The Europeans swept the Americans in Friday’s afternoon foursome matches to take a 5-3 lead after the opening day of the Ryder Cup. Team USA looked pretty good after taking three out of four points in the morning fourballs, but then they just completely tanked it in the afternoon session.
Phrases I hate hearing: There’s a lot of golf left; Can’t believe the captain paired player x and x (Bryson and Phil re: today; not that I don’t agree) together. Why did captain bench player x (Captain America Patrick Reed)? Well, that’s the problem with democracy.
And ugh, I feel you.
But let’s talk about how Ryder Cup rookie Tommy Fleetwood played like a total rockstar. Fleetwood, who was partnered with Francesco Molinari for both matches, holed a couple of crucial long putts down the stretch in the morning fourball against Tiger Woods and Patrick Reed. Tommy rolled in birdies on nos. 15 and 16 to overcome an early American lead.
Not gonna lie, I was behind 16 green when Tommy made that crazy 25-footer on the 16th and it was vibing. Big shout-out to Le Golf National and Paris for showing off as an awesome venue with the solid setup and amphitheatre feels.
He added another birdie on no. 17 to close out TW, who was beloved and cheered by the crowd, and Captain America, who was not liked and booed, 3&1 for the lone European point in the opening matches.
Which turned out to be a huge effing point.
Special kudos for the chest bumps by Molinari and Fleetwood.
I’m trying to imagine Tiger and Reed mimicking it and I just can’t even…
Tiger was hot-and-cold all day — probably still jetlagged and exhausted from the past few weeks. I mean, I am and I only walked 18 holes this morning. Jetlag is so underrated in how much it sucks. Also, age. Double ugh. Reed was blah.
In the afternoon foursomes, Fleetwood and Molinari took down Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth easily 5&3. Conditions were much tougher, with the wind getting up for the first time all week.
This Fleetwood and Molinari partnership has become a full-blown love affair and could be deadly for the Americans if they keep playing this well together.
“You can’t prepare for it, really,” said Fleetwood. “We said, we were walking down 6 and we said, sounds a little bit better this afternoon, and the energy that comes off those guys going in front, I don’t really know how to describe it.
“All the preparation you do, just nothing gets you ready for this.”
Added Molinari: “I don’t know but we enjoy playing together, and obviously spending time together. He’s played amazing this morning and this afternoon.
“Yeah, I think we just combine really well. But you know, the boys that went out early this afternoon made an unbelievable job. Very, very different from this morning, the atmosphere, and we needed it.”
Oh, let’s take a quick look at the whitewash Friday afternoon:
Great job by Europe to come back after getting beat in the morning. Now they obviously have a lot of momentum, but also more than 12 hours to cool off before tomorrow morning’s matches! Ha.
Now let’s talk more about the beating the Europeans gave the Americans Friday afternoon.
*Henrik Stenson/Justin Rose defeat Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler 3&2:
DJ and Rickie got off to another slow start, but unlike the morning, they couldn’t get anything going and after halving the first four holes against Stenson and Rose, Europe took the lead and never looked back. As partners, Stenson and Rose are now 5-2-0, with a 2-1-0 foursomes record.
“Obviously when you go out against the world’s best players on the other side, you deserve nothing,” said Rose, the 2018 FedExCup winner. “You are to earn every point. Nothing is given out there. For me to come out and play with Henrik, someone I’ve had a lot of success with on the golf course is the perfect scenario for me, like you said, to top off this morning.”
*Rory McIlroy/Ian Poulter def. Bubba Watson/Webb Simpson 4&2
Americans took the early lead, but Rory and Mr. Ryder Cup roared back and won easily. Never saw Bubba and Webb not putting well… But Rory got redemption after a disappointing morning.
“Poults and I, the guys had a discussion earlier in the week, and it was sort of a little bit of a last-minute thing that Poults and I would go and try to play foursomes together,” said McIlroy.
“You know, we played well togetherat Medinah. We played well together at Gleneagles. It was nice to get back out there with them and deliver another point for Europe.”
*Sergio Garcia/Alex Noren def. Phil Mickelson/Bryson DeChambeau 5&4
LOL. Sergio and Noren took the lead after winning the second hole and I’m surprised they didn’t close out Phil and Bryson sooner. Holy shit. The latter sure had an eventful afternoon and got a good look at Le Golf National — everywhere except where they were supposed to hit it, basically!
Sergio is such a great partner. This is why people like Sergio as a teammate.
“I get so lucky,” said Sergio. “I get paired with amazing partners every time. I think we played the front nine, we played some amazing golf, a couple shots here and there on the back nine, but I think we held on well. I think Alex was a rock. I helped him a little bit here and there and it was great to get a point.”
Quote of the Day:
“The only thing I say to Rory is we go again, and that’s what we do. It was a bad morning. He didn’t play well, and you go again. You go out there and you bring a different type of game.
“This afternoon, he went out with a guy that he’s got history with; that they love playing golf together, so they went out and did what they can do this afternoon. That was great to see.
“But I made quite clear all along that I’m not in any way, shape or form qualified to tell Rory McIlroy how to play golf, but I’m qualified to lead him in a direction with the people he’s surrounding himself with this week to get good things out of him. And he is that guy that he only needs very short comments and then he goes again.”
To be continued… Jim Furyk is now in the interview room. OK, I heard enough before I started nodding off. Oh, Furyk said he would do it all over again, meaning putting all four pairs out together in the foursomes. Gulp.
Big winner: Le Golf National/ Paris
There are few things I love more in golf than the first tee Friday morning to kick off the Ryder Cup. It’s one of those rare days where I don’t mind wake up at dawn-o-clock. It’s like the night before Christmas. You know? Cool.
See you in the morning. Perhaps not quite as early as today. I have been enjoying watching the sun rise, though. Goodnight!