Europeans Rip US Team in Afternoon Play to take a 5-3 Ryder Cup Lead

Pittsburgh, PA:  The US Team jumped out to a 3-0 lead and was leading in the fourth match when Tommy Fleetwood jumpstarted the European Squad and led them to a final morning Victory to salvage a point.   When the groups went back out in the afternoon, that momentum that Fleetwood had seized would carry over in all four of the matches.   Europe did not just squeak by in these pairings, they hammered the US Team including completely embarrassing the team of DeChambeau and Mickelson.  After day one, Europe is up 5-3 and the US Team was left trying to figure out what went wrong.

 

The US Team played very well in the morning, but could not have played worse in the afternoon.  The only loss of the morning was from the pairing of Woods and Reed.  Captain America really had only one shining moment and they both faded as the match went on.

Afternoon Turnaround

Jim Furyk and his Vice Captains, on a quest to not have any players sit for an entire day rolled with DeChambeau and Mickelson in team play consisting of alternating shots.

It was nothing short of a disaster to follow as the Pair lost 6 of the first 8 holes.   They were down by as many as 7 holes at one point.  The Pair played from places on the course the cameras could not reach.   It was amateur hour from two of the best players in the world.

Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas played well in the morning and finished with a win.  They were run back out to play a second 18 and were run off the course.  Spieth could not hit putts and Justin Thomas was left trying to hold things together.

The Pairing of Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson was nothing special either as Bubba struggled with the wedge and could not convert putts. Webb Simpson played fairly well, although as the round transpired he also struggled making putts.

DJ and Rickie Fowler played well in the morning, and like the other three teams was absolutely abysmal in the daytime matches.  The US Team was searching all afternoon for some momentum or something to go right but were not able to find any help.

The European teams played well this afternoon but it was not just the Europeans that caused the US Team troubles.   The course was relentless as time and again the US players found themselves in deep rough, in tall grass, with the ball sitting at eye level above their feet or having players bent over or straddling objects or hills.   If there was a bad lie on the course, the Americans found it.

 

The US Team had some success this morning and Jim Furyk and his staff has decided to roll with the same players for the morning foursomes.

No team has won not playing all their players on the first day which is why Mickelson was shuffled to the afternoon.   He has struggled so badly off the tee in recent weeks, the question has to be asked where does Jim use him moving forward?   I can see a case for him to play on Sunday in Singles action only.  I can also see a case for Phil to sit for the rest of the tournament.

Bryson was given no help and he coupled that no help with playing bad and getting inside of his own head way too much.  The course and Phil’s lousy tee balls put DeChambeau in situations all day that he did not have a shot for.   In turn, Phil was forced way too often to use his dynamic wedge play that left him high and dry nearly all day.

There is a case to sit them both till Sunday… then again, no one wants Bryson to sit on this ugliness for too long.  The same can be said for Phil but now that they are down 2 matches, there is no real time to be compassionate or sympathetic.  They need to be realistic and play the guys that are going to perform.

Bjorn’s team struggled early but took advantage of the Americans poor play.  In a lot of cases, the afternoon matches were only taking par’s to win holes.   It’s not like the Europeans were making birdies in every group.   They were winning with Par’s and when they made birdies the US Teams were forced to pick up because they were putting for pars or bogeys in most cases.

Midway through the afternoon matches, the Europeans had won 9 holes to the US team’s 2 holes.  One of the two holes was the first hole of the Ian Poulter and Rory pairing and Poulter hit the teams very first shot into the water.

Although Justin Rose is Europe’s best player right now, the team of Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood were the best pairing of the day.

This is what Saturday’s start will look like.

 

 

Author: Jhavelka