McIlroy and McDowell denied on the greens

Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell couldn’t buy a putt in the Saturday morning foursomes. Picture: Fran Caffrey/www.golffile.ieRory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell confessed that they went right off their greens as the United States took the third session 3-1 to surge into a commanding 8-4 Ryder Cup lead.

The Northern Irish pair made just two birdies all day in their foursomes clash with Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker, losing 1 up to turn a Ryder Cup drama into a crisis.

The Ulster duo didn’t make their first birdie until McIlroy grabbed one for a half at the par-five 14th.

And the lack of firepower resulted in McDowell being dropped for the afternoon with McIlroy paired with Ryder Cup firebrand Ian Poulter.

McIlroy confessed: “We just sort of plodded our way around the golf course.  We made a couple birdies coming in but it just wasn’t enough.

“We got behind early again and then we tried our hardest to get back into the match but it just wasn’t enough.”

Playing in the final foursomes, they were under pressure all day despite seeing Poulter and Justin Rose battle to beat Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson one up.

Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson handed Lee Westwood and Luke Donald the joint biggest defeat in the history of the Ryder Cup - a 7 and 6 hammering that had been recorded just twice before, in 1979 and 1991.

Mickelson and Bradley needed just 44 holes to win their first three matches, making an incredible 21 birdies along the way.

In contrast, Europe won just nine holes in the foursomes session with Nicolas Colsaerts and Sergio Garcia beated 2 and 1 by Jason Dufner and Dustin Johnson.

McDowell confessed: “It was very hard to ignore the red on the board.  It’s hard to ignore the noise that’s been made around the golf course.  

“We are trying to concentrate on our game and we are trying to get our job done.  We just had two sessions in a row now where we made nothing, and consequently, going to lose to great teams.”

McDowell and McIlroy lost the first and fourth to birdies to go two down and never quite recovered.

“We were always behind,” McDowell said.  “We got off to a slow start.  Just parring the place to death, which is just not good enough in this format.  

“We just couldn’t get the ball to go in the hole.  Rory had a few putts in particular that burned some edges, and we just couldn’t get any momentum going.”

McIlroy birdied the 16th from seven feet to leave Europe just one down with two to play.

But after taking the match to the 18th, McDowell couldn’t find the green in two and McIlroy failed to chip in from the back of the green to snatch a half.

“I was sort of in between clubs on the last hole and should have done better really to give Rory a chance and didn’t quite do it, McDowell said.

“ I’m very disappointed a, to lose this morning and b, to the no be playing this afternoon.  It’s been a cold two sessions on the greens for myself, especially, and you know, we just didn’t get the rub of the green this morning.  

“We had a lot of great putts that didn’t go in and two great competitors in Furyk and Snedeker.  Just disappointed.  We are in a bit of a hole and I’ll be looking forward to supporting the guys this afternoon.”

McDowell confessed that stopping the Americans was going to be tough but not impossible with 16 points still up for grabs.

“We are in a hole,” he said.  “There’s blood in the water and they are up for it.  They have got a head of steam up and we have got to try and stop it this afternoon.

“It’s absolutely still alive, there’s no doubt about it.  We have a big afternoon ahead of us.  

“We have 12 big singles tomorrow, and it’s happened many, many times from this position, we’ve got to play great but we can absolutely come back from here.”