‘We couldn’t really be any worse’: European legends struggling in Ryder Cup-inspired event
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The European team is an era of dominance at the Ryder Cup, winning eight of the last 11 matches, including earlier this fall at Marco Simone in Rome.
However, that run of success has not translated to the debut of the PGA Tour Champions Ryder Cup-style event.
At the inaugural World Champions Cup, held this week between Team USA, Team Europe and Team International at the Concession Golf Club in Florida, the Europeans seemed to be on track after ending the first day up a half point over the Americans.
However, the European contingent faltered on Friday, falling 9.5 and 10 points behind the other two six-man squads. Longtime European stalwart Colin Montgomerie was disappointed with his side’s performance on Day 2.
“We couldn’t really be any worse than this morning,” Montgomerie said. “I didn’t want to say that, you know.”
The World Champions Cup uses a unique format, played in sixsomes using modified formats of alternate shot and better ball over the first two days of nine-hole matches. In both formats, the team with the lowest score on each hole in each group earns two points for their team, the next lowest earns one point while the highest score earns none.
Confused? We don’t blame you.
The tournament takes a break Saturday for a pro-am before the final round Sunday before three-way singles matches on Sunday, which will be played in threesomes, using the same scoring system.
In the morning “sixsomes” session Friday, Montgomerie and partner Darren Clarke posted the highest score on five of the nine holes of the match. They ended up with just three points during the session, a feat 31-time DP World Tour winner called, “a disaster.”
“Now, whether we were unlucky or just played badly as a team, I’m not sure, but we’ve had a very poor day scoring,” he said.
Clarke, the European team captain this week, added, as the first pairing out in each session thus far, the onus has been on them to get points on the board for the rest of the team behind them. The groups for the event are not changed until Sunday singles so Clark and Montgomerie have led off against the Americans’ David Toms and Brett Quigley and the Internationals’ Steven Alker and Retief Goosen each session.
“It’s always nice coming out, seeing your fellow teammates with points on the board early,” Clarke said. “We didn’t do that this morning, simply didn’t play well enough, and the guys we were playing against played really well.”
However, the Europeans do have some hope. Aside from years of taking part in triumphant victories and heroic comebacks at the Ryder Cup, there are also just as many points available Sunday as the first two days of the events. The Europeans will start the singles session with 101.5 points while the Americans have 111. Both teams trail the Internationals’ total of 111.5.
“So we’ve got to remember that that’s 12 matches gone and there’s another 12 matches to go. So we’re only halfway and we’ve had two full days,” Montgomerie said. “Sunday is a very, very important day. If we can get off to a good morning on Sunday, we’ll put ourselves in position. That’s what we’ve got to— we’ve got no option now to that and that’s what we’ve got to do.”