Europe in control, sets sights on Cup
SAINT-QUENTIN-ENYVELINES, France — Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood walked down the fairway after delivering another big point in the Ryder Cup, side by side with their arms around each other’s shoulder.
Here came “Moliwood” at Le Golf National, the latest Ryder Cup sensation and the first European tandem to win all four matches since the current format began in 1979. Even more satisfying was that three of those points came at the expense of Tiger Woods.
But this was no time to celebrate.
“We came here to do a job, and it wasn’t to go in the record books or anything like that,” Molinari said.
And now they have to do it by themselves.
Everything points to Europe taking back the precious gold trophy Sunday, starting from a 10-6 lead that requires Europe to win only 41⁄2 points from the 12 singles matches on the final day.
Woods hasn’t won any of his three matches.
Phil Mickelson didn’t even play Saturday.
Europe filled the board with its blue scores right from the start, winning three of the four matches in fourballs for an 8-4 lead, its largest after three sessions in 14 years. It held on in foursomes, with Henrik Stenson delivering clutch putts in the only match that was close.
But the score should sound familiar, and enough to make them cautious.
That’s the same deficit Europe faced in 2012 at Medinah when it produced the largest comeback on foreign soil. The Americans have never made up that much ground away from home, though they were the first to win after trailing 10-6, at Brookline in 1999 when they front-loaded the Sunday lineup with their biggest stars.
And that was on the mind of Europe captain Thomas Bjorn
“We go ahead tomorrow and focus on what’s ahead and not what’s done,” Bjorn said. “We are so well aware of what’s standing across on the other side — the greatest players in the world. I would never get ahead of myself in this.
“History will show me and everybody on this team that it’s not over.”
Tiger Woods, right, fell to 0-3 at this year’s Ryder Cup after he and Bryson DeChambeau lost in foursomes Saturday.