The European Ryder Cup Team are on the brink of history as they take a 10-6 lead into the final day singles looking to win all five sessions for the first time and win Samuel Ryder’s golden chalice for a record third successive time.
Never before have Europe have won all four sessions, remarkably all by the same 2 ½ - 1 ½ margin, and the United States will have to equal the biggest comeback in Ryder Cup history if they are to deny Ian Woosnam’s Team that historic hat-tick of victories.
Not surprisingly United States Captain Tom Lehman has put out some of his toughest competitors out early in the singles as he looks to turn the tide. Undoubtedly the Americans will come out fighting with David Toms, Stewart Cink, Jim Furyk and Tiger Woods leading the way but they will square up to Colin Montgomerie, who has never lost a singles match, Sergio Garcia, who has won all four matches so far this week, and the undefeated Paul Casey and Robert Karlsson respectively.
The strength in depth of the European Team is evident all the way through the singles line-up with Luke Donald, Paul McGinley, Darren Clarke and Henrik Stenson packing the middle order before David Howell, José Maria Olazábal, Lee Westwood and Padraig Harrington bring up the rearguard.
“We’re getting closer to out mark but we’ve just got to get over that hurdle tomorrow,” said Woosnam.
“I’ve got to say in strength in depth, the team is the strongest we’ve ever had. We came here playing as a team, and we’re still playing as a team, and that’s what we intend to play tomorrow, as a team.
“We’ve got such a strong 12 players here and you can mix-and-match with so many different players and that’s the beauty of it, and they’re all willing to play with anyone. Fortunately we got it right and we are four points ahead. That shows how strong the team is.”
All 12 players played for a second successive day and all will be well prepared for an American fightback. Eight of the European Team remain undefeated going into the singles with confidence riding high.
Colin Montgomerie, for so long Europe’s on course leader, was quick to praise the team. “I’m just proud to be part of such a great team, and I think that’s the word being used around the European camp right now,” he said. “We are a fantastic team and a unit and we’ll go out and want to win all five sessions for the first time ever. We’ve never won all five sessions and this is our golden opportunity.”
Europe have led 10-6 once before, at The Country Club in Brookline, when the United States last won The Ryder Cup. But Colin Montgomerie was quick to quash any comparisons.
“We had three rookies that had not played before and they happened to draw the top three Americans at the time in Tiger, Davis Love and Phil Mickelson. So it wasn’t 10-6, it was 10-9. This is very different. We have a team here with two rookies that have played and played well, and everyone has played twice. Everyone has at least half a point already. It’s also being played in Ireland, not in Boston.”
And Montgomerie was also not about to let any complacency slip into the team’s thoughts.
“There’s no complacency in our camp at all. This will be a very, very tough battle tomorrow and we must try and counteract whatever the American Team have in their thoughts, and we look forward to it.”