Holes won today: USA 40, Europe 27— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGolf) September 24, 2021
The 43rd Ryder Cup kicked off Friday with a banner performance from the United States. Picking up three points in both the morning and afternoon sessions, the Americans opened the biennial international event with a commanding 6-2 lead on Europe.
The four-point lead is the largest for the U.S. after the first day of action in 46 years dating back to the 1975 Ryder Cup. It's also the largest after two sessions of the Ryder Cup since the 1977 playing of the event. As far as this year's event, pushed back 12 months amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. is proving that it deserved to be heavy favorites.
The details will come below, but after dropping the first point of the day to Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia, the United States went on to sweep the final three points in the morning foursomes session. In the afternoon, the Americans did not allow the Europeans to win a single match, capturing two points individually and splitting the other two four-ball matches for another point.
The end result is the United States being nearly halfway home to a second straight Ryder Cup victory on home soil. The Americans need 14.5 points to hoist the trophy, and their roster is so stacked that they may be able to achieve the remaining 8.5 points during Sunday singles alone. If the U.S. is even moderately successful Saturday when foursomes and four-ball repeats, there will be plenty of happy fans lining the holes at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.
Check out the full results and scores in the table below along with updates and highlights from Day 1 even further below that.
2021 Ryder Cup results, scores
Foursomes (morning): 3-1 United States
Jordan Spieth & Justin Thomas
Jon Rahm & Sergio Garcia
Dustin Johnson & Collin Morikawa
Viktor Hovland & Paul Casey
Daniel Berger & Brooks Koepka
Matt Fitzpatrick & Lee Westwood
Xander Schauffele & Patrick Cantlay
Rory McIlroy & Ian Poulter
The Europeans drew first blood in the first session Friday morning with Rahm, the world's No. 1-ranked golfer, and Garcia, the veteran leader of the team, handling the emotional leaders for the U.S. in Spieth and Thomas. Rahm sunk big putt after big putt to pace the Euros to a 3&1 win, while Garcia -- now tied with Nick Faldo for the most match wins in Ryder Cup history at 23 -- drew on his experience and confidence in the format to help score the first point of the competition.
It was all U.S. from there to finish out the morning. Johnson and Morikawa responded with a 3&2 win over Hovland and Casey, accounting for the first U.S. points of the competition. Schauffele and Cantlay then finished their rout of McIlroy and Poulter with a 3&2 win, while Koepka and Berger made it three straight points to close with a 2&1 win over Fitzpatrick and Westwood.
Given the youth on the U.S. side in the morning, it was a pleasant surprise the young guns in their debuts did as well as they did. Each of the four rookies were part of match wins (Schauffele, Cantlay, Berger and Morikawa), while the two vets (Spieth and Thomas) lost their match.
Four-ball (afternoon): 6-2 United States
Dustin Johnson & Xander Schauffele
Paul Casey & Bernd Wiesberger
Bryson DeChambeau & Scottie Scheffler
Jon Rahm & Tyrrell Hatton
Tony Finau & Harris English
Rory McIlroy & Shane Lowry
Justin Thomas & Patrick Cantlay
Tommy Fleetwood & Viktor Hovland
The U.S. picked up the afternoon four-ball session where it left off the morning foursomes session, scoring the first two points as Finau and English won 4&3 over McIlroy and Lowry, and Johnson and Schauffele won 2&1 over Casey and Wiesberger. Finau played brilliant golf to anchor for the Americans in a match it needed pitted against a European vet in McIlroy. Playing with English, a rookie, the duo took the lead early and never relinquished it. Fittingly, Finau delivered the dagger.
The final two groups to finish ended in ties with half points awarded to each team. The first to finish was the U.S. pairing of DeChambeau and Scheffler against the European duo of Rahm and Hatton. Scheffler birdied the 15th to give the U.S. a 1 UP lead, and after a back-and-forth round all day, they seemed to be in the driver's seat to score a point. But with the pressure on, Hatton drilled a booming drive, had a close approach and sunk his birdie on No. 18 to halve the hole and the match in one that got away from the Americans.
The opposite was true of the Thomas/Cantlay group for the U.S. that closed the day against Fleetwood and Hovland. The Europeans were 3 UP thru 8 and seemingly were in position to hit cruise control before Thomas and Cantlay turned it on with birdies on No. 9 and 12, plus a massive eagle on No. 16, to tie things up. They each scored a half point and tied the match.
Saturday morning, the Ryder Cup will go back to foursomes matches to begin the day before again finishing with the four-ball format. Check out more analysis and highlights from Day 1 below.