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Three American Stalwarts Disappointed in Play on Sunday
Much was expected of three players on the American Ryder Cup team - Steve Stricker, Webb Simpson and Phil Mickelson - in Sunday's singles in the 39th Ryder Cup.
Unfortunately, all lost, leading the European contingent to win seven matches as they overcame a 10-6 deficit and retained the Ryder Cup - their 10th win in the past 14 - by a 14˝ to 13˝ margin.
Playing Martin Kaymer in the second-to-last match, Stricker's loss gave the Euros the crucial point after he bogeyed the par-3 17th hole to give the German a 1-up lead he didn't relinquish. In match No. 2, Simpson fell to a red-hot Ian Poulter 2-up, while Mickelson also lost on the 18th when Justin Rose birdied the final two holes to wipe out the American's 1-up lead after 16.
Once the dust had settled, the three Yanks met with reporters and talked about what had happened. Here's what they said in separate interviews.
Q. This atmosphere, how much more difficult is it to deal with those fans?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, I mean, there's a lot of expectations on us. We put a lot of expectations on ourselves to perform. You know, and sometimes it's good and bad. I mean, when you're going good, it's great, and when you're not, it can be a negative, because you feel like you're letting the crowd down. But the atmosphere was tremendous here all week. It was so much fun. We'll pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and we're resilient. As golfers you have got to be. It's the nature of the game. I've been down in some depths before that you've just got to, like I said, pick yourself up and play golf again. That's all it is, is - we'll be disappointed for sure, but we'll all be all right.
Q. Is the difference you're usually disappointed for yourself, but how disappointed are you for all the people that followed you, that are pulling for you?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah, I feel - I am disappointed that I let 11 other players down and the captains, and probably there at the end, Tiger and I at the end there to probably get some points. And I didn't. So that's disappointing.
Q. There's always an extra pressure being a captain's pick, just because for obvious reasons. Was there any extra pressure for you with that?
STEVE STRICKER: No, I felt like I was a part of this team. Towards the end of the season, I played well. I was really one birdie short of making the team on my own. So I felt like I deserved to be on the team. That wasn't it. And I felt like my game was in good shape. I drove the ball great this week, hit some nice irons here and there, not real consistent enough to put any points on the board, though, and we ran into a couple good teams. Colsaerts the second day, you know, against Tiger and I played unbelievable, and Luke Donald hit some clutch shots yesterday against us. So it was tough. Martin played well today, too, and I just really didn't I didn't put enough pressure on him, really, to get anything done.
Q. Are you a little surprised over the three days that you didn't hit more putts like you normally would?
STEVE STRICKER: Yeah. And like I say, I've been putting a lot and practicing a lot, maybe putting too much emphasis on it. But it's - I've had poor putting years before. I hit a lot of good putts that don't go in, and making this last - the last couple on 16 and 18 when I had to shows me something, too. But still, just very disappointed.
Q. How much do you want to play at Gleneagles?
STEVE STRICKER: Oh, I don't know. I'll be 47 then. You know, I don't know. This is a lot of fun. It would always be fun to be a part of it, but we'll see. It's too early to tell right now. I'm glad I've got eight weeks off right now.
Q. That was a tough match today. You guys went back and forth. It's been a great Ryder Cup, but sort of disappointing to finish this way?
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, you know what, I had a peace about it all day. You know, it's playing tough out here, and I was hitting some pretty good shots, just couldn't quite make any putts. It was unfortunate to bogey 17 like I did, but Ian has had a great week and hats off to him.
Q. Can you discuss 17?
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, the last two holes I just pulled the iron shots. You know, 17 is a tricky hole, and I felt pretty good over it, it was just a tough - it's a tough hole. The last thing you want to do is balloon one and leave it in the water. It kind of got away from me. Yeah, it's unfortunate to end it the way I did, but you know what, it's been an incredible week. Hopefully we can pull it out.
Q. The approach on 18, you just pulled it a little bit?
WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, I pulled it.
Q. How far did you have?
WEBB SIMPSON: 152 yards, something like that.
Q. What can you say about Poulter out there?
WEBB SIMPSON: He's a great match-play player, a great player in general. A ton of respect for him, and I just didn't have my best today. Unfortunately I got beat.
Q. When you saw that you drew Poulter, what were your thoughts?
WEBB SIMPSON: I wanted to play him. I've been playing good all week, and I know he's been playing well, so I didn't really care to be honest. But unfortunately I lost twice to him this week, so that kind of hurts.
Q. Coming in, felt like you had control going into 17.
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, I really did. I had a chance to go 2 up, and he made a good 12 footer on top of me to halve it and I holed a chip shot on 17 that would have won it in my mind, except he made that 40 footer to win the hole and the last hole he made a great birdie. He played some great golf. I thought I played pretty good, and you know, shot a decently low round. But the last three holes, I, you know, I thought I had the match. He played phenomenal there.
Q. Standing in the fairway at 18, what did you hit, and what would you do if you had to do it all over again?
PHIL MICKELSON: I guess I played for some hurt on 17 and 18 and there wasn't any. Because I hit both shots, you know, right where I wanted to and the one on 18 was right over the pin, I thought it was going to be perfect. I'm looking at the flags now, they are blowing in, there's hurt but my ball wasn't touched.
Q. What was the yardage and the club?
PHIL MICKELSON: I had 151, I hit just a little 8 iron.
Q. They front-loaded and got what they were after -
PHIL MICKELSON: I just thought if I won my match, you know, we've got guys, there's a bunch of red behind us. It would just be fine. Now I look up and you know, we've lost the first five and I'm obviously a little worried. Fortunately DJ won and we have some guys that are up and close, but it's going to be close. Four or five matches going the European way - I thought we were going to get some of those.
Q. Did Davis have any words of inspiration last night or this morning?
PHIL MICKELSON: Just keep playing well and there's lots of points out there. We came out I thought pretty focused, but it was tough matched, and all 12 are going to be tough and hopefully we'll be able to pull through here in the end.
The transcripts for the above interviews are courtesy of ASAP Sports.