For the first time in his career, Rory McIlroy will sit out a session of the Ryder Cup after being benched for the Saturday morning foursomes at Whistling Straits.
The former world No.1 will swap his clubs for pom-poms as Padraig Harrington’s Europeans look to repair some of the damage done on a dismal first day in Wisconsin.
McIlroy, 32, cut a despondent figure on Friday, losing both of his matches as the USA opened up a commanding 6-2 lead – their biggest advantage at this stage of the contest in almost half a century.
A 5&3 thrashing in the company of Ian Poulter in the morning foursomes was followed by a 4&3 defeat alongside fellow Irishman Shane Lowry in the afternoon’s fourballs.
It is the first time that McIlroy has lost twice on the same day at the Ryder Cup and, having played every session dating back to his debut in the match in 2010, the four-time major champion finds himself reduced to the role of spectator.
He’ll be joined on cheerleading duty by captain’s pick Ian Poulter, who sits out for a second successive session, as well as Lowry and Tommy Fleetwood.
The absence of the latter is somewhat of a surprise. The Englishman claimed a vital half-point alongside Viktor Hovland in Friday’s final match to extend his unbeaten record in team play – he went 4-0 alongside Francesco Molinari in 2018 – but he, too, will watch rather than play on Saturday morning.
Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia, the only Europeans to put a full point on the board on Friday, resume their partnership in the opening match of Saturday’s foursomes. They face Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger who won their own foursomes match on Friday.
Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton go up against Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa in match two before rookies Viktor Hovland and Bernd Wiesberger take on Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth.
Lee Westwood and Matt Fitzpatrick go out in the anchor match against Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay.
“We have plenty of options on our team,” explained Harrington. “Spoiled for choice in many ways.
“I'm very comfortable again with the team I've put out tomorrow. Wait and see in each of those matches whether they can create their own momentum and then bring that to the team.”