Ryder Cup 2021: Live scores and latest updates from day one between Europe and USA

Ryder Cup 2021: Live scores and latest updates from day one between Europe and USA - PA
Ryder Cup 2021: Live scores and latest updates from day one between Europe and USA - PA

Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas open the Ryder Cup against Europe's Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia in the first foursome at 1.05pm. Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa face Paul Casey and Viktor Hovland at 1.21pm. Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger play Lee Westwood and Matt Fitzpatrick at 1.37pm and Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay take on Ian Poulter and Rory McIlroy at 1.53pm. The pairings for the afternoon fourballs will be made later today.

12:09 PM

Garcia and Thomas tee off

Sergio Garcia, the greatest points winner in Ryder Cup history, lines up his tee shot....and - amid complete and impressive silence - smashes it into one of Whistling Straits' bunkers! Thomas settles, swings, and the crowd roar his tee shot into the heart of the fairway. Advantage America!

12:06 PM

The Ryder Cup starts now

Sergio Garcia standing over his ball on the first tee. Starter ready to give the nod. Three days of drama about to get under way. Don't. Go. Anywhere.

12:04 PM

Boos for Garcia and Rahm

The all-Spanish pairing enter the cauldron of the first tee. Garcia is smiling, but he can't quite hide the nerves. I'm sure he'd say he's just bouncing on his toes because of the cold. Here come Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth....deafening cheers break out into USA! USA! USA! chants.

Tee
Tee

11:57 AM

Conditions on Lake Michigan

Winds were high earlier this week, sometimes up to 30mph, but they have died down significantly overnight and are predicted to stay light all weekend, at about 7-10mph. The temperature right now is a little over 10C. It's fresh, but not frightening.

Meanwhile, the European captain and vice captain have just appeared around the first tee box, to widespread booing from the US-dominated crowd.

Weather
Weather

11:52 AM

Latest odds

If you're placing a bet now, you'll get 1/2 on the US to win the Ryder Cup and 13/5 on a European victory. As for the first match, Thomas and Spieth are 6/5 and Rahm-Garcia 5/4.

11:47 AM

Ian Poulter: I would love to take on Mickelson as captain in New York

Just a quarter of an hour before the Ryder cup finally gets going. Then about 45 minutes after that, Ian Poulter and Rory McIlroy will be on the tee too. I can strongly suggest you spend these last few minutes of build-up reading Jamie Corrigan's interview with Poulter.

"Standing over the putt, knowing that if, when you hole it there is going to be uproar. I don’t want to be rude to anyone, or disrespect anything, but in those moments I cant help but bang my chest and whatever happens to my eyes. It’s pure passion. That rush of adrenaline that they say isn't supposed to help you in golf. It wouldn’t help me week to week. But in that scenario…”

11:36 AM

Players on the range

Half an hour to go before the first match and players are warming up on the range. Sergio Garcia, probably the Europe team's most reliable driver, is alongside his playing partner and compatriot Jon Rahm, one of this year's most formidable putters. Means that Garcia will probably take the first tee shot, giving Rahm the most birdie opportunities on the front nine.

Garcia and Rahm
Garcia and Rahm

11:30 AM

Predicted flashpoints

Telegraph Sport has three writers at Whistling Straits. We asked for their Ryder Cup predictions (the less said about their predicted scorelines, the better). Here's where they see the greatest potential for a bust-up.

Jamie Corrigan
The US fans will start drinking at 7.30am and then proceed to heckle and abuse for the next 10 hours. Europe insist they will not react, but at some stage someone will surely snap back at the morons.

Oliver Brown
Saturday fourballs. Intoxicated Saturday crowds at US Ryder Cups tend to be the most boisterous of the week, with the atmosphere at Hazeltine and Medinah teetering on the verge of ugliness. European players could face a torrid afternoon.

Simon Briggs
Sergio Garcia to hurl his club after a “patron” – a euphemism in this case for moron – shouts “Mashed potato!” as he is just completing his backswing.

11:20 AM

Born in the USA...

...by Bruce Springsteen, is being piped out of some rather tinny-sounding speakers on the first tee. Was only a matter of time, wasn't it?

11:18 AM

First three holes

A closer look at the opening three holes beside Lake Michigan. For our full course guide, see here.

364 yards, par four A series of bunkers to the left mean the bulk of players will hit a fairway metal and a short iron into the green, apart from the big hitters who may risk it all to try and reach it in one. Rough located to the right, which can make the hole longer but helps with the approach into the right of the green to reduce the threat of the deep bunkers located to the left and behind.

