Ryder Cup – Darren Clarke backs Europe to pull off another comeback


Ryder Cup - Darren Clarke backs Europe to pull off another comeback
    Darren Clarke is drawing on the memories of the Miracle at Medinah as he insisted his European team can overturn a three-point deficit and retain the Ryder Cup.
    
    Team Europe had played some inspired golf in response to the foursomes whitewash early on the first day as they reduced the arrears to just a single point heading into Saturday's fourballs.
    
    But the home side bounced back to claim a 3-1 session victory and head into Sunday's singles needing only five points from 12 matches to win the trophy for the first time since 2008.
    
    Darren Clarke and vice-captain Ian Poulter were lifted by a strong early performance from Europe
    Darren Clarke and vice-captain Ian Poulter were lifted by a strong early performance from Europe
    Europe famously came from 10-6 down to retain the Ryder Cup after a sensational final day at Medinah two years ago, when Clarke's opposite number Davis Love III was also captain, and the European skipper is hoping for a repeat performance at Hazeltine National.
    
    "I was delighted and over the moon for Jose Maria Olazabal, but I also felt for Davis that day, with him being as good a friend as he always has been," said Clarke. "In Medinah, obviously, they were four points behind, one point worse than what we are now.
    
     
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    "But teams have come back from that deficit, not just there, but elsewhere, so it's still game on and there are 12 points to play for tomorrow.
    
    "I've got a team that were disappointed when we came off the golf course, as naturally they should be, I would expect them to be that way. But we sat and had a team meeting afterwards with the players and the caddies, and some of the players spoke up, and we had a really good, strong meeting afterwards.
    
    Concerned faces on Clarke, Poulter and Paul Lawrie as the USA dominated the fourballs
    Concerned faces on Clarke, Poulter and Paul Lawrie as the USA dominated the fourballs
    "And those guys fully believe that they have the talent and the desire to put a result in," added Clarke, who insisted Rory McIlroy, who will lead off the singles against Patrick Reed, was not suffering from physical or mental fatigue after featuring in all four sessions while "charged up".
    
    "I've got five guys that have played every match so far," said Clarke in reference to Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia and Thomas Pieters as well as his team talisman McIlroy.
    
    Clarke is confident that Rory McIlroy will not be fatigued after playing in all four sessions
    Clarke is confident that Rory McIlroy will not be fatigued after playing in all four sessions
    "We went into this week and I've spoken to every one of them about the possibility of having to do so, and every one of them said, by all means, whatever you ask of me, they will do; they will do their best.
    
    "I appreciate what's been said about Rory going out there and playing as charged up as he is, but he's a young man and he's playing some of the best golf of his life right now. I know for a fact that he can't wait to get on that tee tomorrow morning, so I have no worries about Rory."
    
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    Clarke also leapt to the defence of his long-time friend and former Ryder Cup partner Lee Westwood, who looked set to snatch a crucial half alongside Danny Willett against JB Holmes and Ryan Moore when he knocked his approach to two feet at the last, only to block the putt and hand victory to the Americans.
    
    "Lee played fantastic all day," Clarke added. "To hit the shot that he did, to get it that close, and indeed the one that Danny hit out of the bunker to get it up there, he gave himself every opportunity.
    
    Clarke had words of encouragement for Lee Westwood after his crucial miss at the last
    Clarke had words of encouragement for Lee Westwood after his crucial miss at the last
    "It was a downhill, right-to-left putt that he would probably make nine times out of 10, but you add Ryder Cup pressure and he missed it. It happens in professional golf. But his golf all day was fantastic. He's disappointed, but he's ready to get out there and play again tomorrow."

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