MEDINAH, Ill. -- For the second straight session, the US Ryder Cup team has won three of four matches, stretching its lead to 8-4 after Saturday morning foursomes. It's a position the US hasn't been in since 1975.
Once again, Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson led the way, rolling to a 7 and 6 win over Lee Westwood and Luke Donald. The victory margin ties the biggest in a team match in Ryder Cup history: Hale Irwin and Tom Kite (1979) and Paul Azinger and Mark O'Meara (1991) also won 7 and 6.
Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson won for the second time, beating Nicolas Colsaerts and Sergio Garcia, 2 and 1. Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker exacted some revenge from Friday morning, knocking off Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell, 1 up.
The only European victory came in the first match. Ian Poulter and Justin Rose beat Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson, 1 up. The US never trailed in any of the last three matches, establishing a dominance that's been part of the last two sessions.
Captain Davis Love has decided to sit Bradley and Mickelson, citing a need to rest prior to Sunday singles. With an 8-4 lead perhaps he can get away with benching his best team, but they've made quick work of their three matches so far, needing only 44 of a possible 54 holes.
Also curiously, Love will send out Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker as a four-ball team. They've lost their last four matches when paired together, and are 0-2 so far this week. Woods and Stricker will be in the third match, up against Sergio Garcia and Luke Donald.
Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar, winners Friday afternoon, have been reunited, and have drawn Paul Lawrie and Nicolas Colsaerts. Good pairing for the Americans; Colsaerts made everything he looked at on Friday, with eight birdies and an eagle. He didn't look nearly as unbeatable this morning.
Watson and Simpson will be paired for the third time this week, up against Rose and Francesco Molinari. The Americans made 10 birdies in 14 holes in this format on Friday. Anything remotely close to that should get the job done.
Dufner and Johnson will also stay together, against McIlroy and Poulter, also looking to go 3-0 for the week.
Most of the eyes will be on Woods and Stricker, seeing if they can finally win a match. If they do, the US can do no worse than a 2-point lead. Already up 4 points, they're threatening to make singles a foregone conclusion.
Expect Europe to apply some pressure, but this US team doesn't look like they'll play poorly. It'll take Europe's best to cut into this lead.
7:50 a.m.: Back for more fun and great golf at the Ryder Cup, which saw the US take a 5-3 lead on Friday after an afternoon in which it won three of four matches.
The lead could have been larger: the Euros won the 18th hole in Friday morning's match between Graeme McDowell/Rory McIlroy against Jim Furyk/Brandt Snedeker, and held on to win an afternoon match when a putt by Tiger Woods for a halve slid by. If the US wins the 18th hole in both of those, we'd be looking at a lead of 6.5 to 1.5.
Alas ... if ifs and buts were candy and nuts, what a wonderful world this would be.
We'll get a rematch in this morning's fourth and final foursomes match, with Furyk-Snedeker taking on McIlroy-McDowell. There are some really intriguing matches among the four this morning, starting with the first. Ian Poulter and Justin Rose face Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson, who made 10 birdies in 14 holes yesterday. But that was when each was playing their own ball. This morning is alternate shot, a format that Rose and Poulter earned a point in on Friday morning when they beat Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker, 2 and 1.
The second match has Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson, a pairing that stole the show on Friday, up against Lee Westwood and Luke Donald. Can Bradley and Mickelson, who could do no wrong the first day, continue their spectacular play? Westwood looked shaky yesterday, and seemed to tire at the end. I'm a little surprised Jose Maria Olazabal has him back out there, although the four he has sitting out (Paul Lawrie, Peter Hanson, Martin Kaymer, and Francesco Molinari) didn't play well yesterday, either.
The unsung hero from Friday, at least from Europe's perspective, was Nicolas Colsaerts, who beat Woods and Stricker by himself, getting no help from Westwood in a 1-up win. Colsaerts, the longest hitter in these matches, took full advantage of Medinah's setup of no rough, bombing tee shots and holing almost every putt he looked at. He'll be paired with Sergio Garcia, and go up against a US team of Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner that might lack for excitement, but not execution. This is the match that most interests me today. Can Colsaerts back up what he did yesterday? Can Garcia, who sat out in the afternoon and has one of Europe's best Ryder Cup records, find his form?
The rematch likely favors McDowell and McIlroy, who gave up a three-hole lead to Furyk and Snedeker yesterday morning before winning No. 18. But fatigue -- the Northern Irish pair also played in the afternoon -- could be a factor.
Davis Love's decision to sit Woods is certainly newsworthy because he's never missed a Ryder Cup session until now. That might not be the right move -- Woods had seven birdies in the afternoon match, but simply ran into a buzzsaw in Colsaerts -- but I'd suggest splitting up he and Stricker this afternoon. Woods can pair with anybody; sending him back out with Stricker seems forced now, and it hasn't been successful. They've lost four straight matches together, counting the Presidents Cup.
If the golf is as good today as it was yesterday, we're in for a treat. Enjoy.