By Rob Woollard, AFP
NEWPORT, Wales — Europe roared back into contention at the Ryder Cup here Saturday, staging a dramatic late rally after the United States opened up a two-point lead on a gripping second day. Leading by one point after completion of the rain-delayed opening fourballs earlier Saturday, the ice-cool Americans kept their nerve to take a 6-4 lead over Colin Montgomerie’s men following the foursomes at Celtic Manor. But after receiving a rallying cry from a furious Montgomerie — who accused his players of lacking passion — the Europeans came blasting out of the blocks as the third session got under way at Celtic Manor. When play was finally halted just before 7:00 p.m., Europe led in all six matches — in some matches by margins of several holes — a potentially decisive shift in momentum that sets up a thrilling finale on Sunday. Leading the European fightback were English duo Lee Westwood and Luke Donald, who were four up after nine holes against the unbeaten American partnership of Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker in their foursome. In the other foursome, Northern Irish duo Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy had raced into a three hole lead against Zach Johnson and Hunter Mahan when play was halted after seven holes. Montgomerie later revealed he had given his players a severe dressing down after watching helplessly as the Americans seized the initiative. “I felt there wasn’t enough passion on the golf course. we have plenty of other ways of winning this but passion we didn’t have,” Montgomerie said. “I felt that with the team. I felt that with the spectators. It wasn’t going so well earlier. It was a bit stale.” After watching his players respond so emphatically, Montgomerie admitted he would now try to ensure they maintain the momentum when play resumes at 7:45 a.m. local time (0645 GMT) on Sunday. “You know none of these games are finished but we’re in a very strong position suddenly,” Montgomerie said.
“My objective was to get into the singles with the scores at 8-8. I felt we had to win a minimum of four matches in the third session.”