The United States came into the 2016 Ryder Cup looking to make a statement against Europe, and boy, did they ever, as they won all four of the morning alternate shot matches at Hazeltine in Minnesota. What made this even more special was that it was the first time the USA has swept Europe in any session since 1981, and the first time they swept the alternate-shot format since 1975 at Laurel Valley when Arnold Palmer last captained the team.
Rickie Fowler, who many thought was a questionable selection by USA captain Davis Love, received some vindication as he won his first career Ryder Cup match with a 1-up victory over Phil Mickelson, who had to overcome his self-made distraction this week with his comments about, and apology to, 2004 Ryder Cup Captain Hal Sutton, over defending FedEx Cup champion Rory McIlroy and Ryder Cup rookie Andy Sullivan.
Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed, the only shining light from the USA team in 2014, improved to 3-0-1 as a team in the Ryder Cu, as they defeated Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose 3-and-2. It should be noted that Stenson and Rose were unbeatable in 2014, as they who were 3-0.
Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar dominated their match against Lee Westwood and Thomas Pieters and defeated them handily 5-and-4, in which they only lost one hole.
Jimmy Walker and Zach Johnson shocked their European opponents, Ryder Cup veterans Sergio Garcia and Martin Kaymer. Through 11 holes, Walker and Johnson were down one hole, but after that, they began a run of winning five consecutive holes to turn the tide and win their match 4-and-2.
Play continues Friday afternoon with four fourball (better ball) matches.
The afternoon games are as follows:
Spieth and Reed will again take on Rose and Stenson.
J.B. Holmes and Ryan Moore will take on Garcia and Rafael Cabrera-Bello.
Brandt Snedeker and Brooks Koepka will take on Kaymer and Danny Willett
Dustin Johnson and Kuchar will go against McIlroy and Pieters.
The United States needs 14½ points to win the Ryder Cup; Europe needs 14 to retain it.