Well, that’s my fault for building it up. Spieth can only fluff a wedge up the bank and onto the fringe. To be fair, it was an almost impossible situation – you’re basically dead if you go left of the green at 3 – and it’s hideously unfair to use Spieth’s work of art on 17 yesterday as an everyday metric. But, y’know, if you’re not allowed to get excited when watching a genius like Spieth at work, then what’s the point? Wiesberger had swished his tee shot to 12 feet, so when Thomas can’t hole out, it’s another hole to Europe.
2UP Koepka/Berger v Rahm/Garcia (4) 3UP Johnson/Morikawa v Casey/Hatton (3) Thomas/Spieth v Hovland/Wiesberger 2UP (3) Schauffele/Cantlay A/S Westwood/Fitzpatrick (1) USA 6-2 Europe
For the second day in a row, Jon Rahm finds water from the centre of the par-five 5th fairway. The affronted look on his grid suggests he can’t believe what’s just happened, but he had notes. The hole might not be a lost cause quite yet, though, because Berger had found sand from the tee, and Koepka can’t get anywhere close with his second. Meanwhile on 3, Thomas sends his tee shot down Garcia’s Bank. This gives Spieth, the Seve de nos jours, the opportunity to create something ludicrous like that satellite-bothering lob from the side of the cliff at 17 yesterday. Here we go!
The ice-cool putting of Bernd Wiesberger has been a rare plus point for Europe so far this week. He rolls in a 15-foot birdie effort on 2, and even though it’s not enough for a half – Thomas follows him in from similar distance seconds later – the Austrian’s sangfroid augurs well.
2UP Koepka/Berger v Rahm/Garcia (4) 3UP Johnson/Morikawa v Casey/Hatton (3) Thomas/Spieth v Hovland/Wiesberger 1UP (2) Schauffele/Cantlay A/S Westwood/Fitzpatrick (1) USA 6-2 Europe
Hatton does exceptionally well to whip up from no-man’s land on 3 to six feet. But it’s all in vain, because DJ has chipped in from the front. Three birdies out of three for Europe in the second match! A little shaft of light for the visitors in the lead match at 4, though, as Rahm gracefully bundles a chip to kick-in distance. Berger duffs one out of the sand, and Koepka can’t scramble the par from the fringe. USA just the two up now, and hopefully that’s calmed Sergio down a bit.
2UP Koepka/Berger v Rahm/Garcia (4) 3UP Johnson/Morikawa v Casey/Hatton (3) Thomas/Spieth v Hovland/Wiesberger 1UP (1) Schauffele/Cantlay v Westwood/Fitzpatrick USA 6-2 Europe
The door is ajar for Europe at the par-three 3rd, as Morikawa misclubs, his ball toppling back off the false front of the green. But Casey yanks his tee shot down into the hell Garcia plunged Rahm into. A huge error. And the pressure being relentlessly applied to Europe is threatening to break the aforementioned Sergio, who sends an awful approach at 4 towards a grassy knoll on the right. He gets a lucky break back onto the fairway, but he’s still short, and so growls like a wounded bear. Very loudly. He also considers burying the hosel of his club into the turf, but wisely opts against it. We’re not in This Is Difficult To Watch territory yet. But it ain’t easy.
Koepka nearly drains the putt on 3. He’s a bit disappointed not to make America’s third birdie in a row, but it’s more than enough for three holes in succession. It’s two birdies and holes out of two for DJ and Morikawa, too; they make four on 2 while Europe were always out of position from the get-go. But some resistance at last! Bernd Wiesberger crashes a drive down 1, Viktor Hovland chips to three feet, and Europe’s first birdie of the day is enough to take the hole from Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. It’s something. Europe need a lot more in the face of America’s brilliant birdie barrage, but it’s something.
3UP Koepka/Berger v Rahm/Garcia (3) 2UP Johnson/Morikawa v Casey/Hatton (2) Thomas/Spieth v Hovland/Wiesberger 1UP (1) Schauffele/Cantlay v Westwood/Fitzpatrick USA 6-2 Europe
Rahm has been left in an almost impossible position down the side of 2. He’s at the bottom of a bank, on the downslope of a grassy knoll, and shortsided to boot. He opens the face of his club as wide as it’ll go, and still can’t hold the green. The ball topples off the front, and Sergio isn’t able to chip in. Bogey, and with Casey fortunate not to whistle his lay-up from sand into some juniper bushes on 2, this is looking like the start of another long day for Europe.
