Inside Ryder Cup Monday singles matchups

Lee Westwood (left) and Steve Stricker will be the first singles group off on Monday morning.

Lee Westwood (left) and Steve Stricker will be the first singles group off on Monday morning.

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RBC Heritage

Hilton Head, SC - Harbour Town Golf Links

3:01:50 PM ET. 04/20/2014




PosNameTodayThruScore
1Matt Kuchar-69-10
T2Brian Stuard-48-8
T2Ben Martin-37-8
T2Nicholas Thompson-37-8
T2John Huh-26-8
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NEWPORT, Wales – The singles lineups are set for what is always one of the best days in golf. The Europeans lead 9 1/2-6 1/2 and need to win just five of 12 available points to claim the Ryder Cup.

The United States often is said to be the favorite in singles, but that hasn’t held true in the past two Ryder Cups on European soil. The Europeans have won the past two singles on their home turf by a combined score of 16-8. The United States needs to win 7 1/2 of 12 points to retain the Cup.

It’s possible. The United States was down, 10-6, when it made its famous comeback in 1999. Here’s my breakdown of how I think the Ryder Cup’s final day will play out:

• • •

MATCH 1

Lee Westwood, Europe

  • Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index: 1
  • Official World Golf Ranking: 3
  • Record this week: 2-0-1
  • Ryder Cup singles record: 2-4-0

vs.

Steve Stricker, USA

  • Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index: 2
  • Official World Golf Ranking: 4
  • Record this week: 2-1-0
  • Ryder Cup singles record: 0-1-0

Head-to-head record in common rounds since Jan. 1, 2009: Westwood leads 22-15-5

The skinny: Despite not having played competitively since the British Open, Westwood is one of the stars of this week. He moves to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking on Monday. He’s playing like No. 1.

Prediction: Westwood, 3 and 2

Score: Europe 10 1/2, United States 6 1/2

• • •

MATCH 2

Rory McIlroy, Europe

  • Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index: 11
  • Official World Golf Ranking: 9
  • Record this week: 1-1-1
  • Ryder Cup singles record: Rookie

vs.

Stewart Cink, USA

  • Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index: 26
  • Official World Golf Ranking: 35
  • Record this week: 1-0-2
  • Ryder Cup singles record: 1-3-0

Head-to-head record in common rounds since Jan. 1, 2009: Cink leads 36-32-8

The skinny: The McTeam of McIlroy-McDowell went 0-1-1 against Kuchar-Cink. The mischievous Cink likes to play the spoiler. His only singles win came in Europe against a young star (2006, Sergio Garcia), and don’t forget when he stalled Tom Watson at the ’09 British. That proves to be the difference.

Prediction: Cink, 2 and 1

Score: Europe 10 1/2, United States 7 1/2

• • •

MATCH 3

Luke Donald, Europe

  • Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index: 8
  • Official World Golf Ranking: 8
  • Record this week: 2-1-0
  • Ryder Cup singles record: 1-1-0

vs.

Jim Furyk, USA

  • Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index: 6
  • Official World Golf Ranking: 5
  • Record this week: 0-1-1
  • Ryder Cup singles record: 4-1-1

Head-to-head record in common rounds since Jan. 1, 2009: Furyk leads 45-41-20

The skinny: Don’t expect a lot of mistakes in this match. Each player made four birdies in his four-ball match this week. I give Furyk, the likely PGA Tour Player of the Year, the slight edge.

Prediction: Furyk, 1 up

Score: Europe 10 1/2, United States 8 1/2

• • •

MATCH 4

Martin Kaymer, Europe

  • Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index: 27
  • Official World Golf Ranking: 6
  • Record this week: 2-0-1
  • Ryder Cup singles record: Rookie

vs.

Dustin Johnson, USA

  • Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index: 10
  • Official World Golf Ranking: 12
  • Record this week: 0-3-0
  • Ryder Cup singles record: Rookie

Head-to-head record in common rounds since Jan. 1, 2009: Johnson leads 23-20-10

The skinny: This is the match of what could have been. Kaymer, the PGA champion, against Johnson, who missed the playoff after Bunkergate. Johnson has been erratic, but you can get away with that in match play. Kaymer didn’t make a single birdie in Sunday four-balls.

Prediction: Johnson, 2 and 1

Score: Europe 10 1/2, United States 9 1/2

• • •

MATCH 5

Ian Poulter, Europe

  • Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index: 47
  • Official World Golf Ranking: 16
  • Record this week: 2-1-0
  • Ryder Cup singles record: 2-0-0

vs.

Matt Kuchar, USA

  • Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index: 3
  • Official World Golf Ranking: 11
  • Record this week: 1-0-2
  • Ryder Cup singles record: Rookie

Head-to-head record in common rounds since Jan. 1, 2009: Kuchar leads 44-30-9

The skinny: Poulter plays this event with the expression of a man seeking revenge on the person who ran over his dog. He’s another European who brings out his best at this event. He made five birdies Sunday to carry himself and Kaymer to victory.

Prediction: Poulter, 3 and 2

Score: Europe 11 1/2, United States 9 1/2

• • •

MATCH 6

Ross Fisher, Europe

  • Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index: 110
  • Official World Golf Ranking: 27
  • Record this week: 2-1-0
  • Ryder Cup singles record: Rookie

vs.

