Ryder Cup: Can the US win without Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson?

Ryder Cup results so far suggest that the world's No. 1 and No. 2 professional golfers are not helping the American team. Europe has a huge lead going into Monday's last round of the Ryder Cup.

Jon Super/AP
Tiger Woods, left, and Steve Stricker of the U.S. watch the play on the 12th hole of the 2010 Ryder Cup golf tournament at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, Wales, Sunday.

The Europeans crushed the Americans on Sunday.

The result was so devastating that US Ryder Cup captain Cory Pavin has all but benched Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson on Monday. Yes, soggy weather has pushed the competition into Monday for the first time in the Cup's 83-year history.

Monday's singles play will begin with Europe holding a nearly insurmountable lead, 9½-6½.

[UPDATE: At 8 a.m. EDT Monday, the US had narrowed the lead, with Europe ahead 10 1/2 - 8 1/2. Luke Donald leads Jim Furyk by one going into the 17th. Stewart Cink and Rory Mcilroy are all square heading into the 18th. Woods and Mickelson are ahead in their matches, but will it be enough?]

Nearly insurmountable.

"The Americans are traditionally stronger in singles play, and they overcame a 10-6 deficit on the final day at Brookline, Massachusetts, in 1999. But that match was at home, with a raucous crowd cheering them on," notes Associated Press writer Paul Newberry.

So shaken was Pavin by the Sunday performances of the World's No. 1 and No. 2 players that he's scheduled Woods to play in the 8th match Monday, and Mickelson in the 10th match at Celtic Manor in Newport, Wales.

European captain Colin Montgomerie was as shocked as others.

“I am trying to be as diplomatic as possible throughout this week, and I continue to be that way,” said Montgomerie. “But it does surprise me that Match 8 and Match 10 contain the No. 1 and [No.] 2 in the world.”

"By operating from the middle of the order, Woods will avoid the strongest players in the European lineup, with Europe skipper Colin Montgomerie having top-loaded his roster. Instead, Woods will face Ryder Cup rookie Francesco Molinari," points out Yahoo sports writer Martin Rogers.

Europe needs just five points to win the Cup. By the time Woods or Mickelson get very far around the Celtic Manor course, the outcome of the tournament could be decided.

But Pavin told reporters, “I think it is a great spot for Tiger ... If the matches go well to start off, I think the eighth slot is very important.”

We shall see. The Europeans need 14.5 points to win. The Americans, as defending champs, need 14 points.

Monday's singles lineup:

Steve Stricker, U.S., vs. Lee Westwood, Europe.

Stewart Cink, U.S., vs. Rory McIlroy, Europe.

Jim Furyk, U.S., vs. Luke Donald, Europe.

Dustin Johnson, U.S., vs. Martin Kaymer, Europe.

Matt Kuchar, U.S.,, vs. Ian Poulter, Europe.

Jeff Overton, U.S., vs. Ross Fisher, Europe.

Bubba Watson, U.S., vs. Miguel Angel Jimenez, Europe.

Tiger Woods, U.S., vs. Francesco Molinari, Europe.

Rickie Fowler, U.S., vs. Edoardo Molinari, Europe.

Phil Mickelson, U.S., vs. Peter Hanson, Europe.

Zach Johnson, U.S., vs. Padraig Harrington, Europe.

Hunter Mahan, U.S., vs. Graeme McDowell, Europe.

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