What an awesome day of golf. Holy hell that was fun. Especially for the good guys. The afternoon was just another session of near dominance by the Americans. We knew fourballs was going to be a format that favored the firepower of the Americans and that turned out to be the case. The Europeans are walking away after day 1 having only won one match - and it took their best player to earn it. The Americans are simply the better team and they played like it today. To the matches…
Match 1: DJ and X Hold Off Wiesberger & Casey
What a day for Deej and the X Man huh? Both went 2-0 today, with DJ accomplishing that feat for the first time in his Ryder Cup career. Makes it a lot easier when you've got the 3rd and 5th ranked players as your partners. When the tee sheets came out for the afternoon, this was the match that was looked at as the one USA had no business losing. Wiesberger and Casey isn't a duo scaring anybody. Birdies on 3, 4, and 5 quickly staked them to a 3 shot lead that was hardly threatened the rest of the way. Match maybe went longer than they would've liked, but they were able to close them out on 17. Pairing like that is one that's gonna grab the GOAT's attention every time.
Match 2: Rahm and Hatton Steal A Half Point From Scheffler And Bryson
What an unbelievable match this was. All these guys can make birdies by the handful and that's exactly what they did. Unreal fireworks. What Bryson did on 5 was just unfair. Eagles shouldn't come that easy. These teams swapped points before Scottie Scheffler buried a HUGE putt on 15 to take the lead.
FIRE ME UP SCOTTIE!
It looked like they had Rahm and Tyrrell on the ropes on 16 before Rahm stole a birdie and a halve by making a 20 footer. It was the kind of putt that remind you why he's the best in the world. But it was Hatton who came up huge down the stretch, giving himself a decent birdie look at 17 (which he missed) and then hitting a dart into 18 from 203 to give himself a 7 footer to tie the match. Which is exactly what he did.
The Europeans will try to paint this as a momentum shifter for their team, but the facts are this. Pairings not involving Jon Rahm only collected a half point today. You take any one of the guys off the US team, and you'd hardly notice. Hell, they sat the #3 player in the world this afternoon. If you take Rahm off of their team, those guys are up shit creek. When you realize that Rahm can only impact 1/12 of Sunday as opposed to 1/4 of the action like he did today and will tomorrow, you come to realize the hole the Europeans have to dig out of is even bigger than the score indicates.
Match 3: Tony Catches Fire As Rory Goes 0-2
My guy Tony was cookin today.
6 birdies in 15 holes is exactly why you put a guy like that out in fourball. Harris English did a great job hitting fairways and greens in order to give Tony green lights to attack. That's exactly what he did and he putted lights out, which isn't something he always does. His putt on 15 is the one that closed it out.
Rory is Europe's next best player, and he went 0-2 today. He's never done that. That matches weren't even particularly close. 5&3 in the morning and 4&3 in the afternoon. 16 is a hole that play's to Rory's length and he didn't even get to play it today. What a shame.
Match 4: JT and Cantlay Rally To Grab A Half Point
JT came out hot making amends for his missed birdie putt on 1 this morning by burying it in the afternoon. That was short-lived though, because Hovland and Fleetwood caught fire, birdieing a handful of holes to jump out to a 3up lead thru 8. However, they wouldn't win another hole the rest of the way as Fleetwood's putter got shaky and at one point, so did his 3 wood
JT and Cantlay chipped away before seizing the opportunity on 16. JT is so freakin unbelievable with a wood in his hands. What a masterpiece this was.
Sinking the putt made it that much sweeter and suddenly the match was tied. JT, what an entertainer
Neither team had a strong opportunity to win either of the last 2 holes, so the match ended in a tie. But it was a huge tie for the Americans given that they were down 3 and the Europeans desperately needed a full point so they could sleep a little easier tonight.
Saturday Morning Foursomes
I'm not sure if Stricker was committed to these 4 pairs before Friday's results, but either way I think it's the right call. He's just shuffled the order of his pairs. It worked yesterday, why the hell would you switch it up. I'm curious as to whether he's going to run back the afternoon session as well, or shuffle it up to keep a couple of these guys fresh that played both sessions today. On the other side, Rahm/Garcia makes complete sense for them. They won the only match for them yesterday, and they're desperate to get on the board early to make that deficit a bit more manageable. Benching Rory is stunning though. He may have been 0-2 yesterday, but he's played a ton of these things and he's so clearly your 2nd best player. If those guys want a shot at this thing, their best chance is to get that guy hot. He can't get hot from the sidelines. Brutal choice by Padraig Harrington.
Oh, and Ian Poulter is taking a seat. 1-4-1 in the team events since Medinah. Fuck you pal.
All in all, an awesome day to be an American. I'd hate to be rooting for Europe right about now. More of the same coming tomorrow.