That Europe leads 5-3 at the end of the first day of the Ryder Cup was not a big surprise, although I thought it might be 4-4. What was a surprise was how easily Europe plowed through the United States in the Foursomes, sweeping 4-0, with none of the matches ever feeling in doubt as to the outcome.
I have thought all along the key for the United States to retain the Cup and win for the first time on European soil in over 20 years was to stay close enough through the first two days that their superior depth would allow them to win the majority of the final 12 singles matches.
Heading into the second day, I think it is imperative the United States gets a minimum of four out of the eight points. A 4-4 split would leave it 9-7 heading into singles, leaving the boys from America needing 7-of-12 points in singles, a very doable number.
How do we accomplish this on Day Two? First, realize there is no need to panic following the embarrassment of the afternoon session of the first day. As U.S. Captain Jim Furyk brought up at the press conference, it was four of 28 points – that’s it.
The United States needs to take three of the four matches in Four-Ball and then one of the four in the Foursomes. Once again, on paper, a very doable mission.
Furyk is sending out the same four teams in Four-Ball than produced the 3-1, opening day margin. They big question is how he will put together the teams for the Foursomes.
There may be some unhappy golfers, but following Day One, there is no other option. Someone needs to put out a missing persons alert for Phil Mickelson. He played poorly last week at the Tour Championship and then came out in the Foursomes and looked like he had never played the game before.
Phil may have to sit all day, as perhaps will Bubba Watson. Furyk needs to take the best eight and put them in Foursomes. Even a sweep a Four-Ball doesn’t change this. If the United States came take five of the points in the second day, it would leave tied heading into singles, forcing Europe to get 7.5 of the 12 points in singles and there should be no way for that to happen.
What happens remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure, expect a more exciting second day of competition!