Ryder Cup 2018: Saturday morning four-ball pairings, no changes for USA
After the Friday sessions at the 2018 Ryder Cup, Team USA trails the Europeans 5-3; that means the United States needs 11 more points to retain the Ryder Cup, while the Europeans need 9.5 to earn it back.
The U.S. squad jumped out to an early 3-1 lead after the fourballs (best ball) — the only loss coming from the Tiger Woods/Patrick Reed pairing — but the team proceeded to get swept in the (alternate shot) sessions. The United States has been historically inferior to the Europeans in that format, but losing 4-0 in the four-ball session was a first in Ryder Cup history.
Looking forward to Saturday, it was interesting to see the adjustments that both teams would make in the morning fourballs matches. Would U.S. Captain Jim Furyk do anything different in fourballs after winning 3-1? Or would adjustments be reserved for the afternoon foursomes matches? And on the flipside, how would Euro Captain Thomas Bjorn respond?
We now have answers to the morning session matchups (remember 8:10 Paris time is 2:10 a.m. eastern time):
As a reminder, here were the Friday morning fourballs matchups, after which Team USA took a 3-1 lead.
So the only difference for the United States is that Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth are now the anchor group, teeing off last, and Tiger/Reed have switched into the second-to-last group, although Reed and Tiger will still go up against what proved to be a dangerous pairing in Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari.
The European side, on the other hand, have made a number of changes. Sergio Garcia, coming off a one-sided 5&4 foursomes victory against and Bryson DeChambeau Friday afternoon alongside Alex Noren, will team up with Rory McIlroy, who in his morning fourballs match on Friday. Justin Rose was moved to the bench (after going 1-1 on Friday), and Ian Poulter will take his place alongside Jon Rahm. Thorbjorn Olesen will also sit the morning session out.
Certainly, the United States needs to have a dominate morning fourballs session to make it a match. If the 2-point European lead stretches at all going into the afternoon foursomes matches, the U.S. could be in trouble.
What do you think about the adjustments, or lack thereof, by Captain Furyk? Do we still like the Tiger Woods-Patrick Reed pairing despite losing 2&1 in the same format on Friday? What changes would you like to see in the afternoon foursomes pairings by Furyk?