Captain asks for crowd noise
Delays may mean smaller galleries
NEWPORT, Wales — Captain Colin Montgomerie wants all those European fans to take another day off.
The Ryder Cup was supposed to end yesterday, but two long rain delays forced the competition into a fourth day for the first time. Fearful of overcrowding, officials decided to only allow those with final-day tickets to return for the deciding matches at water-logged Celtic Manor.
Of course, some of those 40,000 ticket holders surely had to be at work or had travel plans that couldn’t be changed. That is sure to mean smaller crowds cheering on the home team when it needs them most, a prospect that seemed a bit troubling to the European captain.
“Quite a few of them might need a sick note,’’ Montgomerie quipped after Europe surged into a 3-point lead heading to singles with one of its most brilliant team performances ever. “We do hope that as many people as possible with Sunday tickets will turn up.’’
The Georgia Tech alums and good friends were the most successful pairing for the Americans during team play, winning one match and halving two others.
Without them, the Americans would be facing an even more daunting deficit than the 3-point margin they’ll have to overcome in singles.
Cink’s putter has been hot, while Kuchar has steadily improved since a shaky start.
“Certainly, there’s been some good play,’’ Kuchar said. “I’ve been pleased I’ve kind of gotten better every day. I’m pleased with Stewart and we paired up pretty well together, took 2 of 3 points, and I feel like it’s been a good performance I put in. I feel like it’s been getting stronger.’’
Edoardo put his wedge shot about 15 feet from the flag. His little brother, Francesco, stuck his even closer — just 3 feet away.
When big brother missed his putt, Francesco knew he had to come through. Plagued all day by a shaky putter, he knocked this one right in the center of the cup for the birdie that won the hole and gave Europe a potentially important half-point.
“It was a great finish,’’ Edoardo said.
While players such as Lee Westwood and Luke Donald garner much of the attention, Fisher’s performance has been invaluable.
Paired with Ian Poulter in the opening fourballs, Fisher’s team lost to Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker in a tight match.
Montgomerie then juggled his teams, pairing Fisher with struggling Padraig Harrington. The Irishman continues to have his problems, but Fisher has picked up the slack in two victories. They beat Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson in alternate shot, then took out Johnson and Jim Furyk in fourballs.
“He certainly played the best golf probably anyone has ever seen in a Ryder Cup,’’ Harrington said. “He made all the shots, holed all the putts. He really did play awesome.’’