124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2

The Loop

Leonard and Mahan Are Quite the Team

September 19, 2008

LOUISVILLE--How formidable was the Justin Leonard-Hunter Mahan pairing for the United States on Friday in the 37th Ryder Cup?

By sweeping their two matches, Leonard-Mahan moved into elite company in the American Ryder Cup record book. Only six American duos have more than two victories in the biennial competion: Arnold Palmer-Gardner Dickinson (five), Larry Nelson-Lanny Wadkins (four), Jack Nicklaus-Tom Watson (four), David Toms-Phil Mickelson (three), Tony Lema-Julius Boros (three) and Lloyd Mangrum-Sam Snead (three).

The achievement of Leonard-Mahan equals the two wins by Fred Couples-Raymond Floyd, Palmer-Dave Marr, Chip Beck-Paul Azinger, Davis Love III-Tiger Woods and Tom Kite-Curtis Strange in their Ryder Cup careers.

The most wins by any duo on either side in the Ryder Cup history? A whopping 11 wins by Seve Ballesteros and Jose-Maria Olazabal of Europe. Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood are second overall with six wins as a team.

More important for the Americans on Friday, though, was the fact that Leonard and Mahan keyed the United States to its first victory in a morning and afternoon session on the same day since the second day of the 1981 matches, when the U.S. went 3-1 in foursomes and 4-0 in four-balls en route to an 18 1/2-9 1/2 victory.

--Bill Fields