It is a first. The Monday finish at the Ryder Cup.
And Captain Pavin had better hope that they finish because an obscure rule says if there is no play tomorrow, they split the points down the middle.
If some of the matches finish but some are not completed by sunset, they split the ones that couldn’t be completed.
Europe has 9 1/2 points already, and half of the singles matches would give their side the Ryder Cup with a point to spare.
Hopefully Pavin was smart enough to send out the top players early in case the closers don’t have enough light to complete play or it rains. What? Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson and Hunter Mahan last? Hmm.
The way things have gone the last three days, the Woods, Mickelson and Mahan points may not even count . The cup may be won before their matches conclude because right now, the Europeans have the Mo. Mo mentum and Mo points.
Assuming, however, that all 12 matches are played and concluded, Europe needs just five points, and they could get seven. That would bring their total to 16 ½. They would win the Ryder Cup by a two point margin.
What it looks like is that Montgomerie has front-loaded his team, looking to get blue on the board early. It looks like Pavin has some strength early and some strength late, the divide and conquer strategy.
If we are to believe past captains, the decision of who plays when may actually affect the outcome. If the European stars go up early, a lot of blue could be detrimental to the mindset of the US team, although we’d hope the US team is strong enough to overcome something like that.
Still, the US needs to win 7½ points, or the Ryder Cup will be transferred to Europe.
Looking into the cracked crystal ball, here’s how it will go on Monday. I hope I’m really wrong about this.
Match 1. Lee Westwood will defeat Steve Stricker who is worn out from playing with Tiger Woods. Similar thing happened at the Presidents Cup last fall. This time, Stricker faded one match earlier.
Match 2. Stewart Cink over Rory McIlroy because Rory’s reputation was better than his performance this week. He made a couple big putts, but he missed some he needed to make. Charge it off to first cup jitters. Like The Governator, he’ll be back. Cink has been more solid than anticipated based on his play this season. For a guy who was skipped in the introduction, he has been pretty clutch.
Match 3. Luke Donald over anybody, including Jim Furyk who is tired from trying to lift his wallet after winning all that money at the Tour Championship. Donald may be thinking payback for the Tour Championship.
Match 4. Speaking of payback, Dustin Johnson over Martin Kaymer. PGA. Say no more.
Match 5. Ian Poulter over anybody, including Matt Kuchar who had a great stretch in the late summer but had a hard time going the distance in Atlanta, although the post match tweets will probably drive us all over the edge if this happens. Poulter won the Accenture Match Play.
Match 6. Jeff Overton over Ross Fisher. This is one where I could be wrong. But Jeff Overton was extremely impressive. If he doesn’t go on to win a couple tournaments next year, it will be surprising.
Match 7. Miguel Angel Jimenez over Bubba Watson. Bubba just didn’t seem to have his best stuff so far. but he could surprise. For certain, Bubba’s length might make Jimenez think about early retirement.
Match 8. Tiger Woods over Francesco Molinari. Neither one of them could putt this week, but Woods can not putt better than Molinari can not putt.
Match 9. Edoardo Molinari over Rickie Fowler, who hasn't been able to play up to his capability. Molinari is a great putter and Ryder Cup nerves understandingly got to Fowler a couple of times. They get to everybody.
Match 10. Peter Hanson over Phil Mickelson who hasn't had much game since June. He needs a mulligan for the second half of the year. And maybe a Five Guys turkeyburger.
Match 11. Zach Johnson over Padraig Harrington. Of all the stars playing poorly, Paddy's got to be near the top of the list.
Match 12. Graeme McDowell over Hunter Mahan. Graeme showed why he won the US Open with his play during the Ryder Cup. Hunter seemed more average.
If I’m right about these picks, even for the wrong reasons, it will be over by the time the Mickelson, Woods, and Mahan conclude. The Europeans will have won by then.
If I’m wrong about McIlroy and Kaymer, it will finish even sooner. Colin Montgomerie will look like a genius and probably will be knighted. Everyone will wonder why Corey Pavin put Woods, Mickelson and Mahan at the end, even if they have had some bad shots here and there. And if those three win their matches, it might be too late to do any good.
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