What a day. After a three-year wait, the first day of the Ryder Cup delivered the goods. Matches resume at Whistling Straits in about 12 hours, so let’s get caught up.
Friday at the Ryder Cup started predictably. A deep United States team put out its expected alternate-shot pairings and fared well with them. The Americans ended up with a 3-1 lead after the first session, with Jon Rahm and Sergio García earning Europe’s only point. Then things got interesting.
Sticking to a plan made a while ago, U.S. captain Steve Stricker tossed a 12-6 curveball with his afternoon pairings. One of the Americans’ strongest teams, Patrick Cantlay-Xander Schauffele, was split up, and stars Collin Morikawa and Jordan Spieth were subbed out altogether. European captain Padraig Harrington countered with surprising pairings of his own—Jon Rahm-Tyrrell Hatton and Paul Casey-Bernd Wiesberger—while sitting Sergio. It was beautiful chaos, and it left many prognosticators, including yours truly, with egg on their face (pun very much intended).
After posting another 3-1 in four-ball, Team USA leads 6-2. The Europeans have their work cut out for them. Ryder Cup Scoring
After a couple of days of cool temperatures and a northerly wind, the weather shifted at Whistling Straits on Friday. The morning brought light breezes and moderate temperatures, and a southerly wind kicked up in the afternoon. The blustery conditions added a welcome layer of intensity to the proceedings.
Bryson DeChambeau, participant in a major long-drive competition next week, hit his tee shot 417 yards on the par-5 5th hole. To make way for the blast, DeChambeau had repositioned some confused fans. He then drove the ball within 72 yards of the 588-yard hole, knocked a wedge to three feet, and made the eagle putt. Later, he hit his tee shot on the 401-yard 13th into a greenside bunker. Easy stuff.
Rory McIlroy lost two points on the same day at a Ryder Cup for the first time in his career. His teams didn’t reach the 16th hole in either match, losing 5&3 in the morning and 4&3 in the afternoon. If Europe is going to stage a comeback, Rory needs to get it together.
After a 3&1 loss alongside Jordan Spieth in the morning, Justin Thomas went out with Patrick Cantlay in the four-ball session. The Spieth-JT breakup was premeditated, but to our eye, the duo didn’t seem to work in the first place. JT did better with Cantlay, holing a huge eagle putt on 16 and helping earn a final half point for the U.S. team.
In the morning, Rahm and García looked practically unbeatable against Thomas and Spieth. They were broken up in the afternoon as Sergio rested, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see the Spaniards play two matches together on Saturday.
It appears that Stricker and Harrington are trying to avoid rolling out any of their players for all five sessions. But with Europe battling from behind, Rahm may be looking at a busier-than-expected Saturday.
Jordan Spieth hit one of the more remarkable shots you’ll ever see from left of the 17th green.
Yale University is set to undertake a $25-million, Gil Hanse-led restoration of its golf course, designed by Seth Raynor and C.B. Macdonald in 1926. One of the boldest and most ambitious works of American golf architecture, Yale has been in need of a makeover for a long time. We can’t wait to see how Hanse’s project turns out. For more on Yale Golf Course, check out our YouTube video, which features commentary from Hanse, Tom Doak, and Riley Johns.
Players are going ultra-low in the first round of the LPGA Tour’s Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. Leaderboard
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