Let there be no doubt about how hard it is to post birdies in Ryder Cup foursomes. You expect them in fourballs, but for Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson to shoot six under par for 12 holes this morning playing alternate shots, to dismantle the experienced English duo of Lee Westwood and Luke Donald with a score of 7&6, it is off the charts.
To offer some perspective, in the opening foursomes session on Friday morning, none of the eight pairs carded six birdies, with Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell posting five in 18 holes, and Mickelson and Bradley holing out for five birdies in just 15 holes, as they comfortably handed defeat to Donald and Garcia. In five Ryder Cup foursomes matches as a pair, that was the first time Donald and Garcia had not won. Bradley’s exuberant fist pumps on the greens, on bended knee, sending the home crowd at Medinah into delirium, will intrude upon Donald’s dreams at night.
Bradley is full of singular ticks and twitches, with exaggerated hesitations before addressing the ball, and with the look like he might faint under the pressure, but then he steps up and delivers golf shots that his European opponents have been able to counter.
Bradley is the 14th golfer to partner Phil Mickelson across Mickelson’s nine Ryder Cups, and never has this four-time major champion formed a partnership so potent. With David Toms, Mickelson was a strong 3-2-1, but with Bradley his is now 3-0-0, and the pair is spurring Love’s American team towards victory.
“Right now I am just thrilled I get to share this with Phil and play the way we did,” said Bradley after their early finish this morning.
“Phil is a good partner to Keegan,” said Donald. “[Keegan] has obviously been a rock star this week, and they did nothing wrong. We kept pushing and trying as hard as we could, but they kept coming up with great shots.”
The biggest surprise at Medinah at mid-day on Saturday was that US captain Love decided to rest his dynamic duo for the afternoon fourballs, but then unlike European skipper Jose Maria Olazabal, Love was the man with room to manoeuvre.
“Historically the guys that have played five matches have not done as well in the singles and we want to make sure we are rested and focused,” said Mickelson, adding: “The European side has had some great partnerships with Seve and Ollie and some others, but to be able to share this experience with Keegan and to partake in his great play and experience the Ryder Cup together has been really awesome. We’ve had so much fun. The crowd has provided so much energy, and it’s brought our best golf out.”
The opposite could be argued: that Bradley and Mickelson’s golf has electrified this Chicago crowd.
Article courtesy of Mercedes-Benz, the official car of the 2012 Ryder Cup