Woods could face axe as Europe take command

Tiger Woods is in danger of being dropped from a Ryder Cup session for the first time in his career after Europe maintained their stranglehold on the second day.

india Updated: Sep 23, 2006 17:00 IST

Tiger Woods is in danger of being dropped from a Ryder Cup session for the first time in his career after Europe maintained their stranglehold on the biennial team event on the second day.

Woods was well below his best on Friday and again sprayed the ball all over the K Club course as he and Jim Furyk fell two down after nine holes against Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood in Saturday's morning fourballs.

Europe, 5-3 up on the US overnight, were ahead in three of the fourballs and trailing in the other.

Westwood produced a hat-trick of magical approach shots early on against Woods and Jim Furyk.

The experienced Westwood holed from three feet at the first but spurned birdie chances from seven feet at the second and five feet at the third.

Clarke came to the party at the fourth and fifth, holing out from four feet and three feet for consecutive birdies.

The Americans were being eclipsed by Clarke and Westwood and Woods's day was summed up when he missed from four feet at the eighth and three feet at the ninth.

Woods's lacklustre performance in the opening three sessions of the competition was such that US captain Tom Lehman may decide to leave him out for the afternoon foursomes.

Paul Casey and Robert Karlsson were one up on Stewart Cink and JJ Henry through 11 holes.

Casey made an inauspicious start on another day of occasional spells of heavy rain mixed with bright sunshine, twice finding the sand on the opening hole.

But partner Robert Karlsson chipped in from off the back of the green for a birdie three at the second to put the Europeans one up.

World Match Play champion Casey added further birdies at the fourth and eighth, the latter after rolling in an 18-foot putt.

Cink, however, birdied the 10th to reduce the U.S. deficit to one hole.

European captain Ian Woosnam provided his own unique brand of leadership at the start of match two, planting a kiss on the cheeks of Sergio Garcia and Jose Maria Olazabal before they took on the heavyweight pair of Phil Mickelson and Chris DiMarco.

The Spanish duo, suitably inspired by their skipper, grabbed two birdies in the first four holes to go one up.

Garcia was inches away from finding the water at the eighth but his partner came to his rescue, sinking a 12-foot birdie putt to extend their advantage.

The 26-year-old Garcia sank a 10-footer for another birdie at the ninth before Olazabal birdied the 10th to put the Europeans four up.

Rookie Zach Johnson gave himself and Scott Verplank a fast start in match four, birdying four of the first five holes against Henrik Stenson and Padraig Harrington.

But the American lead was restricted to one hole because of three birdies from the European duo.

It was all square when Johnson and Verplank could only bogey the sixth before Stenson and Harrington dropped back to one down when they faltered at the eighth.

First Published: Sep 23, 2006 17:00 IST