Jeff Overton, USA

  • Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index: 97
  • Official World Golf Ranking: 48
  • Record this week: 1-2-0
  • Ryder Cup singles record: Rookie

Head-to-head record in common rounds since Jan. 1, 2009: Overton leads 16-13-1

The skinny: Both rookies have been pleasant surprises for their teams, but Fisher’s six birdies in his last four-ball match are hard to overlook.

Prediction: Fisher, 3 and 2

Score: Europe 12 1/2, United States 9 1/2

• • •

MATCH 7

Miguel Angel Jimenez, Europe

  • Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index: 78
  • Official World Golf Ranking: 26
  • Record this week: 1-1-0
  • Ryder Cup singles record: 0-3-0

vs.

Bubba Watson, USA

  • Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index: 41
  • Official World Golf Ranking: 24
  • Record this week: 1-2-0
  • Ryder Cup singles record: Rookie

Head-to-head record in common rounds since Jan. 1, 2009: Players tied 10-10-2

The skinny: Jimenez has had an impressive year, winning three times, but a long, wet golf course gives Watson a distinct advantage over Jimenez, who ranks 128th on the European Tour in driving distance.

Prediction: Watson, 2 up

Score: Europe 12 1/2, United States 10 1/2

• • • 

MATCH 8

Francesco Molinari, Europe

  • Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index: 15
  • Official World Golf Ranking: 32
  • Record this week: 0-1-1
  • Ryder Cup singles record: Rookie

vs.

Tiger Woods, USA

  • Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index: 7
  • Official World Golf Ranking: 1
  • Record this week: 2-1-0
  • Ryder Cup singles record: 3-1-1

Head-to-head record in common rounds since Jan. 1, 2009: Woods leads 16-12-5

The skinny: Woods’ only Ryder Cup singles loss came to an Italian. Costantino Rocca beat Woods, 5 and 4, at Valderrama in ’97. Woods has been erratic this week. Those mistakes could lead to victories for the steady Molinari.

Prediction: Molinari, 2 and 1

Score: Europe 13 1/2, United States 10 1/2

• • •

MATCH 9

Edoardo Molinari, Europe

  • Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index: 9
  • Official World Golf Ranking: 15
  • Record this week: 0-1-1
  • Ryder Cup singles record: Rookie

vs.

Rickie Fowler, USA

  • Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index: 59
  • Official World Golf Ranking: 33
  • Record this week: 0-1-1
  • Ryder Cup singles record: Rookie

Head-to-head record in common rounds since Jan. 1, 2009: Molinari leads 10-7-1

The skinny: I give Molinari the edge here because of his superior ranking in the Sagarin rankings. It should be a tight match, but Molinari, the former U.S. Amateur champion, should have the slight edge.

Prediction: Molinari, 2 and 1

Score: Europe 14 1/2, United States 10 1/2

• • •

MATCH 10

Peter Hanson, Europe

  • Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index: 14
  • Official World Golf Ranking: 42
  • Record this week: 1-1-0
  • Ryder Cup singles record: Rookie

vs.

Phil Mickelson, USA

  • Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index: 5
  • Official World Golf Ranking: 2
  • Record this week: 0-3-0
  • Ryder Cup singles record: 3-4-0

Head-to-head record in common rounds since Jan. 1, 2009: Mickelson leads 23-13-2

The skinny: Mickelson’s loss to Philip Price in 2002 is one of the biggest upsets in Ryder Cup history. Price is Welsh. We’re in Wales. But that’s not the only reason I’m picking the underrated Hanson. Mickelson has been erratic this week, while Hanson isn’t far removed from his Czech Open victory.

Prediction: Hanson, 4 and 3

Score: Europe 15 1/2, United States 10 1/2

• • •

MATCH 11

Padraig Harrington, Europe

  • Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index: 29
  • Official World Golf Ranking: 22
  • Record this week: 2-1-0
  • Ryder Cup singles record: 3-2-0

vs.

Zach Johnson, USA

  • Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index: 23
  • Official World Golf Ranking: 19
  • Record this week: 1-1-0
  • Ryder Cup singles record: 0-1-0

Head-to-head record in common rounds since Jan. 1, 2009: Harrington leads 44-33-10

The skinny: Harrington has struggled with his game this week, and he has been erratic over the past few weeks. He made just two birdies in two four-ball matches. Johnson will putt his way to victory in this matchup of major champions.

Prediction: Johnson, 3 and 2

Score: Europe 15 1/2, United States 11 1/2

• • •

MATCH 12

Graeme McDowell, Europe

  • Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index: 30
  • Official World Golf Ranking: 13
  • Record this week: 1-1-1
  • Ryder Cup singles record: 1-0-0

vs.

Hunter Mahan, USA

  • Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index: 39
  • Official World Golf Ranking: 14
  • Record this week: 1-1-0
  • Ryder Cup singles record: 0-0-1

Head-to-head record in common rounds since Jan. 1, 2009: Mahan leads 34-17-6

The skinny: The Cup likely will be clinched before this match ends. That will help Mahan’s chances, but I also think he has a slight edge here. When Mahan is hot, he can make birdies like none other. This could be one of those rounds.

Prediction: Mahan, 2 and 1

Score: Europe 15 1/2, United States 12 1/2

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