Europe kicked off the Ryder Cup with a stunning and historic start, securing a landslide victory in the Friday morning foursomes sessions. The pairing of Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy, affectionately dubbed “Fleetwood Mac,” led the charge, defeating Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay to give Europe a commanding 4-0 lead. This marked only the fourth opening session sweep in Ryder Cup history and the first for Europe in the tournament’s 44 editions.
European captain Luke Donald’s strategic decision to start with foursomes, breaking from tradition of beginning with fourballs, proved to be a wise move. The team was determined to make a fast start, still carrying the wounds of a crushing defeat two years prior. The plan worked flawlessly, as Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton secured a 4&3 victory over Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns. Viktor Hovland and Ludvig Aberg followed suit, coasting to victory by the same scoreline against Max Homa and Brian Harman. Shane Lowry and Sepp Straka continued the winning streak with a 2&1 triumph over Rickie Fowler and Collin Morikawa.
McIlroy and Fleetwood survived a late scare in their match to clinch a 2&1 win, sealing the fairy tale start for the European team. The overall performance of the squad left McIlroy in awe, highlighting the team’s readiness and exceptional play. The European supporters, who packed the grandstand at the first tee, were treated to a thrilling display of golf and gave the team an incredible boost.
On the other side, the US team was left reeling from the devastating start, looking to respond assertively in the afternoon fourball session. Captain Zach Johnson remained optimistic, expressing confidence in his hungry and resilient team. Johnson emphasized the need for his players to stay committed and perform at their best to turn the tide in their favor.
What made Europe’s domination even more remarkable was the fact that the US never took the lead in any of the matches. Europe’s top-ranked players, Rahm and Hatton, set the tone with a brilliant performance against Scheffler and Burns. The pairing of Hovland and Aberg, with the latter being a rookie, surpassed expectations and dismantled their more experienced opponents. Lowry and Straka faced a tougher challenge but held their nerve to secure the victory.
As Fleetwood sunk a crucial putt on the 15th hole and McIlroy delivered a flawless tee shot on the 17th, the European team erupted in celebration. It was a significant win against a duo, Fowler and Morikawa, that had never lost in five previous foursomes matches together. The victory ignited hopes of a triumphant Ryder Cup for Europe and left Team USA with a difficult uphill battle to turn things around.
The US team will be hoping for a reversal of fortunes similar to what Europe achieved in the Solheim Cup last week. In that tournament, Europe suffered an initial sweep before staging a thrilling comeback to retain the trophy. With both teams eager to prove themselves, the Ryder Cup promises to be a fierce battle of skill, strategy, and determination.