US's 5-3 lead reminds of Medinah meltdown

2016-10-01 10:36
Davis Love III (Gallo Images)

Chaska - US captain Davis Love has no problem with a 5-3 lead over Europe after Friday's opening Ryder Cup matches, even though that margin has heralded doom for the Americans twice before.

The United States swept foursomes matches for a 4-0 lead, its best start since 1975, but Europe's 3-1 fightback in four-ball left the Americans clinging to a familiar lead entering Saturday's identical format.

"Happy to be 5-3," Love said.

"No two ways about it, being ahead is great. Keep telling our guys, there's eight points a day and 12 on Sunday. There's a lot of points out there still."

But since the Cup expanded to a European team from British and Irish in 1979, only twice has the US enjoyed a 5-3 edge. The first time was in 1995, when a last-day rally brought Europe a 14 1/2 - 13 1/2 win.

The second Love knows all too well. It came in 2012 at Medinah, known as the "Miracle at Medinah" because after the US team outscored Europe 5-3 on Friday and Saturday, the visitors made the greatest last-day comeback in Ryder Cup history for another 14 1/2 - 13 1/2 victory.

"Sunday is very important," Love said.

"We have to set a goal and we have to pace ourselves and we have to be rested. We need them to be ready for tomorrow afternoon and we need them to be ready for Sunday.

"You just can't forget about Sunday and getting enough rest... 12 points on Sunday is a big day."

So third time charmed for the USA on 5-3 leads? Maybe. But Love has turned his back on the past for this year's Cup, noting several times that this collection of 12 has never been together.

They aren't the ones who have dropped three in a row to Europe, and six of the past seven and eight of the past 10.

"This team has never played together before. This is a new 12," Love said.

"It's a fresh start. We're not looking at past records. We're looking at tomorrow."

Love will start three winning foursomes duos from Friday again, with Rory McIlroy having another chance at Americans Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler, this time alongside Belgian Thomas Pieters.

McIlroy, who won 3 and 2 with Pieters in four-ball, lost to Mickelson and Fowler alongside English rookie Andy Sullivan 1 up in foursomes.

The Europe duo led 2-up with four holes to play before dropping three in a row and halving the last to go point-less in the first session for only the third time in Cup history.

Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed, who split two matches against Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson, meet Spaniards Sergio Garcia and Rafa Cabrera Bello, who won in four-ball.

Jimmy Walker, who won the PGA Championship in July, and two-time major winner Zach Johnson, will meet the English duo of Rose and Cup dbutante Chris Wood.

Read more on:    ryder cup  |  davis love iii  |  golf

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