The United States Ryder Cup team put smiles on millions of American golf fans on Saturday but Tiger Woods was not among them. The biennial showdown has never brought out the best in Woods but the 14-time major winner slumped to new lows at Medinah Country Club, losing all three of his matches and being benched for the first time in his Ryder Cup career.
After being relegated to the sidelines by captain Davis Love III for Saturday's morning foursomes, Woods and partner Steve Stricker returned to duty in the afternoon fourballs. But a one-up loss to Spaniard Sergio Garcia and Briton Luke Donald left them as the only members of the 12-man American squad not to contribute a point to the US cause.
As a Ryder Cup party erupted around him, Woods had the forlorn look of someone who had been left off the guest list, standing alone in the twilight with his eyes closed and hands clasped above his head absorbing yet another defeat.
"I've played well the last two afternoons and didn’t get a point," Woods said after his Ryder Cup record dipped to 13-17-2. "It's tough.... Feeling good about my game but unfortunately haven't got a point."
Woods said he supported Love's decision to sit him down for the morning matches but the break did little to energise the former-world number one as he and Stricker watched Garcia and Donald race to a four-up lead in the fourballs.
Shot at redemption
Despite his woes, Woods will get a final chance to earn a point in Sunday's singles. While Woods has fallen flat in the team events, he remains an imposing opponent in head-to-head competition with a record of 4-1-1 in Ryder Cup play. And the former world number one is still looming as a winner with the Americans holding a commanding 10-6 advantage at the end of the second day.
"Being up four is nice," offered Woods. "We are really looking forward to going out there and hopefully... we are in a great spot right now to win the Cup."