Not time to celebrate Ryder Cup win just yet

  • Team USA’s Bryson DeChambeau hits to the 12th hole during a four-ball match the Ryder Cup at the Whistling Straits Golf Course Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021, in Sheboygan, Wis. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Team USA’s Scottie Scheffler reacts to making his putt and winning the 15th hole during a four-ball match the Ryder Cup at the Whistling Straits Golf Course Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021, in Sheboygan, Wis. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. — Their day was done and Justin Thomas and Daniel Berger were playing to the crowd. They tossed a few beers to the thousands packed into the stands around the first tee at Whistling Straits, then drew cheers from everyone in red, white and blue by chugging a couple themselves.

Great players, great teammates, great fun. In some ways, the scene epitomized the Ryder Cup at its raucous best.

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If only it came late on a Sunday afternoon.

There will be plenty of time to celebrate then, assuming things keep going the U.S. way. Plenty of people to celebrate with, too, judging from the massive galleries this week on the shores of Lake Michigan.

The heavy lifting has, for the most part, been done. The Americans have a historic 11-5 lead that will be extremely difficult — if not impossible — to overcome.

Still, there’s work to do. History suggests it might not be as easy as it looks.

Which begs the question: Just what were they thinking?

There’s no reason to celebrate early when Jon Rahm is making almost every putt he sees. No reason to think it’s locked up when Ian Poulter can’t wait to start pumping his fist and leading a charge in Sunday’s singles.

And no need to hand over the Ryder Cup until Europe has its final say in singles.

“We’re still not out of it,” Shane Lowry said after making a putt on the 18th hole to give Europe one of its points. “It’s a long day tomorrow, 12 matches. If any 12 of us were going out against any of them in the match play, we would fancy our chances. We just have to believe.”

Still, no team has ever come from more than four points down on the final day to win. That’s what made Bryson DeChambeau and Scottie Scheffler coming from behind to beat Tommy Fleetwood and Viktor Hovland in the final match on the course Saturday even more important.

“It’s going to take a beyond monumental effort,” Poulter said. “So we need a couple of miracles.”

“The lead that we have created is huge,” DeChambeau said. “We haven’t had this good of an opportunity in a long time and hopefully we can get the job done tomorrow.”

Hopefully, indeed. Losing this one would be the equivalent of blowing a three-touchdown lead in the final minute to lose an NFL game.

No one wants to be part of an epic collapse. No one wants to lose a point, much less a chance at the cup itself.

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Nothing will be taken for granted. The U.S. players will grind it out from the first tee on, and their talent — paired with a big lead — will surely carry the day.

And when it’s all done, they can celebrate the way they’re supposed to — drinking out of the Ryder Cup late on a Sunday afternoon.

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