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  • March 20, 2019
    导出博客文章CHASKA, Minn. -- Michael Jordan was on the course watching the golfer named
    after him, Jordan Spieth, and his partner,?Patrick Reed, and there was no
    doubting the identity of the biggest American star in the field. The Ryder Cup
    fans were falling over themselves as they reached across the ropes to touch
    Jordan, get his attention and ask him if he thought the United States would
    finally win.Jordan was dressed in a Team USA sweat suit. He had a smoldering
    cigar in his hand and an all-business look on his face as he stood beside a
    police officer and silently watched the Americans tee off. He didnt offer much
    more than a few nods, a few hellos and a concession to someone he recognized and
    might owe a few dollars from a bygone golf game. (True story.) But really, what
    was there for the greatest closer of all time to say?Jordan went six-for-six in
    the NBA Finals and six-for-six in the chase to be named NBA Finals MVP, and you
    know deep down that the worlds most recognizable golf fan wonders why the U.S.
    never seems to have the mental toughness to put away the Europeans. You know
    deep down that Michael Jordan wishes he could do more than stare down Ian
    Poulter (and wag his finger at him) the way he did at Medinah in 2012 and wishes
    he had the tee-to-green talent to do to Rory McIlroy what he used to do to the
    Knicks.However, the fact that Jordan wont be suiting up for his fellow North
    Carolina Tar Heel, Davis Love III, when this Ryder Cup is decided Sunday
    shouldnt make any difference in the outcome. Love is on record as saying he is
    coaching, or captaining, the best golf team, maybe, ever assembled.If that is a
    debatable claim, this one isnt: Love has the better team at Hazeltine. He has a
    better team that has a 9? to 6? lead going into the final session. He has a
    better team playing a home game in front of a Minnesota crowd that has sounded
    every bit as hostile as a Red Sox-Yankees crowd at Fenway Park.Oh, and Love also
    has in Reed a lion who is roaring just as loudly as McIlroy on the other
    side.The Americans have no excuses to not win the Ryder Cup for the first time
    since 2008 and for only the third time in their past 11 attempts. They have no
    good reason to choke the way they did for Love at Medinah, where they blew a
    10-6 lead with some synchronized gagging down the stretch.They have a dozen
    singles matches to play against an inferior European team that includes a
    spooked Danny Willett and five other rookies, a completely fried Lee Westwood
    and Martin Kaymer (a combined 0-5 at Hazeltine), and the old terminator,
    Poulter, in the benign role of vice captain.Even if McIlroy beats Reed in
    perhaps the greatest opening act in Ryder Cup history, the Americans should win
    six of those duels just by showing up.?Dustin Johnson should take Chris Wood,
    Brooks Koepka should take Willett, Matt Kuchar should take Kaymer, Ryan Moore
    should take Westwood, Brandt Snedeker should take Andy Sullivan, and Zach
    Johnson should take Matthew Fitzpatrick. The Americans can lose one of those
    matches and the other five (four of them featuring heavyweights Spieth, Phil
    Mickelson, Rickie Fowler?and Jimmy Walker) and still end up with enough points
    to prevail.They have all done what Ive asked them to do incredibly well, Love
    said of his players. They are all confident. They all want to play.Although Love
    gambled correctly Saturday afternoon that Mickelson would overcome his erratic
    driving and wisely listened to Tiger Woods advice to play Reed and Spieth for a
    fourth straight session (what a disaster that benching wouldve been!), he made
    one mistake that did not come back to hurt him.Just as he benched his hot team,
    Mickelson and Keegan Bradley, before the meltdown at Medinah, Love sat Snedeker
    on Saturday afternoon after the Snedeker-Koepka tandem went 2-0 and was the only
    American team to win Friday afternoon. The U.S. captain handed in his afternoon
    pairings before Snedeker and Koepkas morning victory over Henrik Stenson and
    Fitzpatrick was complete, but the Americans never trailed in their match, and
    Snedeker was on fire, celebrating his made putts with fury like McIlroys and
    Reeds.The Europeans never seem to rest their hot hands. Five of their players
    will go the full five matches; only two Americans will do the same. The
    Europeans never seem to let up.But the two leading candidates to sit for
    Snedeker, Moore and J.B. Holmes, won their match with Westwood and Willett.
