Furyk, Snedeker get revenge on McDowell, McIlroy

Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker of the USA line up a putt on the 15th green during Day 2 at the Ryder Cup.

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MEDINAH, Ill. – You might say Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker were motivated. They battled back from 3 down in opening- to a closing bogey.

“Losing the point was kind of a bitter pill to swallow after storming back,” Furyk said.

So when the Saturday morning foursomes pairings came out Friday night, Furyk and Snedeker beamed when they saw they would have a rematch with the world No. 1 and is Northern Ireland compadre G-Mac.

“I was so excited,” Snedeker said, “to go out there and give it another chance.”

The American duo acted like it, too, from the very start in the fourth and final foursomes match Saturday. They led for good after Furyk birdied the first hole from eight feet on Medinah’s No. 3 course.

“It’s a huge monkey off my back,” said Snedeker, who resembled Richie Cunningham of Happy Days fame in a ball cap instead of his usual visor. “I felt like I had something to prove to Jim and to them that it was not going to be the same guy they saw yesterday.”

All told, the U.S. tandem made four birdies and a bogey to only two birdies for the Europeans, who didn’t putt well. The Ulsterman didn’t make a birdie until the par-5 14th, where McIlroy hit a brilliant 50-yard pitch stiff in halving.

The Americans made key putts when they needed to. Snedeker holed a 10-footer slider at the fifth for a 2-up lead and Furyk preserved it at the next with a 10-foot par save. McIlroy had a chance to slice the lead in half but lipped out a 10-foot birdie putt. The Americans lost the eighth with a bogey and Furyk missed a 9-foot winner at 10, but they went 2-up again when Furyk made an 11-foot downhiller at 11.

McIlroy sliced the lead to one with a 10-footer for birdie at 16, but his effort to tie grazed the edge of the cup at 17.

“Rory and I went cold on the greens two sessions in a row,” McDowell said. “Going against a great team, you must putt well and we didn’t.”

That was a far cry from Friday morning, when the Northern Irishmen birdied six of seven holes during a stretch before losing their lead.

“We knew we could’ve won that match yesterday,” Snedeker said. “We went out there today and did it and it was pretty special.”

They had plenty of vocal support. It helped that Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley revved up the crowd early, won easily 7 and 6 and then joined the Furyk-Snedeker gallery on the 13th hole. Mickelson and his young protege were treated like rock stars as they walked up the pathway to the 14th tee, high-fiving fans along the way.

Hall of Famer Lee Trevino, a former Ryder captain, also watched the final match inside the ropes at times. McIlroy’s mom, Rosie, also got some attention, for she wore a red top and shorts, something of an unofficial fashion violation considering they are American colors.

It was her son, though, who was in the U.S. team’s crosshairs. Because of his No. 1 stature, he had been identified as a “marked man”–accidentally as it turns out.

A few weeks earlier Furyk said McIlroy was a “marked man” in the FedEx Cup playoffs since he was No. 1 in points. According to Furyk, a headline misconstrued his comment.

“Then we started talking about the Ryder Cup in that interview and the headlines the next day were that I said he was a marked man,” Furyk said. “I promise you, I’m not one to incite the other team or give them any bulletin board material.”

It’s unclear whether he gave McIlroy motivational fodder. But he did finally hand him a defeat.

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