Could U.S. pull off greatest Ryder Cup comeback ever?
GUIDONIA MONTECELIO, Italy – With the U.S. team trailing, 10 ½ to 5 ½, the Europeans need to win just four of Sunday’s 12 singles matches to reclaim the Ryder Cup. It’s a tall task for the Americans, but not entirely impossible.
With history as a guide, here are a few ways the U.S. could win the Ryder Cup:
Start strong. Ben Crenshaw isn’t walking through that door. Actually, Gentle Ben might make a team-room cameo. He was at Marco Simone watching the action on Saturday, but it seems more likely Johnson will attempt to channel his inner Crenshaw with his messaging.
Crenshaw was the architect of the four-point comeback in ’99 when his American side rallied from a 10-6 deficit at Brookline. The Euros repeated that feat in ’12, with the Miracle at Medinah.
There is no secret to this sauce – front-load your lineup.
Johnson’s guys haven’t had a lot of wins this week, but he’s leaning on world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler off the top and going from there, hoping to create a wave that carries the team.
Quiet the crowd. Marco Simone has been predictably loud and far from welcoming this week, but Patrick Cantlay and Wyndham Clark’s rally to close out Saturday’s fourball session proved the Americans can take the wind out of the home crowd.
To do that will require that aforementioned fast start with a focus on silencing the heart and soul of the European team. If the fiery likes of Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm or Tyrrell Hatton – all among the first six matches – get going early, the Americans will hear it.
Count on inexperience. Both teams have four rookies and the European guys have looked like anything but newcomers.
However, in the final team session, a couple of the Euro first-timers showed some vulnerability. Meanwhile, a few of the American rookies seemed to turn the corner.
The away team needs to keep that momentum on Sunday, which offers a unique kind of pressure.
Finish strong. Just four of 16 matches have reached the 18th hole this week, but those that have made it to the closing stretch have largely gone to the Europeans.
Friday’s fourball session is the best example of this. With the United States up in three of four matches, the Europeans turned the tide to salvage three ties, thanks to how they played Marco Simone’s final three holes.
In the opening fourball session, the Europeans won seven of the final three holes while the Americans managed just two wins. The cup will ultimately be decided in this stretch and the Americans will have to own those holes if they’re going to pull off the comeback.