By Jay Coffin, Golf Channel
MEDINAH, Ill. – Tiger Woods had collected a winless record (0-3) by Saturday evening but his U.S. Ryder Cup team had vaulted to a 10-6 lead. It was a mind-numbing fact that didn’t seem possible.
Twenty-four hours later Woods was 0-3-1 on the week and was part of a team that had a complete meltdown Sunday at Medinah to lose the Ryder Cup in record-tying fashion.
It was an odd end to an odd week.
Woods and Stricker lost both matches on Day 1 – Woods spraying the ball all over Chicago in the morning foursomes, then playing better in afternoon fourballs but failing to get help from Stricker.
The next day saw Woods sit out the morning foursomes for the first time in his Ryder Cup career. He had previously played in 31 consecutive Ryder Cup sessions.
With fresh legs and a chance to play his own ball, Woods went out in Saturday afternoon fourballs with Stricker again and posted another loss. It was fitting then that U.S. captain Davis Love III put Stricker and Woods out in the last two singles positions, many believing their respective matches wouldn’t matter and that the Americans would have secured the cup much earlier.
Instead, Europe raced out to victories in the first five matches and made it clear that this Ryder Cup would not be decided before the last few matches.
Woods did not play well in his singles match against Francesco Molinari, making one birdie and two bogeys to shoot the equivalent of 1 over par. He took a 1-up lead into the 18th hole when Molinari made bogey on No. 17 but the Ryder Cup was over with Woods in the middle of the fairway as Martin Kaymer closed out Steve Stricker on the 18th green ahead.
“It’s the second time it happened to me being in the fairway,” Woods said, recalling a similar situation in 2001 at The Belfry in a match against Jesper Parnevik.
Woods ultimately made bogey on the 18th – he missed a short par putt – and conceded the par to Molinari making the match end all square, the first halved match all week.
It was a bizarre finish for the man who was expected to deliver the goods and help his team win on home soil. Instead, he has still only been on one winning Ryder Cup team (1999 at Brookline) and his career record has worsened to 13-16-3 … and questions continue to mount about his ability to adapt to a team atmosphere.
Relive Day 2 Ryder Cup matches Monday at 8 p.m. ET and the singles matches Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET.
Further Reading at GolfChannel.com
Quotes of the Week: O Captain! My Captain!
Tiger Tracker: On yet another losing side
Chat recap: Miracle at Medinah