ST-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – Patrick Reed was the 13th Ryder Cup partner of Tiger Woods and the American captain of the United States, Jim Furyk, 2018, who had been one of the previous 12, was optimistic about the prospects of the pair for success. As Furyk explained, Reed enjoys performing for large crowds and Woods attracts fans as a ribbon.
But when Woods and Reed dropped out in the last four-ball match of the first day of the Ryder Cup on Friday morning, against Europe & # 39; s Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari, they played in an atmosphere that was completely independent of the golf festival that was a rolokse start elsewhere on the site of Le Golf National.
While singing hymns of "Olé, Olé, Olé, Olé," and cheers of "USA!" Vomiting elsewhere on the track, the spectators who followed the Woods match seemed to have only eyes for him , to sniff the air with cries of "Tiger" or "Tigre," and the shouting of professions of their love and loyalty to … Woods.
The fans were riveted to Woods, Reed might as well have been Keith Richards who share a stage with Mick Jagger. The mass dynamics felt like the last round of the Tour Championship in Atlanta, which unfolded as an 18-hole coronation for Woods – no team event.
In seven previous Ryder Cup appearances, Woods was 5 -8 in four-ball games, and he holds a losing record over everything. But as assistant captain for the American squadron in 2016 – a role he played while being sidelined with a bad back – Woods, 42, developed a bond with younger players like the 28-year-old Reed. The bonds that were formed turned out to be rewarded this week when Woods returned to the game line.
Instead, it was the same old story for Woods, who failed to find a rhythm with Reed in a 3-and-1 loss to Molinari and Fleetwood, the only defeat the United States suffered in the four morning matches. With Woods in the afternoon session – the first time he missed a match on the first day of the competition – Europe brushed the four alternative shots to take a 5-3 lead.
The back of Woods stiffened in the morning, so that he & # 39; not play in the afternoon? Has the debilitating schedule of Woods finally caught up with him after 17 competition rounds in 37 days in five cities on two continents?
"He said he was completely good," Furyk said, adding: "Every time Tiger does not play, or maybe he stretches a bit, everyone gets a bit oversensitive that he may have a problem with the But I am not aware of anything like that. "
Furyk has sufficient confidence in his combination of Woods and Reed, whose success in this case earned him the nickname Captain America, to send them back Saturday morning in a remake of four balloons against Molinari and Fleetwood, which dominated Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas during their afternoon match.
Woods and Reed showed little signs of chemistry on Friday when they were mentors and students. They were synchronized, but not in an advantageous way; they generally played the same holes well, and when that happens in a match with four balls, it registers as an echo, not a salvo.
"It defeats the goal," Reed said. "If you have eight or nine birdies on different holes, that's what you need around a golf course like this."
Fleetwood and Molinari jumped to an early lead, on a Molinari birdie at the first hole. Woods then hit his ball within five feet of the par-3 second and top right the game when his birdie attempt was granted. The game had stalled after eight holes, but instead of the anticipation increasing, the energy levels fell like a bad souffle.
On the par-5 ninth Woods gave the United States its first lead with an appropriated five-foot bird. After Woods had found the quarrel with his ride at number 10 – a familiar face on this day – Reed came to the rescue: he took a chip to extend the Americans' lead to 2-up.
At that moment, the momentum should have been on the side of the Americans, but somehow the Europeans have wiped it out. Molinari, who combined the British Open title on the final day with Woods, made putts to win the 11th and 12th hole.
"Once Fran put that well on 11, the situation changed immediately," said Fleetwood, who then made clutch putts to win the 15th and 16th.
On the 15th hole, after Woods had found it rough with his ride, he moved to Reed, who was on the fairway, and communicated his intentions.
"I told him:" Hey, the worst score I'm going to make here with my wedge game is probably par, "Woods said." I'll rise up there within three meters, I will be right and you should free it to become a bit more aggressive and make a little bird. "
Woods has done his bit, he hit his third shot to eight feet. Reed reacted by dipping his approach into the water-the danger that Woods had imposed to avoid. "And then Tommy buried it off the green," Woods said, referring to Fleetwood's long birdie putt.
Five days earlier in Atlanta, Fleetwood had been around after his round to watch Woods win his 80th PGA Tour. "You just literally got lost at that moment," he said Tuesday.
" But that was Sunday, "he added," and this week this week. "