U.S. Captain Corey Pavin is hoping that things will be looking up on Monday. (Getty Images)
Team USA will come out firing on Monday in push for big comeback, says Pavin
If U.S. Captain Pavin was disappointed by Sunday's turn of events, he wasn't letting it show. He's proud of the effort his players are giving, and believes they can still pull off a big rally to win.
By T.J. Auclair, PGA.com Interactive Producer
NEWPORT, Wales -- If there’s a silver-lining for Team USA and Captain Corey Pavin as they go to bed Sunday night, it’s this: Their 9 ½-6 ½ deficit to the Europeans in the 2010 Ryder Cup might seem daunting with 12 singles matches left to be decided on Monday, but the U.S. has come back from worse before.
Once before, to be exact. That would be in the 1999 miracle at Brookline. The Americans trailed 10-6 going into the Sunday singles, but roared to a stunning 14 ½-13 ½ victory.
Of course, that was a home game. If the U.S. is to make the second-biggest comeback in Ryder Cup history at Celtic Manor on Monday, the players are going to have to hit the mute button on the pro-European crowd -- something a leaderboard that bleeds red early could do.
Clearly, it will not be easy. It’ll be monumentally difficult, in fact. Especially since in the matter of 24 hours the U.S. saw a two-point advantage crumble into a three-point deficit.
“It's a lot easier to play on your home ground,” Pavin said. “You know, things go well and the crowd is loud and it's very encouraging.
“The Europeans were having fun today,” he added. “They had a great time. When you're doing well, it's easy to have fun.”
And were the Europeans ever doing well. It wasn’t just easy to have fun, it was simple. Of the six third-session matches, the Europeans won an astonishing five and halved the other on the final hole. That’s some momentum, to be sure.
If Pavin was disappointed or shell-shocked by the Europeans all-out blitz of his squad on Sunday, he wasn’t letting it show.
“I was really proud of the team today,” Pavin said. “Obviously we went to sleep last night down in every match. I watched 12 men out there that fought hard and held their heads high, played every shot hard, and we got a couple of matches to 18. I saw guys fighting and not getting quite the result that we were looking for, but we nearly did. I was very, very proud of them, pleased with their effort; and I'm sure tomorrow, obviously, they know what they need to do. And they are going to come out firing.”
At the Country Club in Brookline back in 1999, then-Team USA Captain Ben Crenshaw and his players faced a 10-6 deficit going into Sunday’s singles. Many had written those matches off as just another U.S. defeat. But not Crenshaw. He never stopped believing and said as much on the eve of the singles.
"I'm a big believer in fate," he famously warned, wagging his finger with a wink.
Crenshaw’s confidence in his players translated to an historic Sunday that will never be forgotten.
Pavin conceded he has a world of confidence in his players, too. But, if Pavin had any premonitions or any good vibes like Crenshaw in ’99, he wasn’t willing to offer them up.
“We have got 12 of the best players in the world,” Pavin said. “They have 12 of the best players in the world, too. Match play, anything can happen. And the one thing I can guarantee you is that Team USA is going to come out tomorrow and play hard and try to win the Ryder Cup.”
If that happens, it could arguably be the greatest U.S. triumph ever. Unlike 1999, the U.S. is on foreign soil this time. And if they pull off another miracle?
Simple. They’re going to party like it’s 1999.
And if they don’t?
“My thoughts for the last two years are basically to do everything I can to give Team USA the best chance to win, and that's where my focus is,” Pavin said. “These guys go out there and play. I feel like I've done a reasonable job, and you'll have to ask the players about that. But that was my focus. That's what I wanted to accomplish. So it wasn't about a result, per se. And obviously I'd like to be sitting on the 18th green and in victory with the team. But, that's not the way I've been looking at it. I've been looking at it as doing the best job I can for Team USA.”