Paul McGinley has called on Rory McIlroy to help restore Ian Poulter's battered pride by pairing the Medinah heroes at Gleneagles today.
McIlroy had a nightmare off the tee alongside Sergio Garcia, losing in fourballs against Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson with his new Nike Vapor driver in the bag.
He then hit even fewer fairways alongside the Spanish ace in the afternoon foursomes before three late birdies salvaged a dramatic half with Jimmy Walker and Rickie Fowler.
McGinley has split up McIlroy and Garcia for this morning's fourballs and put the world No 1 back out with Poulter after the English ace suffered a 5 and 4 hammering alongside rookie Stephen Gallacher at the hands of US young guns Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed.
Banking on McIlroy to help Poulter fire again, McGinley said: “Ian Poulter's ego was really hurt today. It's not often he gets beaten like that in a Ryder Cup match. And that hurt.
"I had a chat with him out on the golf course and I'm going to bring back him up and there's no better way of doing that than by putting him on the shoulder of Rory McIlroy.”
Expecting Tom Watson's USA squad to hit back hard this morning, McGinley added: "Yeah, they'll come at us strongly in the morning. We're going to have to hold very firm, hold very strong.
"This Ryder Cup is far from over, far from us sailing off into the sunset, that ain't going to happen.
"There's a lot of fight in that American team and we're going to have to play incredibly well again tomorrow because Ryder Cups are not won easily.”
As for McIlroy's partnership with Garcia and the Ulsterman's risky decision to put a new driver in the bag this week, McGinley stuck by both his stars.
He said: "I'm not going to second guess Rory. He's the best player in the world and he makes his own decisions and I am not going to second guess any decisions he makes on what driver he uses. That's totally his call."
And even though McIlroy and Garcia only got a half from their two matches together and are split up today, McGinley insisted they're still a great partnership.
McGinley said: "I think their finish today showed you what kind of a spirit they have. I think the dynamic is strong between them and just because you go out and you lose a match in The Ryder Cup doesn't mean you're a bad partnership.
"You're playing at the very, very elite level here in professional sport in our game of golf, and sometimes you can go out and it just doesn't click.
"It's not because the dynamic between the two of you is wrong, or your games don't match up. That's just high level sport.
"They went back out in the afternoon again and got away to a slow start again and seemed to be spinning their wheels a lot without really going forward.
"But it just shows you the resilience they have that they could pull a halved match out the way they did. I certainly wouldn't hesitate putting them together again."