Shane Lowry, Padraig Harrington’s wild card, on Friday staged the anxiety that has been installed in the European team of the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits when he slipped down a grassy embankment and fortunately was not hurt. He played with Rory McIlroy as a couple, and they ended up losing to a very plugged Tony Finau and Harris English. Europe, after a terrible opening day, lost 6-2 after the first two sessions on Friday, its biggest deficit since the event included the continent’s players in 1979.
“We can come back from 6-2,” said Rory McIlroy after losing two games on the same day for the first time in his six starts. Not if they start like they did on Friday. After the first five holes of his morning foursome with The Postman – Ian Poulter earned that nickname because, according to legend, he always delivers – McIlroy found himself 5 down. Poulter and McIlroy fell by 5 and 3 to Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele – part of a 3-1 in the morning that the Americans repeated in the afternoon fourballs.
McIlroy does not play this Saturday’s foursomes. “Yes, golf has not gone as well as he would have liked, but I do not question him for a second in terms of his leadership and what he does for my team,” said Harrington, whose mission is to win back the former world No. 1 to the fourballs and singles.
The only bright spot for Europe came early, thanks to Jon Rahm and Sergio García, who defeated Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. “A lot of good things can still happen,” said Sergio after a day where the Americans were nothing like the teams that have lost this event nine of the last 12 editions despite almost always having the best players in the world on top of him. paper. And it did not revalidate victory since 1991-1993. The last three USA triumphs have always been on American soil: 1999, 2008 and 2016.
Now the 12 American players are in the top 25 in the world rankings and any idea that Europe could use their cunning, their grit and their friendship to counter all that talent was completely blown away when the wind picked up on Friday afternoon at the fourballs. . Tony Finau made six birdies over his first 13 holes to team up with Harris English and turn an initial 1-down deficit into a 4-3 win over McIlroy and Lowry.
Only on two previous occasions had Europeans not scored at least three points on the opening day: 5.5-2.5 in both 2008 and 1979
Johnson and Schauffele went 2-0. They took a 3 up lead after five holes in the afternoon against Paul Casey and Bernd Wiesberger and never looked back on a 2 and 1 win. The round could have been worse for Europe. Coming to the 18th tee, Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton were 1 down to Bryson DeChambeau and Scottie Scheffler, who had a great punch. Hatton put his drive on the fairway, and then played an approach eight feet from the flag, which resulted in a birdie to save half a point. That tie, along with Tommy Fleetwood and Viktor Hovland’s against Thomas and Cantlay, gave Europe two points on the day.
“We couldn’t lose those games,” Harrington said. Only on two previous occasions had the Europeans not scored at least three points on the opening day. They were trailing 5.5-2.5 in both 2008 and 1979, the first year Europe reached the Ryder Cup as a team. They lost both times.
The half points were celebrated. “Obviously that was very important to the team in the end,” Hatton said. “And I hope we get to tomorrow’s session with energy on our side,” said the Englishman. Good need will be.