Darren Clarke’s European side will need to summon up the spirit of Medinah if they are to retain the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine this year.
Although the Northern Irishman’s squad face a smaller deficit than Jose Maria Olazabal’s men did four years ago, the feeling that this is a similarly uphill task remains.
The difference in momentum between now and that famous Sunday session in Chicago is striking.
Back then, Ian Poulter’s heroics in the bottom four-ball match ensured that Europe had won the final two points of the day, narrowing the margin to four points. Things had already begun shifting their way.
This year, Europe lost the bottom three matches on Saturday afternoon with no body blow as heavy as the small putt Lee Westwood missed on the 18th green for a half point in match two.
Having won the two sessions that followed the 4-0 whitewash on the opening morning, Europe are now having to pick themselves up off the floor once again to overcome a three-point deficit.
Five of their team are yet to score a point, while three have only had one match. The worry there is that, should the comeback be on, the singles could come down to those out-of-form, under-used players after Clarke top-loaded his order.
Six of Europe’s seven point scorers in the tournament occupy the first half a dozen places in the order. It was a necessary move for the Northern Irishman to make with a desperate need to win early points.
However, if Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson and go mount a charge, it will fall to Westwood and the rookies to get them over the line.
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