternoon when he and Snedeker went into the stands and donned some red, white and blue Vikings gear. Fitzpatrick had a decent debut until he hit into the water in foursomes at the 16th hole and erased the Euros’ last chance. Johnson has shown a mix of good shots and average ones. Fitzpatrick hits a lot of greens in regulation, he’s steady.

The call: Europe.

Projected final score: U.S. 15.5, Europe 12.5.