How a hole was halved in sixes… and it was a par 3
In what is surely a first in Ryder Cup history, the foursomes pairs of Bubba Watson/Webb Simpson and Sergio Garcia/Alex Noren halved in sixes on a par 3 .
The 2nd hole at Le Golf National is a par 3 played over water. On Saturday afternoon, the pin was in the front right of the green. The wind was against.
Bubba Watson went first, fresh off a birdie for he and Webb Simpson on the 1st. He found the water. Then Alex Noren did the same for Europe.
They moved to the drop zone to play their third shots, from where Simpson found the water again. Garcia’s pitch just cleared the water and ended in the rough between water and green.
Watson played the Americans’ fifth from the same drop zone and found the green but a long way from the hole. Simpson promptly holed the putt for a six.
That left Europe needing to get up and down to win the hole but Noren duffed the chip a matter of feet. Garcia rolled up to the side of the hole and the Americans conceded what was left.
That was that – halved in sixes, with three balls in the water and a duffed chip. Simple.
Mickelson and Woods vie for unwanted loss record
Even if America fail to return home with the Ryder Cup, Jim Furyk has at least shed a record this week he would rather not have. Going into this match, he and Mickelson shared the record for most matches lost in the Ryder Cup with 20. With his first-day foursomes defeat, Mickelson has now moved clear on 21. Catching them up quickly over the last two days is Tiger Woods – who now has 20 losses to his name after a miserable week in France to date.
It should be said that you can only qualify for this record by playing in a whole host of Ryder Cups so in that sense it is unfair to make too much of it. Sorry, Jim, Phil and Tiger.
Mickelson benched by Captain Furyk
If Jim Furyk was going to give all of his players an outing on the first day, which he did, then it seemed a curious decision to send Phil Mickelson out in the foursomes. The veteran is in poor form and this course does not suit his style of play. Sure enough, he and Bryson DeChambeau were royally stuffed by Sergio Garcia and Alex Noren. That said, they were no worse than any of the USA’s other foursomes pairs.
Furyk had seen enough and duly benched Mickelson for the whole of Saturday. The last time that happened? In 2014 at Gleneagles. Mickelson followed the USA’s defeat with an excoriating attack on Tom Watson’s captaincy. It couldn’t happen again, could it?
Jordan and JT are the fourball kings – with Tyrrell and PC close behind
There was no doubting the identity of the strongest pairs in the fourballs again – and it was the same as yesterday. Twice Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth have got to -9, a figure matched by Tyrrell Hatton and Paul Casey in their victory over Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler. Yesterday, they were a shot worse – unfortunately against the aforementioned Thomas and Spieth.
At the other extreme, Tiger Woods and Patrick were just -1 when they lost to Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood for the second morning running.
A whole day elapses before the USA move off three points
America won the first three matches in this Ryder Cup, while Woods and Reed were two up after 10 in the fourth. They eventually lost and, a day later, the USA were still stuck on three points. Only when Thomas and Spieth shook off Ian Poulter and Jon Rahm in the last fourball to finish on Saturday did they move on to four. By which time, Europe had gone from zero to eight points.
Molinari and Fleetwood go bogey-free in foursomes
Among many records this week, Molinari and Fleetwood did not drop a single shot during their Saturday foursomes win against Woods and DeChambeau. Unsurprisingly, their -4 estimated score was the best of the week in foursomes and would have held its own against a good few fourball pairings.
Thomas and Spieth made six birdies to be only one shot worse in their win over McIlroy and Poulter.