By Adam Harris-
MEDINAH (CBS) A United States lead after the first day of The Ryder Cup is rare.
Since 1975, the United States has led the Europeans after the first two sessions only six times, and the Americans have only won three of those Ryder Cups. Captain Davis Love III is happy with the United States’ 5-3 lead and will change Saturday’s morning matchups from Friday’s to attempt to keep the advantage.
“We just don’t want guys to be worn out,” the United States captain said. “There is so much that goes into this week … I think Tiger (Woods) needs a rest, Steve (Stricker) needs a rest, I need a rest.”
Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker were the only two Americans to lose two matches Friday and will not be in the lineup for Saturday morning’s Foursomes.
Here are the match ups:
7:20 am: Webb Simpson/Bubba Watson vs Justin Rose/Ian Poulter.
7:35 am: Keegan Bradley/Phil MIckelson vs Lee Westwood/Luke Donald
7:50 am: Jason Dufner/Zach Johnson vs Nicolas Colsaerts/Sergio Garcia
8:05 am: Jim Furyk/Brandt Snedeker vs Rory McIlroy/Graeme McDowell
Love III does not just delegate as a captain. He listens to his veteran leaders.
“The plan is that we want everyone rested,” he said. “If I go to a guy and he says, ‘Look, this [playing time] hasn’t effected me at all.’ Whether it be Phil [Mickelson] or whether it’s Bubba, or whoever, I’ll take that into consideration.”
It is assumed Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker will be back out there in the afternoon, but Love III did not want to even discuss that far into the future. He is taking it one day, one match at a time.
Bubba Likes ‘FUN’
Bubba Watson is a colorful, goofy, smiling golfer who has serious talent. Watson’s view on possibly the most pressure packed tournament in golf is as follows:
“The key for us is about having fun. We are playing in The Ryder Cup. If we would have lost today, we are still playing in The Ryder Cup.”
His goofy attitude during press conferences shows the true joy he takes in playing golf for a living. Watson was benched for the morning session and seemed like a caged animal right off his first tee in the afternoon.
Watson pumped up the crowd by waiving his arms just before his opening tee shot, and waited for the crowd to be at its peak before launching his shot down the fairway.
“I figured if I was going to play bad today, I better have fun on the first hole at least,” a smiling Watson said. “So I just got the crowd into it. Just did it for fun, and then somehow I played good after that.”
Watson completely understands where he is and what he is doing for a living. It is this attitude that I believe loosened the Americans up even more than the morning session, and led them to a 3-1 victory in the afternoon.
“I just did it for the fun of it. It’s The Ryder Cup. Why not have fun? We made it here, and got to enjoy your time here and have fun playing golf,” Watson said.
Keegan Bradley for the United States and Nicolas Colsaerts representing Europe did not look like rookies to The Ryder Cup.
Bradley played a major role in winning both his matches today, playing the most consistent golf of all the Americans. He had a sense of confidence and swagger about him from the very first swing.
“[Bradley] has that intense look in his eye that great players have,” Captain Davis Love III said. “He’s competitive, he’s confident in his game, and he’s excited to be here. He loves walking out on that first tee.”
For the Europeans, Nicolas Colsaerts single handily held off a great Tiger Woods afternoon. Colsaerts birdied eight holes and eagled one during his first match at a Ryder Cup. Colsaerts drained a 15-foot putt up one on 17 with Tiger Woods already stuck three feet from the hole on the green.
“It was an amazing, amazing round of golf,” afternoon partner Lee Westwood said. “He’s got the right attitude, and he’s a confident person. He takes big occasions well, but I didn’t realize he was going to take it that well.”
Keegan Bradley remains paired with Phil Mickelson during the Saturday morning foursomes while Nicolas Colsaerts is paired with Sergio Garcia to tee off at 7:50 am.
Saturday should be fun at Medinah Country Club with the USA up 5-3 over the Europeans.
Follow Adam Harris on Twitter at @AHarris670 for Ryder Cup updates.