MEDINAH, ILL. - So many things had to go wrong for the U.S. to lose the Ryder Cup that team captain Davis Love is sure to face second-guessing about many of his decisions. "I'll be second-guessing myself for a long time,'' he said.
He rested the pairing of Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson, which was 3-0, on Saturday afternoon. He played Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker, who both wound up winless for the weekend.
Mickelson defended Love, saying that he wanted to pour himself into his match on Saturday morning without worrying about Saturday afternoon. "That's on me,'' Mickelson said.
Love also sent his youngest players to start the Sunday singles, and the Europeans, who front-loaded their lineup with their best players, won the first five matches of the day.
"I wouldn't have done anything different,'' Love said. "They played great. We had a couple of matches get flipped there at the end that made it a little bit easier on them. This is a great team. We had a great week.''
If there was a defining moment in the U.S. team's Sunday collapse, it may have been Jim Furyk's play at the 17th hole.
He led his match by one shot over Sergio Garcia. He hit his tee shot into the bunker. Known for his stellar bunker play, Furyk then hit a low shot that almost ran off the green, leaving him with a long par putt that didn't come close to the hole.
Garcia would win the last two holes. Had Furyk won his match, the U.S. would have won. Had Furyk halved his match, Woods, who had a one-shot lead in the 18th fairway before the competition was decided, would have had a chance to secure the victory. Woods wound up making a bogey and halving his match.
Poulter comes up big
Ian Poulter made five straight birdies to earn a point for Europe on Saturday night. Sunday, he beat Webb Simpson 2-up in the second match of the day by winning the 17th and 18th holes.
Justin Rose and Garcia also won matches by winning the last two holes.
Poulter finished 4-0 on the week. "Last night, that team room was buzzing,'' Poulter said. "We just knew we had a chance and do you know what? This is history right here.''
While the Europeans partied well into the night at Medinah Country Club, the mostly American crowd was rowdy and sometimes rude until the end.
Euro star Rory McIlroy showed up just before his tee time, saying he mixed up his time zones, and the crowd jeered him all day. Their theme: McIlroy was late because he drank too much on Rush Street on Saturday night.
After he became the first person from his team to beat Bradley this weekend, McIlroy took an elaborate bow on the 17th green, staring into the crowd.
"I got here with about 10 minutes to spare, put my shoes, on, hit a couple of putts,'' McIlroy said. "Just your average sort of warmup back at your home course.''
McIlroy's explanation of his tardiness: "I was just casually walking out of my hotel room and got a phone call saying you've got 25 minutes until you tee off. I've never been so worried driving to the golf course before. Luckily, there was a state trooper outside who kind of gave me the escort to here, and if it weren't for him, I wouldn't have gotten here in time.''
McIlroy never trailed.