Rise Of The Rookies – Ryder Cup Day 1 Review
To Win The Singles
After plenty of highs and lows in Day 1, Europe lead USA 5-3, here’s a look at how it all panned out…
How They Stand
Friday ended in calm sunny weather but conditions were pretty blustery throughout Day One, which made things tough going for the best golfers in the world. The USA got off to a slow start, but they recovered to take the morning four-balls, before letting it slip in the afternoon to end the day trailing Europe by two points. Having being strong favourites before the tournament, Europe’s price has shortened to 2/5.
Rise of the Rookies
In the morning four-balls, rookies Jordan Speith and Patrick Reed were sent into battle against the world’s toughest match-play golfer Ian Poulter and local man Stephen Gallacher. Carnage was expected.
But the Texans were unperturbed by Poulter or the occasion and as the European pair struggled for form, their opponents raced into a 3 shot lead after seven holes and never looked like being caught.
Attack of the Insects
Let it not be said that golf is not a dangerous sport. At the tenth, Justin Rose was attacked by a wasp shortly after holing the putt that sent him and Henrik Stenson four clear of Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson. Keegan Bradley was taking no chances, dousing himself with insect repellent, and it seemed to do the trick as the local Scottish insect life couldn’t stop him sinking an eagle at the 16th.
Performance of the day came from the pairing of Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson, together for the first time. In the morning they saw off Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson and even more impressive was their afternoon showing, in which they had to dig deep to overcome two of the USA’s best match-players Zach Johnson and Hunter Mahan. Both are in pole position to finish as top points scorer.
All the talk this week has been about Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell and whether they could play together, but as it turned out, pairing Rory with world number three Sergio Garcia didn’t really work out either.
They lost their morning four-balls and although they salvaged a half point against Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker in the afternoon, anyone who backed either Rory at 7/1 or Sergio at 10/1 to be top points scorers has probably done their money before the weekend.
Europe had a bad morning and things were looking dodgy midway through the afternoon foursome.
They turned things around to finish the first day with a two point lead, but Tom Watson will be encouraged, not just by how well rookies Jordan Speith and Patrick Reed fared, but also by the frailties shown by European bankers McIlroy, Garcia and Poulter.
Although Europe have the advantage, it’s worth remembering that in 2010 and 2012, the USA led by two points at the same stage, and still lost. At odds against, Watson’s side are the value bet in the Outright Winner market at 2/1.