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Tom Lehman ready for home criticism

Tom Lehman knows his Ryder Cup team will return to a storm of criticism in the United States following a second successive drubbing.

Only a magnanimous gesture by Irishman Paul McGinley, who settled for a half in his match with JJ Henry when poised to take the full point, possibly saved the United States from a record defeat.

The 18.5 - 9.5 loss equaled their record defeat of 2004 at Oakland Hills but had rookie Henry been made to take his 18ft putt on the last -- and missed -- that scoreline would have read 19-9.

However, while Lehman is steeling himself for a widespread media onslaught he insists he could not have prepared better.

The captain brought his team to Ireland well in advance to familiarize players with the K Club layout and inclement weather, and dissected Europe's strengths to the smallest detail.

"We have extremely talented players on our Tour. I go right down the line here," Lehman said.

"I'm continually impressed by the calibre of play, heart and courage these guys have.

"And things all have cycles. There will be a time when we'll be saying the Europeans are in danger because the American team is (continually) on top."

Lehman said he was in the dark as to how the U.S. could halt the slide if the Europeans continued to reproduce similar form to that seen at the K Club.

After putting up a reasonable showing in the pairs and often taking the Europeans to the closing holes, they were completely outclassed in the singles.

The Americans, who had won six of their last nine final-day head-to-heads, equaled their worst finish by picking up only three and a half points on Sunday.

"I need to sit back, let a few days go by, just figure out what could we have done better," Lehman said.

"Around the greens Europe were simply magical and you can't do much about that," he added.

"This was something truly exceptional."

September 26, 2006


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