Only Tiger Woods could miss-fire so dramatically in the morning session of a Ryder Cup, then to find his name down to play in the afternoon.
Having dragged Steve Stricker to defeat in the opening foursomes session of the 2012 Ryder Cup at Medinah, going down 2&1 to Ian Poulter and Justin Rose, American captain Davis Love stuck to his pre-conceived plan to send Woods and Stricker out together again in the afternoon fourballs.
If it weren’t for one of the finest displays of putting the Ryder Cup has ever seen by Europe’s rookie Nicolas Colsaerts this afternoon, Woods and Stricker may well have finished the day with a point, instead of being the only pair on day one of the Ryder Cup to lose two matches. More than that, Woods recovered his poise to the extent that of all 16 golfers playing fourballs today, only Colsaerts carded more birdies than him: eight (plus one eagle) to the former world number one’s seven.
Woods and Stricker will miss Saturday morning’s foursomes session, but Love hinted strongly that both golfers would return to action in the afternoon fourballs.
Throughout his opening round in the foursomes, Woods played an array of wildly errant shots, sending partner Stricker zig-zagging to shadowy spots certainly not ventured to in three days of practice. Were it not for a pair of good bounces from a spectator’s head and an oak tree, this final foursomes match would have been the first to finish.
Of the four tee shots off the first tee this morning, Tiger saved the worst until last, sending his ball careering into the towering oak trees to the left of the fairway, sending a branch full of autumn leaves fluttering to the ground. Stricker’s powers of recovery saved the pair there, as they would on the fifth hole, after Woods pushed a drive far right, bouncing up a cart path towards a scoreboard by the 7th green.
On the 8th, Woods fluffed a chip, but then on the 10th he looked to have finally conquered his demons with a magnificent three-wood from the fairway to the edge of the green. Woods gave an impassioned fist pump, but then on the next hole he sent a three-wood tee shot hooking back into woodland.
On BBC radio, former British Women’s Open champion Karen Stupples said, “One thing is for sure – we won’t see Tiger Woods tomorrow in the foursomes.” She was right there.
“I talked to a couple of people who watched Tiger and Steve play this morning,” said Love, whose American team takes a commanding 5-3 lead into day two. “I was told that if you let them play their own ball this afternoon, they are going to play a lot better. And both of them played very well.”
Article courtesy of Mercedes-Benz, the official car of the 2012 Ryder Cup