United States captain Corey Pavin believes his players can stage a Brookline-style fightback and rip the Ryder Cup from Europe’s grasp at Celtic Manor today.
Europe lead 9-1/2 – 6-1/2 after blitzing the Americans by dropping just half a point from six matches yesterday.
Eleven years ago, on American soil, the United States triumphed after heading into the singles 10-6 down, a recovery that included winning the first seven head-to-heads before posting a 14-1/2 – 13-1/2 verdict.
On that occasion, then future President George W Bush was invited into the team locker room and read a letter from the Alamo in an attempt to inspire the home team.
Pavin has ruled out a repeat, or anything similar, but his faith in players mauled by their European rivals yesterday has not diminished.
“We have got 12 of the best players in the world,” said Pavin, who will start Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson – world-ranked number one and two – eighth and 10th, positions that will be irrelevant if Europe collect the five points they require to regain the Ryder Cup early on.
“They (Europe) have 12 of the best players in the world, too. In match play, anything can happen.
“Is it an uphill battle? Yes, of course, because we have to win more points than they do in the singles.
“But I have a lot of confidence in the guys. I liked what I saw out there on Sunday, even though the results were not what we wanted.
“As far as I know, the event is over on Monday, not Sunday.
“The players have all of the motivation in the world to come out and play their best and try their hardest. There are many, many reasons for that.
“I’ve watched them do it for three days now, and they are going to do it again on Monday.”
As for starting Woods, who was smashed 6&5 by Lee Westwood and Luke Donald in his foursomes match alongside Steve Stricker yesterday, in eighth position, Pavin insisted: “That’s a great spot for him.
“You know, if the matches go well to start off, I think the eighth slot is a very important slot.
“They are all going to be important slots, but I think having Tiger there gives someone that I can put in that spot I feel is going to have a great chance to win his match and end up being an important spot, possibly.”