Love gives top U.S. team of Bradley-Mickelson a breather

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 29, 2012 - 10:32 PM
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Keegan Bradley reacted after making a putt on the ninth hole during a foursomes match Saturday.

Photo: Charlie Riedel, Associated Press - Ap

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MEDINAH, ILL. - U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love stuck with his plan to rest even his hottest players, sitting down Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson for the afternoon session on Saturday.

Bradley and Mickelson won their first three matches, and they needed only 12 holes to dispatch Lee Westwood and Luke Donald on Saturday morning. They have been the most dominant pairing for either team, but Love believes resting his players will ensure they will be sharp on Sunday for singles.

Love said that Mickelson asked for rest and that Bradley said he agreed with the move.

"I would much rather sit and have a guy who didn't play go play, because I want everyone to be ready for singles," Bradley said. "You know, I'm putting so much emotion into my rounds that it's probably a good thing that I'll be rested up."

Bradley became the first Ryder Cup rookie since the U.S. started playing against all of Europe to win his first three matches. Sergio Garcia won his first three matches in 1999 before finishing that weekend 3-1-1.

Woods' record worsens

Tiger Woods is 4-1-1 in Ryder Cup singles matches. He is 9-16-1 playing with a partner.

Saturday, he ran his record in this Ryder Cup to 0-3 after he and Steve Stricker lost 1-up to Garcia and Luke Donald.

The statistics, in this case, don't reflect the quality of play. Woods played poorly in his first loss. He played brilliantly on the back nine on Friday and Saturday afternoon.

Friday afternoon, he made five birdies on the back nine and lost because of Nicolas Colsaerts' brilliant play. Saturday afternoon, he made five birdies on the back nine, including four in the last six holes, and lost as Donald made three birdies in the last five holes.

Woods has played on only one winning Ryder Cup team. Sunday, he faces Francesco Molinari in the last of Sunday's 12 singles matches.

Asked whether he was comfortable resting Saturday morning, Woods said: "It was nice to get a bit of a rest. I'm not young anymore."

Key stat

Since the U.S. began playing all of Europe in 1979, no team has won more than 8 1/2 points in singles. Europe needs eight points on Sunday to retain the Cup.

MJ and LD

Michael Jordan has attended each match, walking inside the ropes. To avoid obstructing the view of fans, he often has to lay down.

He slapped Bubba Watson on the rear on Saturday, but Jordan seems to spend most of his time talking with fellow Chicago resident Donald, of the European team.

When Jordan lay down in the 16th rough while Watson was hitting a shot, Donald, who was watching the match, continued to stand. Jordan patted his legs and said, "Luke, you can sit right here."

Interesting reactions

The pairing of Justin Rose and Molinari was not afraid to play to the crowd. After a bad chip, Rose waved to the grandstand, asking to be booed.

Later, after Molinari made a putt to help his team remain just three down to Watson and Webb Simpson, Molinari waved his hands, as if to tell the crowd to be quiet.

Sunday pairings

Watson will get to rile up the crowd on the first tee one more time. He will lead off for the U.S. on Sunday against Donald.

Love is sending out his most eager personalities early Sunday. Simpson plays second, against Ian Poulter. Bradley faces Rory McIlroy. Mickelson faces Rose. Brandt Snedeker faces Paul Lawrie.

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