Europe captain Padraig Harrington is not giving up hope of retaining the Ryder Cup, but it is the United States who stand on the brink of glory, as they will take an 11-5 lead into Sunday’s singles (USA 1/80, Tie 33/1, Europe 40/1 – Outright).
The US went into Saturday holding a 6-2 overnight lead and they were able to extend that advantage further by winning the morning foursomes 3-1, with Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia claiming Europe’s only point of the session.
Rahm (11/4 to be top combined points scorer) and Garcia (16/1) once again delivered during the afternoon fourballs, beating Brooks Koepka and Jordan Spieth 2 & 1 to maintain their 100 per cent record as a partnership at Whistling Straits, but Europe could only draw the session 2-2, leaving them six points behind their hosts.
Steve Stricker’s team now only need 3.5 points on Sunday to regain the Ryder Cup, while as defending champions, Europe must reach a total of 14.
No team has ever come back from such a deficit heading into the final day, but Harrington is not giving up hope, pointing to the ‘Miracle at Medinah’ in 2012 when Europe came from 10-6 down to triumph 14.5-13.5.
“It’s still possible,” the Irishman told reporters. “It’s only half a point more than we won in the singles at Medinah. There’s no doubt that is going to be strong in our minds.
“They have to just go out there and win their own individual match. They have to focus on that and not look at that bigger picture and focus on their individual self.”
Harrington has selected Rory McIlroy to lead off the singles for Europe, putting his faith in the Northern Irishman, who has endured a difficult week, suffering heavy defeats in all three of his matches to date.
McIlroy will be up against Xander Schauffele in the opening match (Schauffele 8/11, Tie 13/2, McIlroy 7/4), with some of the other eye-catching contests including Rahm’s clash with Scottie Scheffler and Garcia’s match-up with the big-hitting Bryson DeChambeau.