    Mickelson and Kuchar did some goofy, middle-aged, happy dance at Kaymers and
    Sergio Garcias expense, and Loves guys won three of four points in the
    afternoon.None came up bigger than the young rebel who loves to dress himself in
    Tiger Woods red. Teamed with the higher profile Texan, Spieth, Reed survived
    their calamitous finish in a morning draw with Garcia and Rafa Cabrera Bello to
    put on a fireworks show in the afternoon by pummeling Justin Rose and Stenson
    with a flurry of birdies and a hole-out eagle.As amazing as that was, Reeds show
    did not make a buyer of every European visitor in the stands. On the ninth hole,
    with a man dressed as Captain America leading the cheers, one Garcia supporter
    shouted at the home fans, Remember Medinah. Remember Medinah.If Love needed more
    reminder of what went down in 2012, he got it Saturday night.Were closer than we
    were at Medinah, said Rose, one of the heroes of that day. The Englishman would
    predict, Its our turn tomorrow. Were going to come out strong.Recent history
    says the Americans fear that this ballgame isnt over. That is, recent history
    and the presence of McIlroy, who has all of Poulters rage and guts and 20 times
    the talent. By playing a pro wrestling heel in Gorgeous George form, McIlroy has
    turned his battle with the Hazeltine crowd into a steel cage match. On Sunday,
    only one combatant will come out alive.Loves players should be the last men
    standing. The U.S. has a 3-point lead, home-field advantage, superior talent and
    a closer in Reed who has a Jordan-esque flair for the moment.For Love, even
    without former schoolmate Michael Jordan to take the ball, this should be
    tantamount to a slam dunk on Dean Smiths court. The best golf team (maybe) ever
    assembled has no business losing this Ryder Cup to a beaten-down European group
    that looks in desperate need of a Caribbean cruise.On Sunday, Love will tell his
    players to keep doing what theyre doing and have a whole lot of fun. But if the
    American captain were on truth serum for his final pregame meeting with his
    players, his most appropriate advice would be reduced to two wordsont choke.
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    torn bicep playing for Toulouse in the Heineken Cup on Saturday. The flanker,
    who has played 65 times for France, is expected to be out for up to four months.
    Halfway through the season, the Big Tens quarterback carousel is still
    spinning.Nearly half the teams in the conference have already made QB changes
    for a variety of reasons -- injuries, poor play or a coach just looking to shake
    things up. So far, the results have been mixed.Just days after four coaches went
    with first-time starters, Rutgers coach Chris Ash joined the bandwagon by naming
    Gio Rescigno as his new quarterback Saturday against Minnesota.I thought he went
    out and led the offense, executed the calls, made good decisions. He still needs
    to be more consistent, Ash said Tuesday. I like his personality, his energy and
    the leadership he brings to the offense.Perhaps Rutgers move should have been
    expected after losing four straight and being outscored 174-14.Other coaches,
    with fewer problems, have made similar decisions.Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst
    benched fifth-year senior Bart Houston in favor of redshirt freshman Alex
    Hornibrook less than a month ago. Hornibrook has lost two straight -- to No. 2
    Ohio State and No. 3 Michigan -- since winning at Michigan State and the Badgers
    are still ranked No. 10.Minnesota got its first conference win behind former
    walk-on Conor Rhoda, who was 7 of 15 for 82 yards against Maryland filling in
    for injured starter Mitch Leidner (concussion). Leidner could miss Saturdays
    game against Rutgers, too. The Terrapins lost with Tyrrell Pigrome, who replaced
    Perry Hills (shoulder). Its not clear if Hill will return this weekend.At
    Illinois, first-time starter Chayce Crouch replaced Wes Lunt (back) and helped
    new Illinois coach Lovie Smith celebrate his first conference win by beating
    Rutgers.The most shocking decision may have come from Michigan State coach Mark
    Dantonio, who started Brian Lewerke over Tyler OConnor on Saturday then brought
    OConnor back in the third quarter of a 54-40 loss to Northwestern.That change
    didnt help much as the defending Big Ten champs head to Maryland witth a
    four-game skid and a starting quarterback still to be named.dddddddddddd.Well
    see how the practices work out this week. Well make some determinations as we
    go, sort of go from there, Dantonio said. It will probably be more of a game
    time decision.Just to keep everyone on their toes.Here are some other notable
    items around the Big Ten:MORE CHANGESPurdue interim coach Gerad Parker got
    thrown right into his new role Tuesday. First, he took questions from local
    reporters before participating in the conferences weekly coaches call. This is
    going to take the 35-year-old, first-time head coach a little getting used to.I
    know our administration didnt see some things they wanted to from our staff, he
    said, explaining the firing of Darrell Hazell. Its been a different situation
    for our staff and our players and a weird situation for me.FILLING IN THE
    LINESThe Big Ten has 10 bowl tie-ins and the lines are already starting to fill
    up. The Buckeyes, Wolverines and No. 8 Nebraska all became bowl-eligible last
    weekend. If Iowa protects its home field against the Badgers this weekend, the
    Hawkeyes would join the list. Four other teams -- Maryland, Minnesota, Penn
    State and Wisconsin -- can all move within one win of becoming bowl-eligible
    with victories Saturday.ROAD MAGICThe Hawkeyes broke the school record for
    consecutive road wins (nine) last weekend. In fact, all six conference games
    were won by the visiting team -- the first time that has happened since Nov. 7,
    2009. And this weekend at Penn State, Ohio State can break the Big Ten record
    for most consecutive road wins in conference play. With the win at Wisconsin,
    Ohio State tied the mark set by Michigan (17) from 1988-92.---Online:College
    Football: story has been corrected to show
    Illinois defeated Rutgers. ' ' '