UNITED STATES captain Corey Pavin insists his team will fight tooth and nail to retain the Ryder Cup when the decisive singles session gets underway today.
The holders are up against it, needing 7 ½ points from the 12 on offer to hang onto the trophy they claimed at Valhalla two years ago.
And Europe skipper Colin Montgomerie appears to be going for the jugular by naming a host of his strongest performers at the top of his order.
But Pavin said: “We have got 12 of the best players in the world, they have 12 of the best players in the world and in match play anything can happen. The one thing I can guarantee you is Team USA is going to come out tomorrow and play hard and try to win the Ryder Cup. We are going to come out firing, and if we do I think we have a chance.”
Europe need five points to reclaim the cup and Montgomerie looks to be aiming to maintain the momentum his team generated in yesterday’s remarkably one-sided session.
Lee Westwood, arguably Europe’s best player so far, will tee off in the first match against world No4 Steve Stricker, and is followed by Montgomerie’s next three highest-ranked players: Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald and Martin Kaymer.
“They are going to come out tough,” said Ian Poulter, who is fifth up against Matt Kuchar. “They are a great US team and you’ve got to expect them to come out quick. So we need to keep the blue on the board and hit the right shots at the right time and play some good golf.”
The US need an almighty turnaround to claim their first triumph on European soil since 1993, but Montgomerie will need no reminding that the States overturned a 10-6 deficit to win in magnificent but somewhat tainted fashion at Brookline in 1999.
Padraig Harrington, scheduled to play the penultimate match against Zach Johnson, quipped: “It is the Sunday we have probably all dreamt about. Unfortunately there is a Monday.”
ORDER OF PLAY | SINGLES
0905: Westwood v Stricker
0917: McIlroy v Cink
0929: Donald v Furyk
0941: Kaymer v D Johnson
0953: Poulter v Kuchar
1005: Fisher v Overton
1017: Jimenez v Watson
1029: F Molinari v Woods
1041: E Molinari v Fowler
1053: Hanson v Mickelson
1105: Harrington v Z Johnson
1117: McDowell v Mahan