SHEBOYGAN, Wis. The European team, which has won four of five and nine of the last 12 Ryder Cups, has stuck to its recipe that worked, with nine veterans and three newcomers.
The Americans, who have been on the losing side so many times since the beginning of the 21st century, went instead with an injection of the youth, length of tea and clean slate with six newcomers.
After the first day of the 43rd Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits, with the Americans 6-2 ahead, the youth have won so far over experience.
Four of the six newcomers to the U.S. played in the fourth game on Friday morning, and each – Daniel Berger, Collin Morikawa, Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele – was part of teams that won. Cantlay and Schauffele defeat veterans Ian Poulter and Rory McIlroy 5 and 3.
The other two newcomers, Harris Engels and Scottie Scheffler, took part in four-ball matches in the afternoon. English and Tony Finau Defeat McIlroy and Shane Lowry 4 and 3. Scheffler and Bryson DeChambeau ended their match with the world number 1 Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton.
Rookies played a hand in winning each of the Americans’ six points. Schauffele is the fifth newcomer to the U.S. to be 2-0 on Day 1 since 1979 and the first since Keegan Bradley in 2012.
Here’s a look at the other winners and losers of the first day:
The American captain was not much guessed by the six captains he chose. They were largely the players with the highest position on the Ryder Cup standings, with the exception of Scheffler. All but one (Jordan Spieth) earned at least half a point on Friday. After the Americans took a four-point lead on the first day, it would be difficult to argue with any of Stricker’s pairings. Of the eight games in the first two sessions, the U.S. team lost only one.
He will roll out the same pairs for the foursome on Saturday morning, albeit in a different order and against different opponents.
‘We have another group we wanted to consider, but it went so well [Friday] “I found out this morning why I have to mess things up and change things at all,” Stricker said.
Stricker, a resident of Wisconsin, would love nothing more than to end the domination of Europe. His team took a big step to do that. It was probably a wise decision to Morikawa and Brooks Koepka, who was hampered by injuries late in the PGA Tour season, in Friday’s afternoon four-ball game. They will be well rested for Saturday and then Sunday’s singles matches.
It’s easy to criticize the popular Irishman after the European team’s struggles, but two of his pairings on Friday morning were four strokes, to say the least. Neither McIlroy nor Ian Poulter did well in the Ryder Cup. The decision to pair them up was an ugly loss for Cantlay and Schauffele. Just like that, Lee Westwood has not been playing particularly well since March. Westwood and partner Matt Fitzpatrick is not long and struggled to keep up with Koepka and Berger in a 2 and 1 defeat.
The Europeans won one of the four matches in the foursome and scored two ties in the four-ball matches.
‘I just think the last few games there, when it was very tight, the boys came through, and it definitely felt like we could not afford it. [to lose]”Harrington said.” The two halves at the end were crucial for us. As much as we would have liked to win on the board, we did not feel we could afford to lose the matches. Maybe there’s a little momentum swinging in, and we feel good about it. And get out [Saturday], of course we need a big day. “
Clearly, the Harrington team will have to do a lot of work this weekend. The four-point margin is the largest team lead of the American team since 1975, when it was five after the first day. This is only the eighth time in the history of the Ryder Cup that a team has had a lead of four or more points after the first day; six of the previous seven teams have won, with the exception of Europe at Brookline in 1999.
Michael Jordan likes what he sees after Dustin Johnson sank with a clutch.
The former World No. 1 struggles with his form during much of the past PGA Tour season, especially outside of tea. But he looked like one of the best players on the American team on Friday while working with Berger, a former teammate in Florida, in a morning four, and Schauffele in an afternoon four-ball game.
It was the first time DJ had won 2-0 on the same day in five Ryder Cup matches. It was also the first time the American player with the highest ranking on day 1 since then was 2-0 Corey Pavin (No. 7 in the world) in 1995.
Johnson had birdies on three straight holes to help him and Schauffele pull away in the four-ball game.
