GLENEAGLES, Scotland (AP) — On the verge of victory, Europe captain Paul McGinley began to reveal some of the inspirational messages his team has been hearing — and reading — all week in their room at Gleneagles.
One of the key words was “complacency,” and that was even before Europe took a 10-6 lead into the final round. Europe has won seven of the last nine Ryder Cups, and it was regarded as a favorite on home soil.
To illustrate his point, McGinley placed a large graphic in the room with the message, “Passion has determined our past. Attitude will determine our future.”
“That’s for complacency,” McGinley said.
He might have looked like a prophet with one of the other messages.
McGinley said one of the images was right outside the team room, about 6 feet wide and 9 feet tall. He described the picture as a “European rock” in the middle of a raging storm in the ocean. The message underneath says, “We will be the rock when the storm arrives.”
“And the storm arrived this morning,” McGinley said on Saturday. “The American team came at us really strongly this morning.”
Europe was on the verge of losing three of the four matches — that would have tied the overall score — until Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter rallied to get a halve out of the final fourballs match. That kept Europe ahead by one point. And for the second straight day, European blue quickly filled up the scoreboard within an hour of the afternoon session, giving the team plenty of momentum.
“Our wave came again this afternoon,” McGinley said. “Fresh guys performed and got the job done. There’s a lot of things, and hopefully a lot of continuity in what the players are seeing this week.”
SEVE AND LEE: The apprentice has supplanted the master.
With a 2-and-1 victory on Saturday afternoon, Lee Westwood earned the 23rd point of his Ryder Cup career.
That moves him up to fourth in Europe’s all-time scoring chart, a half-point ahead of Seve Ballesteros, who put 22 1/2 points on the board in eight Ryder Cups from 1979-1995.
Ballesteros also was Westwood’s captain in his rookie Ryder Cup appearance at Valderrama in 1997.
“He captained like he played: Very flamboyant, unpredictable. You just remember him wanting to do everything himself that week. Basically, would grab the club out of your hand and want to play the shot, which was his passion for the game and passion for the Ryder Cup,” Westwood reminisced.
“I was very lucky at Valderrama,” he added. “I sat in the team room looking around, and Seve is the captain and Nick Faldo is my partner, and sat over there is Bernhard Langer and there’s Ian Woosnam over there, and Monty (Colin Montgomerie) and Chema (Jose Maria Olazabal). Just people I’d grown up idolizing, and suddenly I was 23, 24 years old and sat in a roomful of my heroes.
“Everybody remembers their first one, but when you’ve got Seve as a captain and so many of your heroes around you, you’re going to remember that.”
One more point from his singles on Sunday against Jimmy Walker would lift Westwood to third on Europe’s scoring list, above Colin Montgomerie, who has 23 1/2 points. The leader is Faldo, with 25.
“To move above Seve Ballesteros in Ryder Cup points is something that I guess you just don’t ever imagine doing,” Westwood said. “He’s just such a legend, and a Ryder Cup legend, that I would never have dreamt of it. I’ve always said the Ryder Cup is not about individual points totals and stuff like that, which it’s not. It’s about winning the cup for Europe and winning as many points as possible. But if you perform well, and to be in with names like that, it’s obviously very satisfying.”
GALLACHER’S GOAL: It hasn’t been much of a homecoming so far for Scotland’s only Ryder Cup player.
Stephen Gallacher can turn that around against Phil Mickelson in the singles.
“He’s drawn one of the greatest players we’ve seen in recent times,” Europe captain Paul McGinley. “He’s going to be very much the underdog in that game.
“He’s up against it but he’ll relish that.”
Gallacher, who grew up nearby and has played on the PGA Centenary course at Gleneagles more than 100 times, has featured in only one match this week. He lost the Friday morning fourballs with Ian Poulter 5 and 4 against American rookies Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed.
The last captain’s pick to play only one match over Friday and Saturday was Jesper Parnevik of Sweden in 2002.
FAMILIAR FOES: The singles on Sunday include a couple of rematches.
Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler are in the third match. McIlroy was runner-up in both of Fowler’s worldwide wins — Quail Hollow and South Korea — though that doesn’t compare with this summer. Fowler was runner-up to McIlroy in the last two majors.
Martin Kaymer and Bubba Watson are in the sixth match. Kaymer beat Watson in a playoff at Whistling Straits in 2010 to win the PGA Championship.
And two matches have the most recent memories. Sergio Garcia plays Jim Furyk. The Spaniard beat Furyk in a crucial singles at Medinah two years ago, winning the last two holes. Ian Poulter beat Webb Simpson at Medinah. They play each other again.
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