Early US dominance followed by a brilliant turnaround ― it was a day to remember at Le Golf National as WADE PRETORIUS talks through the big moments of day one of the Ryder Cup.
Phil … what the Phil?
As a captain’s pick, you’d think Phil Mickelson played on Friday exactly where Jim Furyk wanted him to. And the choice couldn’t have been more… curious. One of the wildest drivers on tour, Mickelson hit it to all parts and left his partner Bryson DeChambeau an impossible task.
Why Mickelson wasn’t sent out in the morning will be questioned but now, where does the experienced American fit in for Saturday?
Experienced Europeans give Bjorn a boost
The decision to send three rookies and perhaps the most curious captain’s pick Paul Casey out in the morning meant the European veterans were desperate to get out onto the course and even more desperate to put on a show. And what a show they put on as Sergio Garcia silenced many of his doubters as he and Alex Noren raced out to a big lead.
Englishman Ian Poulter got the old chest pump out and helped an indifferent Rory McIlroy along nicely with the latter battling to get his ball rolling on its intended line. You wouldn’t expect those two to be split up tomorrow.
Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose maintained their excellent record (now five wins from seven matches) and hardly put a foot wrong. If the rookies failed to deliver, the veterans showed exactly why they were on the team.
Tiger out of gas, Reed left on the bench
Tiger Woods is one of the best ball strikers in the event but struggled for precision early on Friday. To the observers, he looked stiff and perhaps a little fatigued. The decision to rest him on Friday afternoon was understandable but Patrick Reed? He’s the soul of the US team and surely isn’t going to skip another foursomes match? It could fire him up but leaving him out of the second session with Europe there for the taking backfired.
McIlroy stutters and provides a headache
Rory didn’t birdie a single hole in the morning and battled his putter in the afternoon. There wasn’t much of the spark that you’ve seen from him in the editions gone by. He’ll be desperate to play in every session but with a number of his teammates showing up well, you’d think Thomas Bjorn has a serious decision to make about his out of sort star player.
The English/Italian duo was the only side to go 2-0 on Friday in what proved to be a masterstroke. A win over Woods/Reed and then Spieth/Thomas has set the pair up for a look at all five sessions. The pair dovetailed to perfection and never appeared to get flustered in any situation with both making key putts to continue pressing their opponents. Furyk will need to send his best combination out tomorrow or sacrifice another point.