No matter what he said earlier this week, Garcia was absolutely under pressure to deliver after being controversially given one of Thomas Bjorn’s picks. After having the morning off, the Spaniard came out alongside rookie Alex Noren in the foursomes and duly turned in a thumping takedown of Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau. Yes, it was an awful shout to put those two Americans together. Yes, they played terribly. But don’t overlook how well Sergio and Noren played. They were five-under for their front nine and although a little fizz went out of their performance on the back nine they were simply too good for their opponents. A big win for Noren on his Ryder Cup debut; a simply huge win for Garcia, who has now improved his total points haul to 23.5. Another two points before Sunday night and he’ll become the all-time top points-scorer in Ryder Cup history. Amazing.
Francesco Molinari & Tommy Fleetwood
Two matches, two wins for rookie Fleetwood and the still-wildly-underrated Molinari. Can't say fairer than that. Also, consider this: the four players they took down have a combined 19 majors, 106 PGA Tour titles, and 713 weeks as world No.1. Immense.
Whitewashes don't happen by chance but, in large part, by design. The team at The 15th Club don't go looking for plaudits. Instead, they spend every waking hour poring over tranches of data to give Thomas Bjorn and his vice-captains everything they need to make the most informed pairings decisions that they can. That rings especially true for foursomes, where compatibility and a thorough understanding of which players best fit together is essential. Four-nil tells you everything you need to know about how well they did their job. The 15th Club? Europe's 13th Man.
The last man to make it into the Ryder Cup this year was given the daunting task of hitting the first shot. Granted, he got a bit lucky - his ball didn't so much flirt with the water so much as go on multiple dates with it - but he played a starring role in putting an early point on the board for the US at the expense of Justin Rose and Jon Rahm. Inexplicably benched this afternoon.
Left out of the opening session of a Ryder Cup for the first time since his debut in 1995, Mickelson was paired with quirky rookie and fellow wild card Bryson DeChambeau in the afternoon’s foursomes. They promptly lost 5&4, winning only three holes. The defeat was Phil’s 21st in the Ryder Cup… the most by any American ever. If he loses once more this week, he’ll set a new record for the most Ryder Cup losses by any player on either side.
Euro fans' reputation
Remember how indignant everybody on this side of the Atlantic got two years ago when a raucous, well-imbibed American crowd got underneath the skin of Darren Clarke’s European team? We weren’t impressed, were we? “You don’t get this behaviour over here.” That was the stout defence. Not anymore. A significant element of the home crowd let themselves down today by booing the Americans on the first tee during both sessions. That was bad enough. The shouts of ‘get in the water’ directed at Patrick Reed’s ball in the morning and the booing of Tony Finau ahead of a crucial birdie putt on the 16th in the same session were plain unacceptable. The team nature of the Ryder Cup shouldn’t come with a free pass for people to lower their standards to the asinine levels of, for example, football supporters. It’s unedifying, unseemly and totally unwelcome. And spare me the "Americans are worse" defence. What is they say about two wrongs? Cut it out.
Started the day with 17 Ryder Cup losses. Ended it with 18. Suddenly, last Sunday seems like a lifetime ago.
Those “Guardian” guys
Didn’t hear them once. Wonderful stuff.
The people of Iceland
Sorry, folks. The "Thunderclap" belongs to the European Ryder Cup team now.
Do you agree with Michael McEwan's assessment of Day 1? Who are your winners and losers from the opening day at Le Golf National? Leave your thoughts in our Comments section below.