Westwood's short misses cost Euros dearly


CHASKA, Minn. – Lee Westwood missed a pair of short putts at the end of play Saturday at the Ryder Cup that may haunt him for a while if the Europeans don’t mount another epic comeback Sunday.

His misses dug the Euros a bigger hole to escape in singles.

Westwood pushed a 4-footer for par right at the 17th hole and didn’t even hit the hole jabbing a nervy 3-footer for birdie to the right at the 18th in a fourball loss.

Americans J.B. Holmes and Ryan Moore walked away with what felt like a gift, a 1-up victory against Westwood and Danny Willett. The Americans left the course with a 9½ to 6 ½ lead going into Sunday singles. If the Euros win that match, it’s just a 8 ½ to 7 ½ lead for the Americans. If they halve the match, it’s just a 9-7 lead for the Americans.

European captain Darren Clarke was asked how Westwood, an 11-time Ryder Cup veteran, took the loss.

“Lee’s fine,” Clarke said. “He's a veteran, and he's done this many, many times. He's disappointed, and he's disappointed more for the team than himself when he came off the golf course. He's now back focused on what he needs to do tomorrow.”

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Westwood will go off seventh in singles against Moore.

Westwood came into the week needing to win just two points to equal Nick Faldo as the all-time leading point winner in European Ryder Cup history. He’s 0-2 this week.

Willett felt for his teammate, watching him miss twice from point-blank range.

“It’s a shame,” Willett said. “I think we both hit pretty good putts down the stretch. Obviously the last two, they are pretty tricky where the flag is and it's just a shame with two great golf shots in there and put the pressure on and couldn't capitalize.”

The Americans were delighted walking away with the point.

“I thought he would make the putt, so I was definitely surprised when it didn't go in,” Holmes said. “But it was in the shadows, and it was downhill, so it definitely wasn't a gimme. We fought hard today and were happy to get a point.”