It has begun. The tees are in the ground and the Ryder Cup is in full swing across the pond at Gleneagles. Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson were sent out against Justin Rose and Henrick Stenson to start off the festivities. After an ugly Team USA opening that saw Watson/Simpson get handled easily 5&4 by Rose/ Stenson, the United Stated flipped the momentum capped by the rookie duo of Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed.
The Spieth/ Reed combo easily dispatched of the Gallacher/ Poulter duo. Poulter, normally a Ryder Cup killer, ran into a buzz saw that couldn’t be avoided. Europe’s marquee pairing of World No. 1, Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia held court until a comeback by Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley resulted in a United States 1 Up victory. Morning Four-ball ended with the USA in the lead 2 ½ – 1 ½.
Inexplicably, Tom Watson left Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed on the bench for the afternoon Foursomes. This was clearly a poor decision that was made before the matches began but one that should have been changed to incorporate the hot Team USA duo of Ryder Cup rookies.
Afternoon matches were dominated by Team Europe as only the pairing of Jimmy Walker and Rickie Fowler could manage any Team USA points. The spark from the morning comeback left Mickelson and Bradley as they were easily handled by Dubuisson and McDowell. Team Europe’s marquee pairing did manage a half in the afternoon. Interestingly that means that the pairing of McIlroy and Garica netted a combined half point on Day 1. Team Europe took the afternoon Foursomes 3 ½ – ½. Team Europe leads at the end of Day 1, 5 -3.
|FRIDAY MORNING FOUR-BALL|
|Watson / Simpson||Europe Wins 5 & 4||Rose / Stenson|
|Fowler / Walker||HALVED||Bjorn / Kaymer|
|Spieth / Reed||USA Wins 5 & 4||Gallacher / Poulter|
|Bradley / Mickelson||USA Wins 1 UP||Garcia / McIlroy|
|FRIDAY AFTERNOON FOURSOMES|
|Furyk / Kuchar||Europe Wins 2 UP||Donaldson / Westwood|
|Mahan / Johnson||Europe Wins 2 & 1||Rose / Stenson|
|Walker / Fowler||HALVED||McIlroy / Garcia|
|Mickelson / Bradley||Europe Wins 3 & 2||Dubuisson / McDowell|
The Ryder Cup is not over yet with eight more matches scheduled for Saturday and then the final 12 singles matches on Sunday. The question will be whether Tom Watson learned from his Friday mistake. Although they had a nice comeback in the morning, Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley should have sat in the afternoon. Mickelson and Bradley are both off form and Mickelson is playing with arthritis. The logical move was to take their morning victory and shelve them for the afternoon. The hot hand of Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed should have been on the course in the afternoon.
Team Europe, although in the lead did not play to maximum capability and that should scare the United States team. A solid pairing of Gallacher and Poulter could not get the job done in the morning session. For Europe to be in the lead with that issue and the morning closing holes egg laid by Garica and McIlroy is scary.
I expect to see Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed with 36 holes of golf scheduled for tomorrow. Also in for a long day should be Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker who honestly are making a better tandem then I expected. Team Europe just needs to stay the course and just expect more out of Poulter and the pairing of Garcia and McIlroy, which started to blossom in the afternoon. Below is how I would send off the teams if I was each captain and how I predict each match would go. I love the Ryder Cup!
|SATURDAY FOUR-BALL PREDICTIONS|
|Fowler / Walker||HALVED||Gallacher / Poulter|
|Spieth / Reed||HALVED||Donaldson / Westwood|
|Mahan / Johnson||Europe Wins 3 & 2||Rose / Stenson|
|Bradley / Mickelson||Europe Wins 2 & 1||Garcia / McIlroy|
|SATURDAY FOURSOMES PREDICTIONS|
|Spieth / Reed||USA Wins 2 UP||Bjorn / Kaymer|
|Watson / Simpson||Europe Wins 1 UP||Rose / Stenson|
|Walker / Fowler||Europe Wins 2 & 1||McIlroy / Garcia|
|Furyk / Kuchar||USA Wins 1 UP||Dubuisson / McDowell|
|DAY 2 PREDICTED TOTALS|
|Europe Wins 5 - 3|
|OVERALL PREDICTED TOTALS|
|Europe Leads 10 - 6|