Tiger Woods (left) and partner Chris Riley were all smiles after their 4-and-3 win Saturday morning at Oakland Hills. (Photo: Getty Images)
After being dominated on Friday, Team USA has turned the tables during Saturday morning's four-balls at the 35th Ryder Cup Matches, sparked by a 4-and-3 win by Tiger Woods and new partner Chris Riley.
Don Jozwiak, PGA.com Contributor
September 18, 2004
BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- Team USA Captain Hal Sutton thought his squad played too defensively on Friday. On Saturday, his players have gone on the offensive at the 35th Ryder Cup Matches. At the end of the four-ball matches, Team USA closed the European advantage to 8-4.
"You feel all emotions in the Ryder Cup," Sutton said immediately after the conclusion of the final four-ball match. "We had no energy yesterday. Today we got off to a good start and invited the crowd to the party."
It was a dramatic turnaround from Friday morning, when the U.S. dream team of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson were soundly beaten by Padraig Harrington and Colin Montgomerie -- and Team USA was nearly swept in four-ball matches.
Mickelson was not in the Saturday morning lineup for four-balls, but Woods was a big part of the turnaround. Woods and Chris Riley were the first to put a point on the board, closing out the team of Darren Clarke and Ian Poulter convincingly, 4 and 3.
Woods and Riley combined for six birdies, including three from Riley over the last four holes to put the match away. "I'm feeling like I'm on cloud nine," said Riley. "Tiger's the man, I love playing with him. We played our first team tournament when I was 15, and this is a dream come true today."
Meanwhile, the seemingly unbeatable team of Harrington and Montgomerie couldn't make it to the 17th hole. Stewart Cink and Davis Love III won the first hole and never relinquished the advantage, winning 3 and 2 on Cink's birdie putt on the 16th hole. The European tandem lacked the putting prowess they showed yesterday, while Love -- who was part of two big losses on Friday -- birdied four of the first six holes and looked like he'd rediscovered his top form.
Chris DiMarco and Jay Haas -- the only team to win a full point on Friday -- halved a spirited match with Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood. Team USA took a 2-up lead after six holes, but didn't win another hole. Garcia missed a birdie putt to win the 17th hole, but his circus putt -- a 45-footer over a huge swale with 20 feet of break -- for bogey on 18 halved the hole, giving each team a half-point.
The final match on the course in the morning four-balls went all the way to the 18th green. Chad Campbell and Jim Furyk played a spirited match against two European rookies, Paul Casey and David Howell. Campbell gave his team a 1-up lead with a long birdie putt at No. 16, but Howell holed a rare birdie on the par-3 17th and sent the match to 18 all square. Furyk and Campbell each were in position to make par, but poor short-game shots allowed Casey to win the hole with a par, handing Team Europe its only win of the morning.