Remember Rome – Brookline? It takes more effort.
Marco Simone’s 18 near the fieldTh After Justin Rose rolled a nine-footer to further extend Europe’s lead in 44, the green was shaky on Friday evening.Th Ryder Cup. The home crowd explosion put an exclamation point on a record day for the Europeans, who lead the U.S. 6½-1½.
Now, US captain Zach Johnson’s team faces a mammoth task.
Back in 1999, Justin Leonard and his American teammates pulled off the unthinkable, rallying 6-2 after two sessions to lift the trophy by one point. To date, no team has won by more than four points after the first day of the tournament.
If you need math: this American team is four and a half points behind their red-hot counterparts.
„They have every right to be frustrated, No. 1,” Johnson said. „No. 2, I’ve seen so far … I’ve seen some guys, basically what we’ve done is, once we get out of here, it’s over, they’re essentially leaving right now, so today’s over, there’s still a high chance. 28 percent of a match is over, so We have 72 percent left. It creates a lot of opportunities, you know, I say. The ability of this team to go out and express its true character, I’m very proud of it from the beginning.”
The United States outscored Europe 12.9 to 29.2 according to the Official World Golf Rankings, but by the time the first tees were set inside the Colosseum-like amphitheater of the first tee, the home side was slightly favored. It didn’t take long for that gap to widen significantly.
A 4-0 four-man record for the Europeans.
A thrilling, crowd-pleasing comeback in four balls to deny the Americans a full point on one day for the first time.
Europe’s Big Three of Rory McIlroy, John Rahm and Victor Hovland all scored five points, while the top three Americans Scotty Scheffler, Sander Schaffel and Patrick Cantlay could only muster a combined half a point.
And then there’s the American team room, Johnson revealed, where illness has spread among some of its players and other members, forcing the captain to adjust. Johnson declined to absorb the details, saying only that „there were some unexpected things we had to go around.”
So, what now? How can America silence Rome and shake the world?
It probably starts with Scheffler and Brooks Koepka, who birdied each of their final five holes in Friday’s four-ball session — and didn’t win any of those holes — as Rahm birdied two of his final three with an eagle in half-point. Spieth and Justin Thomas managed half a point after sitting out the opening session. Schauffele and Cantlay would also get another run.
Like Donald got from his studs on Friday, Johnson will need a boatload of points from those guys — and then some.
Despite feeling less than 100% and waxing over nine-plus hours, the US captain is confident the team has one of them back.
„Because I have 12 guys in my team room,” Johnson said. “Everyone is cruel. Everyone is hungry. Each of them play golf for the right reasons at the Ryder Cup.
They also shed at this time.
While the European players celebrated with each other and thousands of new close friends, the American brass quietly made their way to the clubhouse. Spieth and Colin Morikawa hit some balls on the range. Not a single word was spoken.
Meanwhile, in a nearby fan village, singer Tom Grennan belted out the lyrics to one of his songs:
I’m holding on to pieces.
Swimming in the deep end.
I’m trying to find my way back…
This US team still has a long way to go — and a 10% chance of winning, according to Outcome IQ — but Rose isn’t ready for anyone to work on.
„There are small margins between the teams … and that’s going to be the case for the next few days,” Rose said. „We’re going to be fighting for small margins there. I think Team Europe did an incredible job today in the last few holes of fighting for those small margins and that’s the difference on a day like today.
Five points to be exact.
A margin that no other team has ever broken.
„It’s golf,” Johnson said. „I mean, it’s going to happen. These are athletes on both sides. Anybody can beat anybody at any time. … It didn’t go our way today. It doesn’t mean it can’t tomorrow, certainly on Sunday.
„Całkowity introwertyk. Nieprzejednany specjalista od sieci. Przyjazny fanatyk bekonu. Student ekstremalnych. Miłośnik piwa. Organizator.”