SHEBOYGAN, Wis. The European team arrives on day 2 of the Ryder Cup with some serious work. After a terrible opening day – Europe won just one match and fell four points behind – it is hoped that a new day at Whistling Straits will bring new results.
While U.S. captain Steve Stricker went with the exact lineup he used in Friday morning’s foursomes session, Europe captain Padraig Harrington changed things up a bit in his matings. One noticeable difference is the absence of Rory McIlroy, who will sit out a session for the first time in his Ryder Cup career.
Breakdown: Berger and Koepka, former Florida State teammates, were great at taking Englishmen Lee Westwood and Matt Fitzpatrick down in the foursomes on Friday morning. They will have to be even better against the Spanish duo who defeated Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth to Europe’s only victory on day 1. Berger and Koepka complement each other well. Garcia and Rahm will in a hurry try to turn momentum to Europe’s side.
Breakdown: Morikawa, 24, has already won two major championships, the same number as Johnson, who is 37. Morikawa is one of the best ball attackers in the world, while Johnson, a former world No. 1, seems to find his form at . the right time. Morikawa is a striped putter, but DJs putter was red-hot last Friday. Casey lost two games on opening day. However, Hatton made a critical birdie putt on the 18th hole to save a half point for the Europeans.
Breakdown: Spieth was the only American player to not earn at least half a point on Friday; he and Thomas lost to Rahm and Garcia in the morning. Thomas salvaged half a point with Patrick Cantlay in the afternoon four balls. Both will be highly motivated to play better. Hovland and Wiesberger are European rookies. Hovland was as good as announced in his debut. Wiesberger, the first Austrian to compete in the Ryder Cup, is the lowest ranked player on both teams, but he kept his own and played pretty well on Friday.
Breakdown: On paper, at least, it looks like the most skewed fight in America’s favor. Cantlay won four times last season and was the PGA Tour player of the year. Schauffele is a two-time runner-up in the major championships and won a gold medal at the Olympics in Tokyo. On Friday, Schauffele became the first American rookie to go 2-0 on the first day since Keegan Bradley in 2012. Westwood and Fitzpatrick fought to keep up with the firepower of Koepka and Berger on Friday morning — and this American duo may be equal better.