“It’s kind of one of those shots that you practice as a kid for fun, and you don’t ultimately want to have it. And the chances of it going there, you could roll a thousand balls off the green, and it’s not going it stay where it was.
“I hit like a 52-degree because a 60 might have gone over the back of my head. Just tried to flick it right underneath and hit it as hard as I could, as high as I could. It ended up right on a crown where it was a tough putt, and I think it’s maybe a situation, first one in wins, and we just kind of got a really tough break there.”
Thomas missed the ensuing putt, however, and that ended the match, as the Spieth-Thomas pairing lost 3 and 1.
Who's playing Friday afternoon at the Ryder Cup? Two new teams.
HAVEN, Wis. – U.S. Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker said he would not deviate from his script concerning his pairings, no matter what happened Friday morning.
Well, the Americans jumped out to a 3-1 lead as the teams of Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay, Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger, and Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa delivered victories in Foursomes play at Whistling Straits.
Europe’s lone point came in the first match when Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia combined to defeat Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth.
Whether or not Stricker changed up things because of what he saw in the morning is unknown, but he is sending out all 12 of his charges on the first day. And he did break up some groups, including the Schauffele-Cantlay team that devoured the European stalwarts, Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter.
For the Four-Balls session, Johnson will play with Schauffele against Paul Casey and Bernd Wiesberger. In the second match, Bryson DeChambeau and Scottie Scheffler come off the bench to face Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton. In the third match, Tony Finau and Harris English play for the first time against McIlroy and Shane Lowry. In the anchor match, Thomas will partner with Cantlay against Tommy Fleetwood and Viktor Hovland.
Europe captain Padraig Harrington is also playing all 12 of his troops.
Sitting in the afternoon for the U.S. are Spieth, Morikawa, Berger and Koepka. Sitting for the Europeans are Poulter, Garcia, Westwood and Fitzpatrick.
Four-Balls pairings and predictions
Friday, Sept. 24
12:10 p.m. ET
Dustin Johnson and Xander Schauffele (USA) vs. Paul Casey and Bernd Wiesberger (EUR)
Steve DiMeglio: I can’t see myself taking the European duo. Not a rookie (Wiesberger) and Casey was far from sterling in his Foursomes loss. And Schauffele played as well as anyone in the morning and Johnson was pretty much spot on, too. U.S. wins a full point.
Adam Schupak: This feels like an explosive team to lead Team USA in the afternoon session. Casey didn’t impress in morning foursomes and now he has to lead a rookie out in Four-Balls. Too much firepower for the Euros. Point for Team USA.
12:26 p.m. ET
Bryson DeChambeau and Scottie Scheffler (USA) vs. Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton (EUR)
Steve DiMeglio: I can’t see myself not picking DeChambeau and Scheffler, who can overpower this course with their length, especially in the calm conditions. Yes, Rahm came up big in the morning and he is world No. 1, but Hatton hasn’t been at his best in a long time. U.S. with another full point.
Adam Schupak: This should be Must-See-TV. DeChambeau is going to bomb driver and Scheffler will be the surprise in this session. He can make birdies in bunches. Rahm had a hot putter this morning, but will he get enough help from Hatton to keep up? I’m not convinced the Euros will make enough birdies in this matchup. Another point for Team USA.
12:42 p.m. ET
Tony Finau and Harris English (USA) vs. Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry (EUR)
Steve DiMeglio: I can’t see McIlroy playing as poorly as he did in the morning happening again. And I’ve long thought Lowry would take to this course with glee. Europe wins here.
Adam Schupak: McIlroy has to dust himself off after a morning foursomes beat down. I like this partnership with Lowry, who is making his Cup debut. They’ve played a lot of rounds together and have a close friendship. They won’t let Harrington down. Finau and English will need to make birdies in bunches and are capable of doing so, but I see this being a point for Europe.
12:58 p.m. ET
Justin Thomas and Patrick Cantlay (USA) vs. Tommy Fleetwood and Viktor Hovland (EUR)
Steve DiMeglio: I can’t see a clear winner here. Thomas needs to get his putter working and if he does, and Cantlay plays as well as he has for the last month, look out. But Hovland is a monster and Fleetwood was 4-1-0 in Paris. He’s been off form, as well. I’ll say match ends all-square and the USA ends the first day with a 5½-2½ advantage.
Adam Schupak: This is a quality anchor match. To state the obvious, Thomas has to putt better than he did this morning. He’s a better Four-ball player so I think he and Cantlay, who I’m surprised was separated from Schauffele, can get the job done here. Can Hovland be to Fleetwood what Francesco Molinari was in 2018? I think so, which means I have this match going to 18, but Team USA squeaking out a full point. I’ve got Team USA leading 6-2 after Day One.
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