Rory and G-Mac expect Europe to view Medinah and Brookline comebacks

Rory McIlroy and his European teammates are bracing themselves for the mother all warnings against complacency from captain Paul McGinley ahead of tomorrow's pivotal Ryder Cup singles matches.

By Simon Lewis, Gleneagles

Rory McIlroy and his European teammates are bracing themselves for the mother all warnings against complacency from captain Paul McGinley ahead of tomorrow's pivotal Ryder Cup singles matches.

Europe stands just 4.5 points away from a third successive victory over the United States following a dominant Saturday afternoon performance in the final foursomes session that gives McGinley's team a 10-6 lead ahead of the 12 singles.

That is exactly the four-point cushion the United States enjoyed two years ago at Medinah and Mark James's Europeans went to bed on at Brookline in 1999, both teams ending up losers after stirring fightbacks. World number one McIlroy, who registered his first full point of this Ryder Cup when he and Sergio Garcia defeated Hunter Mahan and Jim Furyk 3&2 was expecting a reminder of those events at Saturday evening's team meeting.

“I'm sure the captain, Paul, has a couple of videos lined up for us just to make sure that we aren't complacent or have any thoughts of complacency going to bed, because again, as we know, we've seen it happen before,” McIlroy said.

“Might have a few clips of Brookline for us,” Graeme McDowell added before his fellow Irishman continued: “Yeah, Brookline in '99.

“But then, again, show us some clips of a couple years ago at Medinah when we were in a similar position to the US team, all just to keep it in our mind that we can't go out and this isn't a walk in the park.

“This is much more than that. This is a challenge. We're going to have to go out and stay focused and stay committed to what we've done all week, which is try our hardest on each and every shot until the very end.

“Paul, you know, he's had a purpose for each and every one of us on the team, and I think that's been fantastic. He's had a plan all along and he's known when to put players in, he's known when to take players out, and he's had that plan all along and I think that's been brilliant.

“I think he's done a really good job with that. It's definitely one of the reasons why we're in this position going into Sunday.”

As expected, McGinley stuck to a trusted European template when he unveiled his line-up for the singles, sending out his strongest players at the top of the order.

With American captain Tom Watson needing to do likewise in an effort to get some early momentum going, the draw has thrown up some fascinating match-ups with Team USA turning to super-rookies Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed in the hope they continue their strong starts to Ryder Cup golf.

Spieth will face McDowell, while fellow Texan Reed goes up against Henrik Stenson before in the third slot, McIlroy will face his friend and majors rival Rickie Fowler.

Gleneagles man of the match so far Justin Rose goes next against Hunter Mahan while if Europe are to win at the earliest opportunity by sweeping the early matches, the winning match will be Stephen Gallacher's against Phil Mickelson, both of whom sat out today's play.

Europe are in their position of dominance thanks to a day that saw them take five out of a possible eight points from today's morning fourballs and afternoon foursomes. The Americans did win the early session 2.5 to 1.5 to close Europe's overnight lead to 6.5-5.5 but it was a shortlived statement of intent, Europe once again dominating the foursomes format 3.5 to 0.5.

“We got shellacked this afternoon,” Watson admitted. “Again, there was some ebb and flow, it ebbed too much in the afternoon.”

Rose, who with Stenson had excelled in a 3&2 fourballs win over Bubba Watson and Matt Kuchar, dropped his first half-point of these matches, after he and Martin Kaymer halved their foursomes with Spieth and Reed.

It had been Rose's first match without Stenson by his side, that pairing having won three in a row at Gleneagles only for the Swede to sit out Saturday afternoon's play with a tight back. That halved match, though, was about as bad as it got for McGinley during an afternoon session that returned Europe to the driving seat with McDowell and Victor Dubuisson staying unbeaten with a 5&4 romp against Jimmy Walker and Fowler.

The other win came from rookie Jamie Donaldson and veteran Lee Westwood who passed Severiano Ballesteros's European individual points record of 22.5 in the process. Westwood reached 23 after after he and Donaldson bounced back from a fourball defeat to Jim Furyk and Hunter Mahan with a 2&1 victory over Zach Johnson and Matt Kuchar.

It all leaves the Americans with a mountain to climb but the same motivating points as Europe.

“It's disappointing,” Watson said, “but when all is said and done, it's 10-6, and as I recall, there's been a little bit of history with 10-6 comebacks, most recently the Europeans last year and of course in 1999 at Brookline. The players are already talking about that. They said that this is what we're going to have to do. Every player right here is going to have to play their guts out, play their hearts out. We are going to have to get off to a good start.”

Watson, who drew criticism for sidelining Mickelson and Keegan Bradley for the entire day's play, declined to echo Brookline predecessor Ben Crenshaw, who when trailing 10-6 famously said he had a good feeling about Sunday's play in 1999. Yet he did add: “I have a trust in my players that they can get it done. I have an innate trust.

“I've gotten to really know them, and they have what it takes. They are just going to have to play better. They know that. They know absolutely what they have to do. We've got to smoke 'em. We've to take them out early.

“Let's see what these people, what everybody has inside their heart.”

Sunday Singles Draw (Europe names first)

Match 1: 11:36 Graeme McDOWELL v Jordan SPIETH

Match 2: 11:48 Henrik STENSON v Patrick REED

Match 3: 12:00 Rory McILROY v Rickie FOWLER

Match 4: 12:12 Justin ROSE v Hunter MAHAN

Match 5: 12:24 Stephen GALLACHER v Phil MICKELSON

Match 6: 12:36 Martin KAYMER v Bubba WATSON

Match 7: 12:48 Thomas BJØRN v Matt KUCHAR

Match 8: 13:00 Sergio GARCIA v Jim FURYK

Match 9: 13:12 Ian POULTER v Webb SIMPSON

Match 10: 13:24 Jamie DONALDSON v Keegan BRADLEY

Match 11: 13:36 Lee WESTWOOD v Jimmy WALKER

Match 12: 13:48 Victor DUBUISSON v Zach JOHNSON

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