Berger gives Koepka the chance to make it three birdies out of three, sending his tee shot over the flag at the par-three 3rd to ten feet. Garcia has to respond … but pulls his effort into thick nonsense on the left. He’s on the downslope as well. And there’s more trouble for Europe at 2, with DJ crashing a drive down the middle of the par-five, and Hatton sending one into a bunker, ensuring Casey won’t be able to reach the green in two. Early days, of course it is, but Steve Stricker couldn’t have penned this any better in his dreams.
Casey can’t make the birdie putt on 1. It costs Europe, because Johnson had in fact wedged to 18 inches or so, and Morikawa’s not missing that. Meanwhile up on 2, Koepka lags his monster eagle putt to four feet, enough to eventually secure the birdie. Garcia can’t find the cup from 15 feet, and the fast start Europe desperately needed is USA’s!
2UP Koepka/Berger v Rahm/Garcia (2) 1UP Johnson/Morikawa v Casey/Hatton (1) Thomas/Spieth v Hovland/Wiesberger USA 6-2 Europe
Advantage to the USA on 2. The hosts are on the par-five green in two, while Europe are not particularly close in three. And back on 1, Hatton is slightly unfortunate that his wedge in doesn’t release towards the hole, stopping 12 feet short. Johnson shows him how it’s done by rolling America’s approach to three feet.
The second match takes to the tee. The small European contingent in the stand serenade Tyrrell Hatton with a song based on Black Lace’s 1984 top-ten smash Do The Conga, a track I suspect didn’t bother the Billboard Hot 100 at the time, and could therefore be making its Stateside debut right now. Hatton’s parter Paul Casey finds the semi-rough down the right, while Collin Morikawa, going around this morning with Dustin Johnson, drives into the first cut down the left. Off they go!
Europe need a fast start, but it’s the USA who get one. From the centre of the fairway, Koepka sends his wedge to six feet, then Berger steers in the right-to-left curler for birdie. Rahm could only fly the green from the fairway bunker, and Sergio’s chip never looked like dropping.
1UP Koepka/Berger v Rahm/Garcia (1) USA 6-2 Europe
Friend of the blog David Tindall has kindly totted up yesterday’s points haul per player. It makes for grim reading if you’re from Europe and anywhere other than Spain.
2 – Xander Schauffele, Dustin Johnson
1.5 – Patrick Cantlay, Jon Rahm
1 – Daniel Berger, Harris English, Tony Finau, Brooks Koepka, Collin Morikawa, Sergio Garcia
0.5 – Bryson DeChambeau, Scottie Scheffler, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton, Viktor Hovland
0 – Jordan Spieth, Paul Casey, Matt Fitzpatrick, Shane Lowry, Rory McIlroy, Ian Poulter, Bernd Wiesberger, Lee Westwood
Also Jordan Spieth should get a bonus point for that shot of borderline psychedelic brilliance on 17, sending the ball miles into the air while hanging onto the side of a cliff, landing it six feet from the pin, then finally defying gravity by putting on the brakes just before momentum threatened to dunk him in Lake Michigan. Quite the trip. But that’s another discussion altogether.
The first match turns up for work. Plenty of chanting from the bleachers, plenty of laughing on the tee. Lovely to see Padraig Harrington enjoying himself and sharing a joke with one-time foe Sergio Garcia. Tony Finau meanwhile rocks up to give Brooks Koepka some support, fist-bumping Henrik Stenson with one hand, a paper bag in the other. What’s in the bag? His breakfast, most likely. It’s early. PB&J with the crusts cut off? It’s Sergio, out with Jon Rahm, to tee off first … and he yanks one straight into a bunker down the left. Daniel Berger, alternating with Brooks Koepka this morning, smokes one straight down the middle. Off they go, then!
Good morning Kohler!
Welcome to our live coverage of the second day of the 2020 Ryder Cup. Here are the pairings for this morning’s foursomes (with all the tee times in BST):
1.05pm: Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger v Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia 1.21pm: Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa v Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton 1.37pm: Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth v Viktor Hovland and Bernd Weisberger 1.53pm: Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay v Lee Westwood and Matthew Fitzpatrick
The USA were the bosses of Europe yesterday, and the visitors need a big performance now. Anything other than a fast start will land Padraig Harrington’s side in all sorts of bother, momentum doing a possibly fatal number on them. God speed to everyone in blue, good luck to Steve Stricker’s redmen as well, and may the best team win. It’s on!