After a wild opening day at the Ryder Cup, Davis Love III and Darren Clarke spoke to the media.
On Saturday, U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III will be looking for a clone of what his team was able to produce on Friday morning. He changed the order, but will send three of the Friday morning pairings out for Saturday morning’s foursomes. Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar will rest.
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Rickie Fowler and Phil Mickelson will play Rory McIlroy and Thomas Pieters. Brandt Snedeker and Brooks Koepka will face Henrik Stenson and Matt Fitzpatrick. Jimmy Walker and Zach Johnson will test Justin Rose and Chris Wood. Finally, Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed face the Spanish team of Sergio Garcia and Rafa Cabrera-Bello.
European captain Darren Clarke changed things up in hopes of winning some of the foursomes matches. He also included two rookies who have yet to play: Chris Wood and Matt Fitzpatrick.
With all the shuffling on the European side, there’s always the chance they will find a new winning combination, just as they did with Garcia and Cabrera-Bello on Friday afternoon.
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In reflecting on Friday afternoon’s play, which ended 3-1 in favor of Europe, Love said, “We just ran into a couple of buzzsaws.”
Ryder Cup rookie Brooks Koepka and veteran Brandt Snedeker scored the only points for the U.S. in the afternoon.
“It helps when you birdie the first three holes,” Koepka said. “But we got off to a good start, and we both kept the ball in play. I drove it really well. I felt like I hit quite a few greens and it seemed every time Brandt was on the greens, he made a putt.”
“I had two jobs to do today. One was to go out there and make putts. The other one was to make Brooks feel comfortable and let him do what he’s capable of doing, which was what we saw today,” Snedeker said. “He drove the golf ball unbelievably. He did everything you could want to put pressure on people.”
He said it was a great start for the two of them.
Clarke summarized the day by comparing it to previous Ryder Cups.
“Historically, Europe have probably been stronger in the foursomes and America have always been stronger in the four-balls and that was completely turned on its head,” he said at the conclusion of play Friday. “They showed tremendous bravery and heart and desire to go out and play the way they have done this afternoon. As a captain, I’m extremely proud of them.”
After a morning loss, McIlroy was back in form, making an eagle putt on the 16th hole to win a match.
“You know, we’re not going down without a fight,” McIlroy said. “It was 4-zip after the morning. We’ve pulled it back a good bit, and we plan to pull it back even further going into tomorrow.”
The new Spanish team of Sergio Garcia and Rafa Cabrera-Bello won their first match Friday afternoon. Garcia lost his morning match playing with Martin Kaymer.
“It was a real honor, playing alongside Sergio was something really special,” Cabrera-Bello said. “If I could have picked a partner, I couldn’t have picked anyone better than him to join me on my first Ryder Cup match. I’m proud that we played great.”
“I felt great all day,” Garcia said. “I hit a lot of good putts this morning that didn’t go in, but this afternoon, playing with Rafa was awesome. We’re good friends. We’re obviously very comfortable with each other. He was just a freaking rock of a partner. He was unbelievable.”
The U.S. squad, leading 4-0 after Friday morning, was confronted with a different Euro team in the afternoon. They lost 1-3, bringing the point total to a 5-3 score in favor of the U.S.