“An important part of the game,” Schauffele said. “That was an important point. I just took a step back and tried to stay out of his way. That’s what you do when Dustin is on the roll. And it was big momentum shifts because they wanted to win a few holes back. “but Dustin made the putt beforehand and eventually put pressure on their short pits to win. These are big pits in the middle of the round.”
Savior: Rory McIlroy
McIlroy has not won a major since the 2014 PGA Championship at Valhalla. He ended an 18-month unbeaten drought with a win at the Wells Fargo Championship in May. However, given his recent fight, he was still pretty good in the Ryder Cup and has won at least two games in each of his previous four games.
But McIlroy looked one of a kind on Friday, especially while playing foursome with Poulter in one morning. He had an eagle in the four-ball loss with Lowry, but he did not have a birdie to go with two bogeys. It was the first time McIlroy had lost two Ryder Cup matches on the same day. He is now 11-11-4 in six games.
“The last two sessions Xander and Patrick have played great, and I haven’t seen Tony as good as that in a long time,” McIlroy said. “When you get a few pairs like that at stake, on a difficult golf course, where it’s hard to make birds and run, when you’re not completely 100% at your game, it’s hard.”
McIlroy is not in the series for Saturday morning’s quartet; he has played in all the last four Ryder Cups in all five games.
“He’s already a leader,” Harrington said. ‘You saw him out there after a hard day; he was watching the matches and supporting his team. asked more of him today. Yes, the golf did not go as well as he would have liked, but I do not recommend him a second time in terms of his leadership and what he does for my team. “
Winners: The guys from Spain
Sergio Garcia buried a long blow and blew a kiss for the American crowd.
The Spanish tandem of Rahm and Sergio Garcia was the only European team to earn a point in the quartet of Friday morning Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth, who is expected to be America’s strongest couple. The Spaniards made a total of six birdies with just one bogey in the game.
‘I think we can bet all we can on who will make more putts, us or them, [and] we would have bet [on] us, ‘said Spieth. We caught a lot of lips, and they made about 50 feet of wells. Sometimes you run into a buzzing saw. “
Rahm made only 105-foot holes on the top nine, including a 58-foot birdie at No. 4, and Garcia had a 24-foot birdie for birdie at No. 15, giving them a 3-point lead.
Garcia (41) draw Nick Faldo with 23 games won overall, the most in the history of the Ryder Cup. Garcia raised his career-points record to 26.5. He also tied Bernhard Langer with its 11th foursome, the most in the history of the event.
Rahm was almost as good at playing with Hatton in the afternoon four-ball game, which came together from behind to play a game with DeChambeau and Scheffler. Rahm drilled three of four holes on the back nine to keep the Europeans in contention.
Four of the players – Casey, Fleetwood, Hatton and Poulter – won together 8-5-1 in the European team’s 17.5-10.5 victory at Le Golf National in Paris in 2018.
At least Hatton made a 7-foot birdie to level his game with four balls and score a much-needed half-point for Europe.
“You’re never out of the fight,” Hatton said. “It was obviously very big for the team there. And as Jon said, hopefully it can change the momentum towards us … and hopefully we’ll go in [Saturday] with momentum on our side. It’s a good feeling to roll in the last one, of course. “
Winner: Tony Finau
Finau had to wait almost five years to win a second time at the PGA Tour, but he made his mark at the Ryder Cup in just two games. After Finau won 2-1 in the 2018 defeat of the American team in Paris, Finau teamed up with English to beat McIlroy and Lowry in a four-ball match. Finau had six birdies and scored eight tries in 18 holes.
Earlier this week, he said the influx of youth and six newcomers would give Americans a better chance of winning because they did not have ‘scar tissue’ to lose so many previous Ryder Cups. Finau supported it by playing extremely well in its opening match.
“I was really looking forward to being in front of our fans,” Finau said. “I love the energy and I love the type of adrenaline and just having that energy behind me. I did not have the opportunity to play in front of a home crowd in these international events. So I just then looked forward to taking it in, and we fed them all day. We played great golf. “