sAfter the first day of the 43rd Ryder Cup at the Straits of Whistling Straits in Haven (Wisconsin), one thing is clear: Europe must make a massive comeback against Team USA in the greatest spectacle in golf. After the quartet, as the doubles are called in golf, the guests are late on Friday by 2: 6. He has led a team eleven times in the history of this prestigious duel, which has been held since 1927, and this result was on opening day – 11 times such progress was enough to win the cup.
For the first time since 2008, the Americans dominated the two “rounds” on the first of the three days in the classic quartet (each playing a ball in turns) and in the four-ball (each playing its own ball, the score better in each counted hole). The hosts showed themselves to be 3:1 in both the quartet and the classic quartet.
The superiority of “Team USA” is easy to explain: US captain Steve Stryker used all twelve players in the “two sessions” – everyone contributed superior leadership to the home team, and no one went away empty-handed. Ireland’s Euro captain Padraig Harrington also sent all of his men to the glorious field on Lake Michigan on Friday, but only world number one John Ram lived up to high expectations.
The 26-year-old Spaniard and compatriot Sergio Garcia won the opening match of the Classic Quartet against Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth 3 & 1 (won three more holes, one yet to be played). The 41-year-old Garcia increased his earning points account to 26 on his 10th use, the most a professional has won in this transatlantic duel. But this record improvement was one of the few positive results for the “Euro” on the first day. Because this Spanish success was the only one in the classic quartet, held in the morning in glorious late summer weather (up to 23 degrees).
Bitter perception of the guests
In the afternoon, when the wind picked up with wind gusts of up to 45 kph and eventually even light rain made the match difficult on the 6,757-meter long track (Bar 71), Ram managed to play four balls with Terrell Hutton against the very strong Bryson Dechambeau. And Scotty Scheffler score again. Both important punches at the crucial moments, Hatton sank the decisive Birds and won half a point on the 18th hole from the two-meter hole. The second half point for Europe went to England and Norway duo Tommy Fleetwood and Victor Hovland against Justin Thomas and Patrick Cantlay in the afternoon.
But this tie was even more disappointing, as the two lost significant lead in the second nine holes (three to eight holes past). But the guests’ most bitter realization was another: Long-time world number one Rory McIlroy lost his sixth appearance in two matches in one day for the first time – and both are clear. In the classic quartet he lost with Englishman Ian Poulter. California nationals Patrick Cantlay and Xander Shaveli won 5 and 3. Also in the afternoon, 32-year-old Northern Irishman and Irishman Shane Lowry had no chance against the duo of Tony Finau and Harris English (4 and 3).
In turn, the Americans showed why eight professionals on their team were among the top ten in the world rankings. Dustin Johnson, second in the rankings, won both games on his third appearance, a coup also achieved by Olympic champion Shaveli. But DeChambeau was even more excited about the 40,000 fans of his mega jersey, the tallest on the fifth hole thrown after just 376 metres.
Despite the huge deficit, Captain Harrington remains optimistic: “My team did well. Unfortunately, we never got any momentum. The Americans hit more punches. But that could change again tomorrow.”
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