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  • Europe retains the Ryder Cup
    The Ryder Cup is staying in Europe. Jamie Donaldson assured Europe the 14 points it needed to keep the precious gold trophy on Sunday when he went 4 up with four holes to play against Keegan
  • Europe facing US challenge in Ryder Cup singles
    With Rory McIlroy leading the way, the Europeans are trying to withstand a U.S. challenge in Sunday's singles matches as they seek to maintain their grip on the Ryder Cup.
  • Leading 10-6, Europe closing in on Cup
    Justin Rose swept that magical putter into the air before his ball even reached the hole, and he punched his right fist when it dropped for a birdie.
Ryder Cup
Event: 39th Ryder Cup matches
When: Today-Sunday
Course: Medinah (Ill.) Country Club; at 7,658 yards, it will be the longest ever for a Ryder Cup
Format: Four matches of fourballs (better ball) and foursomes (alternate shot) today and Saturday, 12 singles matches Sunday
Points: Europe needs 14 points to retain the cup; United States needs 14 1/2 points to win the cup
Series: United States leads 25-11-2
Captains: Jose Maria Olazabal (Europe), Davis Love III (United States)
European roster: Nicolas Colsaerts, Luke Donald, Sergio Garcia, Peter Hanson, Martin Kaymer, Paul Lawrie, Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy, Francesco Molinari, Ian Poulter, Justin Rose, Lee Westwood
U.S. roster: Keegan Bradley, Jason Dufner, Jim Furyk, Dustin Johnson, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Steve Stricker, Bubba Watson, Tiger Woods
TV: 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. today, ESPN; 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, NBC Sports; noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, NBC Sports
Associated Press
Phil Mickelson has an 11-17-6 career record at the Ryder Cup. Mickelson, in his ninth Ryder Cup, has been on the winning side just twice.

US counts on Ryder rookies

7 American vets coming in with losing records

– As they always say about the Ryder Cup, experience is everything. On that score, the U.S. team is fortunate that some of its players have none of it. After all, the most veteran American team members have mostly lost the event, and who needs experience like that?

“We need that excitement, that energy that rookies provide as much as they need a little bit of guidance,” said Phil Mickelson, who will be playing in his ninth Ryder Cup today. “We need that positive outlook, that desire to win, because our highlights are (only) ’99 and ’08, the two times that we’ve won.”

Europe has won six of the last eight installments of this biennial match-play extravaganza, four of the last five. Most of that streak has come during an era in which Tiger Woods dominated just about everything else in golf. Woods has been on the winning side in the Ryder Cup only once, in 1999 (he was injured in 2008). “Well, certainly I am responsible for that, because I didn’t win the points that I was put out there for,” he said, alluding to his 13-14-1 career record.

No one is insisting it was all Woods’ fault. As Steve Stricker, his likely partner, said, “He’s kind of a marked man every time he tees it up in one of these events.”

None of Woods’ seven current teammates with Ryder Cup experience has a winning record, either. The bottom line is it might just be a positive that Brandt Snedeker, Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson and Jason Dufner have a combined zero Ryder Cup matches on their résumés.

Johnny Miller said on a conference call, “I’m not a big believer in doing anything historical, because historically, we (stink) in the Ryder Cup. I like new blood.”

The feeling is that new blood is better than scar tissue. “I’m going to be playing a lot with Keegan Bradley, it’s no secret here,” said Mickelson, whose career mark is 11-17-6. “He is so excited, and that exuberance and energy that he brings, you feed off of it.”

In the U.S. team room, it is seen as a good thing that the first-timers can give as good as they get, razzing-wise. “Guys like Phil and Tiger, some of the best guys in the world, I feel like sometimes they get a hall pass because they are who they are,” Snedeker said. “And I want to make sure they don’t get a hall pass. So I give them a hard time and they give it right back, and I take it.”

Snedeker is the hottest golfer on either side, given that he won the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup on Sunday. The latter brought him a life-changing bonus. When he was signing autographs outside the Medinah Country Club clubhouse Thursday, one fan yelled out, “The 10 Million Dollar Man!” “I’m not going to splurge on anything. I know it’s not going to affect me one way or the other. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s really not,” he said. He grew up watching the Ryder Cup. “It’s kind of crazy to think that I’m on that TV this time, I’m out there with kids watching me,” Snedeker said, adding, “Friday morning can’t get here quick enough.”

That’s the enthusiasm of a Ryder Cup newcomer. He might not be the only one of those in his family. His wife is here, eight months pregnant. “We’re making sure,” he said, “she is very, very comfortable this week.”