TIGER HELPS SPIETHREED DUO WIN BRAGGING RIGHTS
US stars Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed won Ryder Cup bragging rights over Europe’s top duo of Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson, thanks to Tiger Woods getting them the chance.
Reed and Spieth defeated Rose and Stenson 2 and 1 in four-balls on Saturday for a second victory in three matches at Hazeltine, having split two meetings on Friday.
“We wanted Rose and Stenson again. They wanted to play us again,” Spieth said.
“We wanted them in this bestball format and so we were very pleased to get the call to go back out for our fourth match of the week.”
That call almost never came, US captain Davis Love said, because there were several lineups floated for afternoon four-balls pairings, some with Spieth and Reed sitting out.
“We had a lot of scenarios,” Love admitted. “Everybody was texting me their lineup. We got a little panicky because everybody had a different idea. Even my son threw a lineup out. He’s my cart driver.”
Woods, a 14-time major winner and US assistant captain who has missed more than a year with a back injury, became Love’s decider.
“I finally just said to Tiger, ‘Are we playing them or are we sitting them?’” Love said.
“He said, ‘No, you have to send them back out there, they are playing so well.’”
Reed and Spieth dropped four of the last six holes to halve a morning foursomes match they had led since the second hole against Spaniards Sergio Garcia and Rafa Cabrera Bello.
But they got another chance in the afternoon against Rose and Stenson. “We know how stout that team is because they had not lost a match in Ryder Cup play together until this week. And we love that challenge,” Spieth said. “We hadn’t lost a match in Ryder Cup play together until this week, so we thought, why not throw us against them.” Reed won four holes in a row starting at the fifth, a hole-out eagle at the par-5 sixth helping move the US from 1-down to 3-up. After Rose and Stenson pulled within 1-down when Rose birdied 13, Reed won 14 and 15 with birdies to help end the rally. “They were unbelievable,” Rose said. “Patrick was inspired. He was intense. Just every time he had a wedge in his hand, he punished us, he got it up-and-down. It was incredible to watch. “I think he was probably 10-under on his own ball. I think he beat us single-handed today. It was pretty amazing.”
“No doubt, Rory (McIlroy), Henrik (Stenson), JR (Justin Rose), Sergio (Garcia), Lee ( Westwood), Martin (Kaymer) are all the senior guys. But in terms of the whole thing, everybody’s exactly the same,” Clarke said.
Europe’s rookie contingent won four, lost four and halved one match through the first three sessions.
Cabrera Bello is unbeaten while being paired with Garcia as they defeated JB Holmes and Ryan Moore 3 and 2 in fourball on Friday. They followed that up by halving an alternate shot foursome against Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed on Saturday.
The biggest star of the newbies for Europe has been 24-year-old Pieters, who has been paired with world No. 3 McIlroy and will have played in all five matches when players from both sides compete in 12 singles matches today.
Belgium’s Pieters, who made the team as a captain’s pick, said he was nervous at the beginning of his first Ryder Cup but is starting to feel more comfortable around the other players.
“It was cool to see how passionate those guys are, and I think that I still need to learn because I’ve been pretty quiet,” Pieters said.