593 yards, par five The first of six holes registering more than 500 yards, this hole requires two long and accurate shots to have a chance at eagle. The tee shot must be down the left side of the long and slender fairway to avoid a blind second shot. Anyone who takes on the green in two will have to dodge the deep pot bunker 35 yards out.

181 yards, par three, Lake Michigan looms to the left of the green with a series of daunting dunes and bunkers between the water and short grass. A steep right-to-left green means pin position and winds will be pivotal.

11:11 AM

Justin Thomas will be first on the tee

Team USA have announced that it'll be Thomas with the nerve-wracking honour of teeing off the 43rd Ryder Cup at 7.05am local time (1.05pm UK time). The feeling is that, given the way the course falls, Thomas will also be making the approach shot on holes 3-8, which means super-putter Spieth takes the birdie opportunities.

This tactic makes even more sense given Thomas's 0.887 average strokes gained on approach shots this year so far. Spieth, for what it's worth, hasn't been in sensational putting form in 2021, with "only" 0.389 strokes gained on the green.

11:08 AM

Crowds start to arrive

Here's the scene on the ground in Wisconsin, where the gates at Whistling Straits opened a few minutes ago. About 3,000 fans will surround the first tee when the competition kicks off in about an hour.

Opening tee
Opening tee

11:01 AM

Ranking wars

The average world ranking of the 12 men picked to represent Europe is 30. The average world ranking of the American team is....nine. But if that sounds like it should be a concern, consider this from golf correspondent Jamie Corrigan.

Having four of the world's top five players did not do the United States any good in the 2010 Ryder Cup, nor did having three of the top four in 2018.

Now, after a 12-month delay caused by the coronavirus pandemic, US captain Steve Stricker will discover if having eight of the top 10 can see his side regain the trophy in his home state of Wisconsin.

10:53 AM

US have not lost an opening session for six editions

As Jamie Corrigan writes this morning in his preview of today's play, despite prevailing in four of the six Ryder Cups held since the 2006 showdown, Europe have not won an opening session since the K Club.

If the European team are to buck that trend, much will surely rest on the anchor match, where Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter take on Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay.

"It’s almost been a decade that Poults and I have been playing in this thing,” McIlroy said. “We’ve put points on the board for Europe which is really important but we've also had a lot of fun doing it. So we are going to go out there this week and enjoy ourselves and play our absolute hearts out."

McIlroy and Poulter
McIlroy and Poulter

10:43 AM

They say the darkest hour...

...is right before the dawn. Which is where we pick up live coverage of day one at Whistling Straits. The groundstaff are prepping the practice green under floodlights and players are beginning to arrive on the course. I promise you that this is an image of Rory McIlroy, who appears to have had his alarm set correctly this morning — unlike in previous Ryder Cups.

Rory McIlroy
Rory McIlroy

10:28 AM

Rookie-heavy US strategy is risk-heavy too

Simon Briggs writes from Whistling Straits

Is history about to repeat itself in this rarely visited corner of America? The 2021 Ryder Cup feels like it could be 2008 all over again.

Wisconsin is no capital of fashion – its most famous attire being those infamous cheesehead hats – but Steve Stricker’s captaincy already feels as much of a throwback as the recent revival in 1980s-style crop-tops and stonewashed jeans.

Stricker has picked six rookies for his American team – the highest number for 13 years – in an attempt to overthrow Europe’s long-term dominance. Rugby fans might see this as a Will Carling moment: an underperforming team, which should really be making more of its wealth and resources, deciding to invest in youth.

Back at Valhalla in 2008, Stricker himself was one of the first-timers, along with Ben Curtis, Boo Weekly, Hunter Mahan, JB Holmes and the mercurial, fast-burning talent that was Anthony Kim. In the build-up, senior pro Phil Mickelson remarked that “I don’t feel as though there are any scars.”

Yesterday, the verdict from Tony Finau – not himself a rookie, but hardly a veteran either at 31 – sounded extremely familiar. “We have a team with no scar tissue,” Finau told reporters. “I see a change in culture. Hopefully we change the mould here moving forward, not just this Ryder Cup but many Ryder Cups to come.”

Those who don’t know their history, they say, are doomed to repeat it. So it would be interesting to know whether Stricker has spent much time raking over the ashes of 2008.

Anthony Kim, remember him?

Yes, Valhalla may have delivered a thumping 16 ½ - 11 ½ win for the Americans. But if you look at the bigger picture, it hardly delivered Ragnarok for the Europeans. Instead it was an aberration – their only loss in seven tournaments spanning 17 years. And much of the reason may lie in the mysterious disappearance of Kim.

