SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France (AP) — Tiger Woods kept bending over in anguish, his shoulders sinking further and further, the energy ebbing as he made his way around Le Golf National for the second time Saturday.
It was the body language of a tired, defeated golfer.
Quite a contrast to the previous weekend, when he triumphantly strutted down the final fairway at East Lake, savoring his first victory in more than five years as thousands of fans stormed the course behind him.
Then again, this is the Ryder Cup – one of the few blemishes on Woods’ brilliant record.
Nothing much has changed in France.
Woods dropped all three of his matches over the first two days, cut down each time by Europe’s most dynamic combination, mullet-sporting Tommy Fleetwood and British Open champion Francesco Molinari.
Playing with two different partners, none of Woods’ matches reached the 18th hole. In fact, he’s only held the lead for a grand total of three holes the entire weekend.
It was hardly what was expected from his first Ryder Cup appearance since 2012.
”The three matches we played, they never missed a putt inside 10 to 12 feet,” Woods groaned. ”That’s hard to do. Playing against a team like that, that’s putting that well, you’re going to have to make a lot of birdies. We didn’t.”
Woods teamed with Patrick Reed for a pair of fourball matches, then switched to Bryson DeChambeau for the Saturday afternoon foursomes. The new partnership didn’t fare any better than the first one.
The duo known as ”Moliwood” led from the very first hole on the way to a 5-and-4 whipping, the match ending when DeChambeau missed a birdie putt at the par-5 14th hole, before it even reached a closing stretch that looks like something out of Waterworld.
The struggles of Woods & Co. are a big reason his star-studded team faces a daunting 10-6 deficit heading to Sunday singles. While certainly not impossible to pull off such a comeback – it was done in 1999 by the Americans at Brookline, and again in 2012 by the Europeans at Medinah – the U.S. hasn’t won the Ryder Cup on this side of the Atlantic in a quarter-century.