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McDowell benched after struggling at Ryder Cup

MYT 3:10:01 AM

MEDINAH, Illinois (Reuters) - Medinah Country Club was bathed in sunshine for the second day of the Ryder Cup on Saturday and for the cheering galleries who lined the fairways and the U.S. players, it was a perfect autumn day in America's Midwest.

Team Europe golfers from Northern Ireland, Rory McIlroy (R) and Graeme McDowell wait to putt on the 17th green during the mornig foursomes round at the 39th Ryder Cup golf matches at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Illinois, September 29, 2012. REUTERS/Jim Young
Team Europe golfers from Northern Ireland, Rory McIlroy (R) and Graeme McDowell wait to putt on the 17th green during the mornig foursomes round at the 39th Ryder Cup golf matches at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Illinois, September 29, 2012. REUTERS/Jim Young

Not so for the Europeans, especially Graeme McDowell, who two years ago was the hero of his team's win in Wales.

On Saturday, he trudged off the 18th hole after losing his foursomes match with Brandt Snedeker and Jim Furyk just 24 hours after he and his partner Rory McIlroy had beaten the same American pairing.

The two Northern Irishmen were supposed to be Europe's strongest pairing and they made a great start on Friday morning, but the winds of change were blowing against them.

They lost on Friday afternoon then again on Saturday morning and European captain Jose Maria Olazabal decided to split them up for Saturday afternoon.

He partnered McIlroy with Englishman Ian Poulter and benched McDowell.

"I'm very disappointed, A, to lose this morning and B, to not be playing this afternoon," McDowell said.

"It's been a cold two sessions on the greens for myself, especially."

McDowell's mood was as dark and gloomy as his team's position. Halfway through the second day, they trailed the Americans 8-4 and were needing to turn things around.

"We are in a hole. There's blood in the water and they (the U.S.) are up for it. They have got a head of steam up and we have got to try and stop it this afternoon," he said.

Despite trailing by four points, McDowell said he still had faith in his team mates to turn it around.

"It's absolutely still alive, there's no doubt about it. We have a big afternoon ahead of us.

"We have 12 big singles tomorrow, and it's happened many, many times from this position. We've got to play great, but we can absolutely come back from here."

(Editing by Larry Fine)

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