CHASKA, Minn. -- Are you not entertained?
Saturday morning produced more spectacular shots, full-throated roars and one stunning reversal. When the dust settled, Europe took the session 2-1-1 to cut the U.S. lead to one, 6 ½-5 ½. Here’s what we learned:
Rory McIlroy and Thomas Pieters are Europe’s new dream team. On Friday morning, Rickie Fowler and Phil Mickelson were able to overcome several wild tee shots to claw out a win over McIlroy and Andy Sullivan. But Saturday McIlroy teamed with rookie Thomas Pieters, rekindling a successful pairing from Friday afternoon, and blitzed the U.S. 4 and 2 for McIlroy’s first win head-to-head over Mickelson in a team event (1-3). Pieters, showing more pluck with each passing match, pulled out Patrick Reed’s “shush-the-crowd” move on the first hole after burying a birdie on top of Fowler. Later, there was even more fire from the European duo, like when Pieters dropped a birdie on 15.
Brooks Koepka and Brandt Snedeker may have earned the most important point so far. Their match with Henrik Stenson and Matt Fitzpatrick was all square through 12 holes, but the Americans reeled off three straight birdies to take a full point. Here’s Koepka’s birdie on 15, which put the U.S. 2 up and sent the crowd into a frenzy:
Justin Rose can win without Henrik Stenson. The Olympic gold medalist teamed well with fellow Englishman Chris Wood. It was Wood’s first action of the Cup, but he played steadily most of the morning and hit the decisive lag putt on 18 to seal a 1-up win over Jimmy Walker and Zach Johnson. Rose will re-unite with Stenson in the final match Saturday afternoon.
The Spanish Armada rises. The anchor match delivered the best drama of the morning. America’s top tandem of Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth came out of the box with three straight birdies and a chip-in from Reed on 5:
But after falling 4 down through 12, the Spaniards fought back. Sergio made putts…
Cabrera Bello dropped a bloodless birdie on 17 to square the match …
And they earned a half point after Reed and Garcia made par putts inside 5 feet that would given most of us the dry heaves. Reed and Spieth will head out again Saturday afternoon to face Rose and Stenson – their third clash of the week.
There's nothing like the Ryder Cup. Just watch and enjoy.