After not making it past the 15th hole in his first two Ryder Cup matches — a pair of morning-round thumpings at the hands of the red-hot pairing of Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley — Northwestern product Luke Donald found his form, and the 18th green, late Saturday evening.
Buoyed by a clutch tee shot to about 3 feet on the Par 3 17th that led to a birdie, Donald and Sergio Garcia held off a late charge by Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker to earn a must-win point for the Europeans in one of the most exciting matches of the day.
“I felt really calm all day. I don’t know why, but I just did,” Donald said. “And I kind of went back to 2006 (PGA at Medinah), where I hit a 6 iron to the pin to about that distance. I just thought, ‘just do the same.’
“I knew we had to make birdies coming in. You never give up against Tiger and Stricker; they are a formidable pairing and they played great on the back nine.”
Roar of the day:
An already-raucous Medinah Country Club somehow took it up a notch when Dustin Johnson nailed a 12-foot birdie putt on No. 17 to give himself and Matt Kuchar a 1-up lead they would hold onto in defeating Paul Lawrie and Nicolas Colsaerts.
“That was probably the loudest roar I’ve ever heard,” Johnson said. “I was so jacked up walking to the 18th tee; I had goosebumps.”
After further review:
Remember the headlines generated by Jim Furyk’s remarks in Atlanta recently, calling Rory McIlroy a marked man at the Ryder Cup?
Turns out something was lost in translation.
“I’m pretty sure if you review the tape, I did not say that,” Furyk said. “What I said was that in the FedExCup, he was the marked man because he was the best player in the world and he was No. 1 in the FedExCup points.
“The next day the headlines were that I said he was a marked man. I promise you, I’m not one to incite the other team — just let the sleeping giants lay and not bother them too much.”
Going for the cycle:
For the third straight day, an errant shot by Tiger Woods hit a spectator.
Saturday afternoon, Woods’ ball hit a woman on the seventh hole and the BBC reported that, in return for her pain, she received a signed glove and a hug from Woods.
Fun with fans … mostly:
Bubba Watson has been having a great time this weekend playing it up to the crowds at Medinah.
But there’s a line Watson doesn’t like to see crossed — and that would be fans touching him, like at least one did Saturday afternoon.
“I’m really claustrophobic; I don’t like big crowds and I don’t like people touching me,” he said. “It’s something that happened to me at the Masters; a couple people hit me in the back, and not slapped me in the back, hit me in the back. I don’t really like that.”
Chip-ins: Among the VIP’s in the house Saturday were President George W. Bush and his father, President George H.W. Bush. … The PGA of America has invited fans to participate in a “Red Out” in support of the U.S. Ryder Cup team Sunday on the final day of action.
He said it:
“I feel really good about my game … it hurts even more when you just want to get out and play.”
— Sweden’s Peter Hanson, who only played one match over the first two days of Ryder Cup competition.Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.