The Korean American, then seen as Tiger Woods’s natural successor, made a compelling debut. On the course, Kim thrashed Sergio Garcia 5&4 in the matchplay. Around the fringes, he body-checked Ian Poulter in a symbolic territorial display. But he was racked by injuries, and left the tour in 2012 – aged just 26 – never to be seen again.

So what of this year’s crop? There is an obvious comparison between two luminous talents: Kim in 2008, and Collin Morikawa in 2021. Until Morikawa, no-one had ever made a Ryder Cup debut with two majors to their name. (Even Woods had only won a single US Masters before his own arrival at Valderrama in 1997, aged 21.)

As it happens, Morikawa – who won this summer’s Open championship at Sandwich – is another American golfer with Asian heritage, thanks to a Japanese father. But that is an incidental detail. The point is more that he is a generational phenomenon – golf’s very own Iron Man, thanks to his uncanny felicity with the mid-range clubs.

Morikawa has the potential to become the long-term scourge of Europe in the way that Woods and Kim both promised to be, but never actually were. Which makes his performances over the next few days all the more interesting. Many of Europe’s Dad’s Army (average age 34, as opposed to the USA’s 29) are unlikely to return in Rome two years hence. But their successors will thank them if they can keep an early lid on Morikawa.

New heavyweight rookies

Now we turn to two more heavyweights, in ability if not Ryder Cup experience. Both Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele were members of the famous “Class of 2011” – a group of half-a-dozen American players who dominated US college golf that year. (The same catchment also included two more seasoned members of the Whistling Straits group in Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas.)

Now 29, Cantlay was held back by personal trauma – the death of his friend and caddie Chris Roth in a hit-and-run car accident five years ago – and a lingering back injury, but broke through in style this autumn by winning the FedEx Cup. Schauffele is two years younger, and recently lifted the Olympic title in Tokyo.

Stricker’s six first-timers also include three slightly less obvious picks. Both 25-year-old Scottie Scheffler and 28-year-old Daniel Berger bring the aggressive, long-driving, pin-seeking, birdie-heavy game that Stricker sees as the blueprint for team-golf success. Finally, there is PGA Tour stalwart Harris English. At, 32 English is the second-oldest American here after Dustin Johnson. But even he doesn’t prevent this being the youngest American team since the inaugural Ryder Cup in 1927.

With neither Woods nor Mickelson present for the first time since 1993, this is the perfect moment to introduce the hottest six-pack of rookies that the Ryder Cup has ever seen. Should the bookies be right, Morikawa and Co will carry the USA to another Valhalla-style triumph, and leave “softie” Stricker sobbing in delight. But if such garlanded talents should fail, it raises an awkward question. Where the hell do the USA go next?

09:00 AM

Team USA mission: make the captain cry

The four-time major champion Brooks Koepka wants to see his captain Steve Stricker cry at the end of this Ryder Cup week.

It was a comment that could easily be misinterpreted by European fans, particularly if Whistling Straits were to deliver an upset. But Koepka was referring to the tears of joy that will surely flow if Team USA reclaim the trophy on Sunday night.

The 54-year-old Stricker has a reputation for lachrymosity, having admitted as recently as 2018 – when he won his maiden title on the PGA Champions Tour – that he blubs every time he lifts a trophy.

And as Koepka told reporters yesterday, “It would be nice to see him cry. He has a big passion for the game and big passion for all of us as players, the vice-captains. He just truly cares a lot. He's a softie.”

In the same interview, Koepka was asked to describe the current state of his relationship with his rival and antagonist Bryson DeChambeau. Here was an opportunity to build bridges with a man he has previously scorned, but his response was revealing in its blandness.

“We are on the same team together,” said Koepka. “We've had dinner almost every night as a team. I got here on Monday. Everyone who is on our team is interacting and everybody is participating in conversations and doing everything we need to do.”

It was hardly the most ringing of endorsements.

Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau - REUTERS
Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau - REUTERS
'No scar tissue'

Meanwhile, another American player – Tony Finau – told reporters that he sees the six rookies in this USA team as a chance to change the European-dominated pattern of the Ryder Cup.

“Hopefully we change the mould here moving forward,” said Finau. “Not just this Ryder Cup but many Ryder Cups to come.

“We have a whole new team. We have a team with no scar tissue. I see a change in culture, I see a change in American teams. Hopefully the culture of us not getting the job done in The Ryder Cup in the last handful changes this week.”

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source https://sports.yahoo.com/ryder-cup-2021-live-scores-083019670.html?src=rss

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