Guidonia Montecelio, Italy – As the 44th Ryder Cup commenced at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club, the United States team found itself grasping for a silver lining. Unfortunately, for most golf fans back home, the opening session turned into a rather forgettable one, courtesy of a resounding performance by the European team.
European Domination in the Morning Session
The Europeans achieved a historic feat by sweeping all four foursomes (alternate-shot) matches in the Friday morning session, marking the first time in Ryder Cup history that they achieved a perfect 4-0 start. It was a display of complete dominance, with the European team seeking to regain the prestigious trophy after their defeat at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin in 2021. The U.S. team struggled to take a lead in any of the morning matches.
European Team’s Impressive Streak
This accomplishment marked only the fourth time that the European team had remained undefeated in a session overall. Notably, it was the first time since 2006 that they had managed to secure a lead after the first session, ultimately winning the Ryder Cup that year with a score of 18½-9½ at the K Club in Straffan, Ireland.
Optimism in the European Camp
Shane Lowry, representing Ireland, expressed his optimism, saying, “We are off to a great start this morning. We need to keep our foot down. Look, we are very happy with our start today, and obviously, there’s a lot of golf to be played from here. We talked about getting off to a fast start, and we have done that.”
Uphill Battle for Team USA
In contrast, the American team, hoping to end a 30-year drought in Ryder Cups played outside the U.S., now faces a daunting task with 24 matches remaining. The U.S. team needs to secure 14 points to retain the trophy, while the Europeans require 14½ to reclaim it.
Rahm and Hatton Secure First Point
Spain’s Jon Rahm and England’s Tyrrell Hatton set the tone by securing the first point for the Europeans with a commanding 4-and-3 victory over world No. 1 golfer Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns. Rahm and Hatton established their dominance early on, taking control of the match on the third hole and maintaining their lead throughout.
Hovland and Aberg Excel
In the second match, the Scandinavian duo of Viktor Hovland and Ludvig Aberg proved too strong for Open Championship winners Brian Harman and Max Homa, winning 4 and 3. Hovland, the reigning FedEx Cup champion from Norway, showcased his prowess with a birdie on the very first hole, setting the tone for their victory.
Fowler and Morikawa’s Struggles
U.S. Ryder Cup veteran Rickie Fowler and two-time major winner Collin Morikawa faced a challenging match, losing 2 and 1 to Lowry and Austria’s Sepp Straka. The European pair went 2 up after four holes and secured three consecutive wins from holes 7 to 9, building a formidable lead.
Cantlay and Schauffele’s Tough Day
Even the typically reliable pairing of Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele couldn’t find their rhythm on Friday, succumbing to a 2 and 1 loss to Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy and England’s Tommy Fleetwood. The U.S. duo struggled early in the match, falling 1 down at the turn and 2 down after 11 holes.
Upcoming Four-Ball Matches
The competition will resume with four four-ball (best ball) matches on Friday. Notable matchups include Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas facing Hovland and Hatton, Scheffler and Brooks Koepka taking on Rahm and Nicolai Hojgaard, Homa and U.S. Open winner Wyndham Clark challenging Robert MacIntyre and Justin Rose, and Morikawa and Schauffele squaring off against McIlroy and Matt Fitzpatrick. Golf enthusiasts can look forward to an exciting continuation of the 44th Ryder Cup in Italy.