News & Opinion

U.S. needs answers after Day 1 demise

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – Upon enduring a 4-0 shellacking in afternoon foursomes just hours after posting a 3-1 victory in morning four-balls, the Americans face an emotional challenge entering the second day of the Ryder Cup.

The Europeans hold momentum at Le Golf National (scores). The Americans need to reclaim the mojo from Friday’s opening session because they once again will start the day with the better-ball format.

Here is a look at today’s pairings:

Match 1, 8:10 a.m. local time (2:10 a.m. EDT) – Brooks Koepka and Tony Finau (U.S.) vs. Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia: The American duo didn’t lead in their four-balls match Friday until the last hole, when Koepka made a two-putt par on the 18th hole. Finau won in his Ryder Cup debut while Koepka improved his overall record to 4-1-0, including 2-1-0 in four-balls. Garcia (paired with Alex Noren) and McIlroy (with Ian Poulter) won their Friday afternoon foursomes matches. Garcia improved to 20-11-7 in his Ryder Cup career, and McIlroy is 10-7-4. Together, they are 1-1-1.

Vegas odds: Finau-Koepka (even), Garcia-McIlroy (-120)

Match 2, 8:25 a.m. local time (2:25 a.m. EDT) – Rickie Fowler and Dustin Johnson (U.S.) vs. Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton: Johnson and Fowler had little problem in dispatching Rory McIlroy and Thorbjorn Olesen, 4 and 2, in Friday morning’s four-balls. The American pair struggled in the afternoon foursomes, falling to Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose, 3 and 2. Can they overlook that setback and focus on the morning’s success? Fowler’s victory was his first in Ryder Cup four-balls and improved his overall record to 3-4-5. For Johnson, his four-balls record went to 3-4-0 and 7-6-0 overall. Casey and Hatton, a Ryder Cup rookie, lost their Friday morning four-balls match to Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth, 1 up. Casey, making his first Ryder Cup appearance since 2008, owns a 1-1-3 four-balls record and is 3-3-4 overall.

Vegas odds: Fowler-Johnson (-160), Casey-Hatton (+140)

Match 3, 8:40 a.m. local time (2:40 a.m. EDT) – Patrick Reed and Tiger Woods (U.S.) vs. Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood: Woods, playing in his eighth Ryder Cup, opened with a Friday morning four-balls setback with Reed. Their 3-and-1 loss to Molinari and Fleetwood was the only American defeat in the opening session. Woods owns a 13-18-3 overall record, including 5-9-0 in four-balls. His 80 PGA Tour victories, including 14 major championships, never seem to mean much at the Ryder Cup. Reed’s overall mark slipped to 6-2-2, including 3-2-0 in four-balls. Molinari and Fleetwood teamed to win two points Friday and looked good in doing it. In 31 holes, they won 14 and lost only five.

Vegas odds: Reed-Woods (+105), Fleetwood-Molinari (-125)

Match 4, 8:55 a.m. local time (2:55 a.m. EDT) – Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas (U.S.) vs. Ian Poulter and Jon Rahm: Spieth had not played with anyone besides Reed in the Ryder Cup, compiling a 4-1-2 record in the team events before Friday. The Reed-Spieth pairing has been the best for the U.S. in recent years. With the breakup, Spieth played with longtime friend Thomas, a Ryder Cup rookie. They defeated Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton, 1-up, in morning four-balls, but they lost to Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood in afternoon foursomes, 5 and 4. Poulter, like Garcia, is a points machine. With his foursomes victory Friday, Poulter improved to 5-1-0 in foursomes and 13-4-2 overall.

Vegas odds: Spieth-Thomas (-125), Poulter-Rahm (+105)

Alex Miceli is the founder and publisher of Morning Read. Email: alex@morningread.com; Twitter: @AlexMiceli