Europeans Stretch Ryder Cup Lead

After a 3½-½ advantage from the morning fourballs, Europe stretched their lead to 6½-1½ in day 1’s afternoon foursomes.

Monty and HarringtonDespite the alarming amount of bleach in their collective hairstyles, Team Europe stretched their lead to 6½-1½ after day one following a 3-1 victory in the afternoon foursomes.

The talking point will of course be the pairing of Woods and Mickelson, who lost their second match of the day. Three up after 4 against Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood, the “Dream Team” were pegged back to all square by the 10th, and fell 1 down on 11, where they remained until they won the 17th. With the momentum seemingly on their side on the 18th tee, Mickelson hit a wayward drive into a position from which Woods could only drop and punch out down the fairway. An average wedge by Mickelson’s standards left Woods with a 15-footer for bogey, which he missed – double bogey. After Darren Clarke left his par attempt within gimme range, matchplay’s cardinal sin of losing a hole to bogey had been committed, giving the Europeans the hole and the point.

Well, That Hurt…

The US Ryder Cup team gets spanked in the early morning four-balls.

Chris DiMarcoWhat was that about the importance of the four-ball matches?

Most people would think that, if you pair together Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods – unquestionably two of the best golfers in the world – that they’d win their four-ball match. Sadly for the US Ryder Cup team, nothing could be further from the truth. Woods and Mickelson lost their four-ball match two and one to Colin Montgomerie and Padraig Harrington, capping off a morning of four-ball losses and a European lead, 3½ to ½.

Rhythm = Distance

Rhythm and Balance are the keys to distance from the tee.

Too many golfers believe that raw power = distance from the tee. If the power is misdirected, then you may as well spend the energy forking over cash to your buddies at the end of the round. Rhythm promotes balance, and balance promotes clean ballstriking. Nick Price and Tom Watson may have a fast tempo, but they’ve maintained the same rhythm for 30 years. You get a lot more power making solid contact with the ball at the right moment in your swing than you do lashing wildly at the infuriating little white ball.

The US Advantage

Fred Funk sports US Flag golf shoes in Thursday’s practice round.

US Flag golf shoesOk, the US team is definitely going to win the Ryder Cup. Check out the shoes Fred Funk donned in Thursday’s practice round. Apparently he hiked up his pants every time he got to a green so everyone could get a good look. The crowd loved it, of course. It would be great it they were standard fare for all the US players.

Woods/Mickelson Vs. Montgomerie/Harrington

Lineups for the Friday matches at the Ryder Cup are set.

Friday morning, 8:10am local time to Bloomfield Hills, MI is the scheduled time for Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson to tee it up against Colin Montgomerie and Padraig Harrington. This is the best of the best going head to head. It should be a good one.

The other three matches of the day:

Darren Clarke and Miguel Angel Jimenez vs. Davis Love III and Chad Campbell
Luke Donald and Paul McGinley vs. Stewart Cink and Chris Riley
Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood vs. David Toms and Jim Furyk

Follow the leaderboard live here.

Callaway PreOwned Clubs

Check out for great deals on preowned Callaway clubs.

I’d just like to put out on the table my recommendation for Callaway’s website for certified preowned clubs. has great deals all the time, very low shipping costs, and what I believe to be the most important thing, a solid return policy. If the club(s) are returned within 15 days in the same condition you received them, you get a full refund. After that, their buy-back program kicks in. Return within 30 days, get 90% back; 60 days for 80% back and 90 days for 70% back. It’s practically renting the clubs, but in this day and age where feel is so important, it’s great to get a good deal, but knowing you can reject it if it’s not right without a significant penalty is comforting.

Get it in the Fairway

Get the ball in the fairway on tight holes to lower your scoring.

On tight holes, get the ball into the fairway. Let’s pretend that hole #4 at your club is a 450 yard hole with water right and OB left. You could hit driver or 3W, but if you hit into trouble even 50% of the time you may be better off playing 5I, 5I, PW and leaving yourself two putts for bogey – a far better average than triple, bogey, par, triple, quadruple, bogey, double. Get the ball in the fairway off the tee, and keep the ball there to score well on psych-out holes.

Mickelson Skips Practice

Phil Mickelson skipped Wednesday’s Ryder Cup practice.

phil_mickelson_callawayPhil Mickelson, world #4, skipped Wednesday’s practice. Mickelson told Sutton that he always rests the Wednesday before a major, and that he considers the Ryder Cup to be a major. Said Sutton: “Absolutely, don’t change your routine. You do what you have to do.”

Euro captain Bernhard Langer responded “I don’t know of any of my guys who would take a whole day off before a big competition.” Langer was not asked the follow-up question “how many of your players have won a major?”

Hal to Tiger: This Means Something!

Hal reminds Tiger that his Ryder Cup record will be used to judge him.

Hal Sutton has issued a challenge to the world’s best golfer in the Ryder Cup, Tiger Woods. Woods’ 5-8-2 record is hardly on par with his typical level of play, and doesn’t come close to mirroring his success in other match play championships such as the US Amateur.

Sutton emphasized to Tiger that, like it or not, his Ryder Cup record will be used to judge him in the future. Tiger responded, at a press conference, by saying “I’m sure all of you guys probably know what Jack’s record is in the Ryder Cup, right?” he said, looking around a crowded room and getting no takers. “Anybody? No?” (Nicklaus was 17-8-3.)