EUROPE DEFEATS USA- 14-13 WINS RYDER CUP / TIGER, PHIL UNBEATABLE AT PING PONG
[PHOTO -Sept. 30, 2012: Europe's Martin Kaymer celebrates with Sergio Garcia after winning the Ryder Cup PGA golf tournament at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. (AP)]
MEDINAH, ILLINOIS, OCTOBER 1, 2012 (FOX NEWS ONLINE) Published September 30, 2012 Associated Press -Europe has won the Ryder Cup, completing an historic comeback from a 4-point deficit to beat the United States.
Martin Kaymer delivered the crucial point with a 1-up victory over Steve Stricker on Sunday, and Tiger Woods missed from inside four feet to halve his match with Francesco Molinari. The Europeans finished with 14 1/2 points while the Americans had 13 1/2.
When Kaymer rolled in the 6-footer to clinch the cup, he threw up his arms in triumph and shook his fists. His teammates, surrounding the green and already on their feet, roared and began grabbing flags and hugging each other , fans -- anyone and anything that was in reach.
European captain Jose Maria Olazabal, watching from the middle of the fairway, closed his eyes and looked skyward. This was the first Ryder Cup without the late Seve Ballesteros, Europe's greatest player, and Olazabal had repeatedly invoked the memory of his good friend.
It was a brutal loss for the Americans, who were poised to win the Ryder Cup for only the third time since 1999 after taking a 10-4 lead midway through Saturday afternoon's matches. But the Europeans rallied to win the final two, then built on the lead by winning the first five matches Sunday.
Tiger Woods off to yet another horrific start in Ryder Cup play Fri, Sep 28, 2012 1:10 PM EDT... Martin Rogers YAHOO! SPORTS NEWS
[PHOTO - TIGER REACTS AFTER MISSING A PUT ON THE THIRTD HOLE AP]
MEDINAH, Ill. – Tiger Woods survived the potential humiliation of being benched for the first time in his Ryder Cup career despite a dismal showing on the opening morning.
Woods was in dreadful form as he and foursomes partner Steve Stricker were defeated 2 and 1 by Europe's Justin Rose and Ian Poulter on Friday morning, prompting speculation from commentators and the gallery that U.S. team captain Davis Love III would sit him out of the afternoon session.
Tiger Woods reacts after missing a putt on the third hole. (AP)The 14-time major champion had played every possible match in his previous six Ryder Cup appearances despite a winning percentage of less than .500; he was 13-14-2 heading into this event. Yet never had he showed form as bad as this, shanking and pulling several drives into the assorted Medinah foliage.
However, Love, who insisted before the competition that he would leave it up to Woods to decide how regularly he wanted to play, resisted the temptation to sit him for the fourballs round on Friday afternoon, where they'll face Lee Westwood and Nicolas Colsaerts.
"Tiger is pretty easy," Love said earlier in the week. "I just ask him if he wants to play three, four or five matches, and there's a lot of guys that want to play with him."
Instead of benching the pairing of Woods and Stricker, who in one seven-hole stretch posted four bogies and two birdies, Love ditched the winning combination of rookie Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson, who beat Lee Westwood and Francisco Molinari 3 and 2 and reveled in the hometown support.
Along with Sergio Garcia, who was totally out of sorts for the European team, Woods was perhaps the weakest player on the course during the morning session. The yips started on Hole 1, when Woods yanked his first swing into the trees on the left, leaving Stricker with a lie near the entrance to the Ted Ray Village hospitality tent. At that point, Woods became a course marshal, first shuffling the crowd back behind the entrance to the hospitality tent, then past its outside edge and finally a tree.
Ironically, one of his worst mishaps kept his pairings alive in their match, when his drive on the 15th was 30 feet off course, only to clank into a tree and bounce back toward the green. Alas, it was nowhere near enough for him and Stricker to stave off impending defeat.
[Related: Phil Mickelson/Keegan Bradley draw first blood]
Rose and Poulter were not at their best, but showed slightly more consistency to record a relatively comfortable win.
Woods has fond memories at Medinah Country Club, having won two PGA Championships here in 1999 and 2006, but was unable to piece his swing together Friday morning, much to his obvious frustration. Many thought it would effectively force Love's hand and lead to the previously unthinkable situation of arguably the greatest player in history being rested while his teammates went out to wage afternoon battle.
It would have been a bold step for Love to axe him, but given Woods' desperate form, sending him back into the fray may be an even bolder one.
The morning foursomes ended tied at 2-2, with Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell edging out a late comeback from Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker, and Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley beating up on Garcia and Luke Donald.
