Big defeat for Tiger Woods

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Newport (Wales): Europe nearly pulled off a clean sweep, finishing the day with a three-point lead and taking a huge step toward reclaiming the Ryder Cup with a performance that wiped out Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and the rest of America’s stars. The Ryder Cup will be finishing on a Monday for the first time, and it has all the makings of a huge European celebration at soggy Celtic Manor. Captain Colin Montgomerie’s squad kept the scoreboard bathed in blue all day.

When it was over, Woods had the worst loss of his Cup career, Mickelson was the US player with the worst record for defeats and the defending champions faced a daunting deficit heading into singles play. “Just a great day,” Ian Poulter said. “The key was just try and put your foot on the pedal and keep going.” The margin is not insurmountable, however. The Americans are traditionally stronger in singles play, and they overcame a 10-6 deficit on the final day at Brookline, Massachusetts, in 1999.

But that match was at home, with a raucous crowd cheering them on. The Europeans will be hearing most of the cheers when they tee off in extra time, with the match extended to a fourth day by torrential rains at the first Ryder Cup in Wales. Officials changed the schedule and still hoped to finish by Sunday, but another drenching during the night turned the course into a swamp.

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