ST-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – The United States left in 25 years after the victory of the Ryder Cup at 25 years ago 1 lead on Friday morning, only to lose it historically in the afternoon.
Europe has unmistakably rebounded on the first day of the first Ryder Cup to be staged in France, with all four alternate shots being swept with considerable margins to continue 5-3 on Saturday.
"Emotions are high in this," said Thomas Bjorn, the gray captain of Europe. "It was a difficult morning for me as a captain and I'm sure it was a hard afternoon for Jim."
Jim Furyk, the American captain and an old Ryder Cup player, had to deal with a lot of European brilliance and celebration over the years.
But this was the first time since the Ryder Cup started in 1927 that a European team had swept an alternative shot or a four-point session.
"We did not come here to win the fours, we came here to win something else", said Francesco Molinari, who together with the Ryder Cup rookie Tommy Fleetwood won two games for Europe on Friday
Yet the Europeans can draw comfort from the precedentship. Since 1927 only nine teams have swept a session. All nine went on to win or retain the Ryder Cup, including the Americans in 2016, when they took a 4-0 lead after the opening run of the fourth place at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn.
Game conditions changed significantly at Le Golf National on Friday afternoon, with the wind blowing in the run and bits of paper blowing into the air and rattling the flag pins. It was as if the wind signaled a shift in momentum and mood, and the Europeans quickly seized control.
None of the games went past the 16th hole when the Europeans closed their four victories in a 20-minute flurry.
Henrick Stenson and Justin Rose went first and defeated Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler, 3 and 2. Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter followed and made a comeback with a 4 – and – 2 victory at Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson.
Sergio Garcia and Alex Noren then defeated Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau, 5 and 4, on the 14th hole, and finally Molinari and Fleetwood ended with Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth, 5 and 4, at the same hole.
"Even if we had played very well, it would have been difficult to stay with them," Mickelson said. "But we just have to regroup and come out sharply, there's a lot of golf, lots of matches and we just have to come out to bring our best things."
Mickelson, 48, has trouble getting that to do lately. He has not had a top 10 finish on tour since May and finished last in the field with 30 players on the Tour Championship last week in Atlanta. With a world ranking of 25, the lowest of the American team, he had to be captain for the first time to make the squadron.
He was not selected for the morning-four-ball session on Friday, and instead of the first T-shirt shortly after sunrise, Tiger Woods, his generating gauge, was shown for the first time since 2012 on Ryder Cup action.
It was a tough day for both the American veterans as Woods and Patrick Reed were the only American connections that lost in the morning and fell with 3 and 1 to Fleetwood and Molinari.
Fleetwood, an agile Englishman, took charge of the match for good by making birdieputts on Nos. 15 and 16 to win both holes. Molinari, the reigning British Open Champion, closed the victory with another birdie at 17.
Woods, 42, arrived in France after winning the Tour Championship on Sunday – his first PGA Tour victory in five year. Reed is a fiery on-course leader for Americans since his Ryder Cup debut in 2014 and earned the nickname "Captain America" after his demonstrative, effective performance at Hazeltine in 2016.
But he and Woods eventually failed to keep pace, and Furyk chose not to use Woods or Reed in the celebrations. (They will meet Molinari and Fleetwood again in the four-ball session on Saturday morning.)
It was a morning full of surprises, chip-ins and splashdowns on the watery Albatross Course. But the United States managed to take the early lead with two of their victories on the 18th hole.
Brooks Koepka and Tony Finau gathered to defeat Rose and Jon Rahm, 1-up
Finau, a Ryder Cup rookie who became a force in 2018, hit a tee-shot on the par-3 16th which looked at the water, but bounced high above a wooden bulkhead and ended five feet from the hole. He made that birdie-putt to win the hole and even the game with two holes to play.
"I said: & have luck in some way & # 39; & # 39 ;, #,; said Finau." That's what I thought in my mind. Fortunately, I did that. That was a huge breakthrough for us. "
Johnson and Fowler took command of the back nine to defeat McIlroy and Thorbjorn Olesen, 4 and 2. And in the wildest ride of the morning, Spieth and Thomas took an early 3 -up lead against Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton on the strength of Spieth's brilliant putting, but lost the lead before he recovered for a 1-up victory.
All eight teams in the morning were the first times combinations in the Ryder Cup, but that does not mean that the players were unfamiliar with the games of their partners Johnson, # 1 the world's number 1 player, and Fowler are friends and frequent practice partners, and they combined to the first point of the event.
McIlroy, a four-time champion and one of Europe's old leaders, failed to make a single bird in a better-ball format that players encourages to be courageous Olesen, a Ryder Cup rookie from The Denmark, which was the last player to qualify for the European team, had to carry more of the cargo. Although he produced some sparkling photographs, he and McIlroy Johnson and Fowler could not resist the previous nine.
"An embarrassing morning for him," said Nick Faldo, the former English star and captain of the European Ryder Cup, of McIlroy.
But the afternoon turned out to be the tonic for McIlroy. He got a lot of inspiration from Poulter, the 42-year-old Englishman who routinely stood up for the occasion at the Ryder Cup, his raised eyes and clenched fists as he exited putts under pressure.
Suffers from foot problems, he did not make the 2016 Ryder Cup team and served in the shadow as vice-captain. But he was back in the sun and in his more familiar role on Friday.
"I love it and embrace it", said Poulter.