Pingpong passion stokes U.S. Ryder Cup team's competitive fires Thu, Sep 27, 2012 2:31 PM EDT By Jay Hart is a Senior Editor for Yahoo! Sports
[PHOTO -Phil Mickelson has had a tough time measuring up to Matt Kuchar in pingpong. (Getty Images)]
MEDINAH, Ill. – Perhaps the fiercest competition during this weekend's Ryder Cup will not take place on the golf course, but rather in the United States' team room.
Phil Mickelson has had a tough time measuring up to Matt Kuchar in pingpong. (Getty Images)That's where three pingpong tables have been set up in what's become a Ryder Cup tradition amongst U.S. players. The original intent was to build camaraderie, and to that end it worked – if you are to believe Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods ironed out some of their differences over a game of table tennis.
Lately, though, the games have taken on a more serious tone, with Mickelson and Matt Kuchar bringing their own paddles packed away in special cases.
"The Ryder Cup is all about pingpong, everybody," Bubba Watson declared Thursday. "When you bring your own paddles in cases, a briefcase with a paddle in it, then obviously it's about pingpong. … It's nuts."
While tongue in cheek, there is some truth to Watson's claim that the Ryder Cup is all about pingpong. When asked about how his relationship with Woods has evolved over the course of the six Ryder Cup teams they've been on together, Mickelson announced to a packed press room that while they haven't had a lot of success on the course, "as partners on the pingpong table, he and I are delivering."
"We are serving it up, and there are not many guys that can match us on the pong table."
[Related: Can Rory keep up with Tiger's career arc?]
That may be true in doubles; singles, however, is another story.
Kuchar is the unquestioned king of the table-top court. He started playing when he was young with his father. In what became a nightly routine, they'd head out to the garage, unfold the table and play.
In golf terms, Kuchar rates himself a "1 or 2" handicap in pingpong.
"It's been fun bonding, because there is that ability to kind of go out and be boys and kind of feel like you're in the locker room while you're competing against each other," Kuchar said of the pingpong competitions inside the American's team room.
Fun for most, but maybe not so much for Mickelson. According to Watson, this week Kuchar and Mickelson played five points against one another, with Kuchar winning all five.
"So he quit," Watson explained. "Phil Mickelson pouts ever time we make him play Matt Kuchar. Love you, Phil."
[Related: Blame Tiger Woods for Team USA's recent run of failure at Ryder Cup]
Watson also says that he and Jason Dufner "dominated" Mickelson and Jeff Sluman in doubles.
"Mickelson is still mad about it," Watson said. "He hates anytime I beat him because I'm just this goofy left-handed kid named Bubba.
"So anytime I can beat Phil Mickelson, I like to rub it in his face. So on that one, I do disrespect my own teammates when it comes to pingpong."
Phil Mickelson-Tiger Woods unbeatable – at ping pong By Eurosport | Bunker Mentality – Sat, Sep 22, 2012 12:15 BST.. . .
If the Ryder Cup was decided on a ping pong table and not a golf course, Matt Kuchar would be the US ace and the Phil Mickelson-Tiger Woods doubles partnership would be pretty much unbeatable.
The Americans have turned to another sort of little white ball this week to help promote team bonding before they begin the task of wresting the famous trophy back from the Europeans at the stately Medinah Country Club.
"We've got unbelievably fast thoroughbreds here and if you don't ever let them out in the pasture to kick their heels up and eat some grass and keep them in the stall and make them run hard all the time, they're never going to run," US Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III explained.
"So we're just letting them be themselves."
Board games have also been part of the US team preparations but on Wednesday the table tennis was the centre of attention.
"It's clear that Kuch is the best," Love added. "They can't beat him, it's just a matter of how close you came. But Phil improves every year.
"We have multiple guys that have their own paddles now. If we have an injury this week, it'll probably be somebody stepping on a ping-pong ball because they're everywhere.
"But it's fun and it's great to see."
While the relative prowess of the Americans at the table was the focus of light-hearted competition on Wednesday, things will quickly get serious when the Europeans open the defence of their crown on Friday.
The Europeans have walked away with the trophy four of the last five events and one of their trump cards has been an all-for-one, one-for-all team chemistry.
The Americans have found it more difficult to blend their undoubted talents into an effective team at recent versions of the biennial event.
Woods and Mickelson, for example, may have been blowing the competition away on the ping pong table but they have come up short as a Ryder Cup partnership.
At Oakland Hills, Michigan in 2004, captain Hal Sutton played the ultimate hunch matching Woods with his long-time rival in a one-two combination that failed miserably.
"We've not had much success together on the course but I will say that as partners on the pong table, he and I are delivering," Mickelson said.
"We are serving it up and there are not many guys that can match us on the pong table.
"Although we didn't play well together in '04 on the golf course, put us together on that table and we're rocking it." ... . .. . . .. .
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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