Tiger slumps to de­feat on Ry­der Cup re­turn

US power into early Ry­der Cup lead de­spite Woods de­feat

Global Times - Weekend - - SPORTS -

Tiger Woods made a sub­dued start to his first Ry­der Cup in six years as he and part­ner Patrick Reed squan­dered a two-hole lead to lose three and one to Euro­peans Francesco Moli­nari and Tommy Fleet­wood at Le Golf Na­tional on Fri­day.

With eight holes re­main­ing of the day’s fourth four-ball match, the 42-yearold seemed poised to mark his re­turn with a pre­cious point for cap­tain Jim Furyk.

But he ran out of steam, and rookie Fleet­wood and Bri­tish Open cham­pion Moli­nari stole the show with a scin­til­lat­ing fin­ish – earn­ing hosts Europe their only point on a morn­ing dom­i­nated by the US.

Woods, whose Ry­der Cup record is medi­ocre for a 14-time ma­jor cham­pion, was left out of the af­ter­noon four­somes.

It’s only the sec­ond time Woods has missed a ses­sion as a team mem­ber – he was left off the 2014 and 2016 teams as he re­cov­ered from back surg­eries. He is now battling back from his fourth oper­a­tion, a spinal fu­sion pro­ce­dure in 2017.

The for­mer king of golf had ar­rived at the course close to his­toric Ver­saille on a high af­ter end­ing a five-year ti­tle drought by win­ning the Tour Cham­pi­onships in At­lanta last week.

Amer­i­can fans, and many wear­ing Euro­pean col­ors, roared him to the first tee on a fresh morn­ing and he de­liv­ered his open­ing drive straight down the fair­way.

Europe snatched the open­ing hole of the day’s fourth four-ball match, though, be­fore a ma­jes­tic tee shot by Woods to the par-three sec­ond helped level the match.

With Woods play­ing steadily, the US won the ninth hole and when Reed chipped in at the 10th to put them two up, it seemed Woods would mark his re­turn with a US point.

But con­sec­u­tive birdies by Bri­tish Open cham­pion Moli­nari lev­eled it up, and with Woods strug­gling to re­cap­ture his ear­lier form Europe roared to vic­tory to give Europe their sole point.

Rookie Fleet­wood rolled in a birdie on the 15th hole, and af­ter a flat­look­ing Woods hit his tee shot into the wa­ter at the 16th, Fleet­wood drained a 35-footer (10.7 me­ters) to put Europe two ahead.

Moli­nari fin­ished the job on the 17th, leav­ing Woods with plenty to con­tem­plate on his af­ter­noon off.

US golfer Tiger Woods plays a tee shot dur­ing his four-ball match on the first day of the 42nd Ry­der Cup at Le Golf Na­tional Course at Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, south­west of Paris, France on Fri­day.

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