Up next: Ryder Cup heads to Italy for the first time in 2023

Italy’s presence in the event will grow in 2023 when Marco Simone Golf & Country Club plays host.

Italy has made its impactful footprint on the Ryder Cup through the years.

Costantino Rocca took down Tiger Woods in singles in 1997, and the country never had a prouder moment in the event than in 2018, when Francesco Molinari became the first player from Europe to post a perfect 5-0 record in a rousing victory over the United States in Paris.

Italy’s presence in the event will grow in 2023 when it plays host to the Ryder Cup at newly revitalized Marco Simone Golf & Country Club, built only 10 miles outside the city of Rome. It will be the first time the Ryder Cup has been staged in Italy.

The course has undergone an extensive redesign by European Golf Design, performed in cooperation with course architect Tom Fazio II, whose father, Jim Fazio, was the course’s original designer. Marco Simone will become only the third venue in Continental Europe to play host to the historic Ryder Cup matches, joining Valderrama in Sotogrande, Spain (1997), and Le Golf National in Paris (2018). Marco Simone was originally scheduled to host in 2022, but the schedule moved back when the 2020 Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits was shifted to 2021.

Work on the golf course at Marco Simone, aimed to better capture the drama of match play, began in 2018 and was completed in the spring of 2021. The layout will feature some exciting risk/reward decisions for players in a match-play setting, and will give spectators great views not only of the action on the course but of such historic Italian landmarks as St. Peter’s Basilica and the Castle of Marco Simone.

Marco Simone Golf & Country Club
Marco Simone Golf & Country Club outside Rome, Italy, will be the host site for the 2023 Ryder Cup. Photo by Marco Simone Golf & Country Club

“The assignment of the Ryder Cup to Italy is a source of pride for the entire national sports movement,” said Franco Chimenti, president of the Federazione Italiana Golf. “The incredible setting of Rome will enhance the event, making it unique. The project is what we always imagined, and above all what those who believed in this project imagined.”

The finish at Marco Simone should be exciting for matches that go the distance. The 16th hole can be set up as a drivable par 4, protected by water on the right and a creek that runs across the throat to the green. The 17th is a mid-length par-3 hole of about 180 yards that will yield birdies to great tee shots. The finishing hole is a long par 5 with water down the left side next to the putting surface and a sloping green complex.

Gian Paolo Montali, general director of the Ryder Cup 2023 Project, said those who knew the course from when it played host to the Italian Open in 1994 will find a venue that is “nothing like before.” Said Montali, “The Ryder Cup will be something else. In the beginning, we thought about a light restyling of the course, but it was completely redesigned with eco-sustainability in mind and the benefits of the work will also be enjoyed after the 2023 Ryder Cup.”

According to the European Tour, the Ryder Cup at Le Golf National in Paris attracted a record crowd for a Ryder Cup in Europe, with more than 270,000 fans in attendance. The event boosted the economy in France by an estimated 235 million Euros (roughly $275 million U.S.).

Marco Simone Golf & Country Club
Marco Simone Golf & Country Club outside Rome, Italy, will be the host site for the 2023 Ryder Cup. Photo by Marco Simone Golf & Country Club

The 2025 Ryder Cup is scheduled to be played at Bethpage Black on Long Island, New York, which has been host to two U.S. Opens (2002, 2009), a PGA Championship and twice was home course for The Barclays, a PGA Tour event.

The 2027 Ryder Cup will visit Ireland for a second time, played at The Golf Course at Adare Manor in County Limerick. Adare Manor which opened in 1995, staged both the 2007 and 2008 Irish Opens. The Ryder Cup made its first foray into Ireland in 2006, with the Europeans soundly defeating the U.S. side at the Arnold Palmer-designed K Club in County Kildare.

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Ryder Cup: European newspapers react to the United States 19-9 victory

Check out what some European writers had to say about the weekend at Whistling Straits.

Gloating is not endearing, but after suffering through decades of watching my beloved Chicago Cubs lose, after they finally won a World Series in 2016, I’ll admit that I spent a while reading articles written by Cleveland writers and pundits. I did the same thing after Syracuse won the 2003 National Championship in basketball.

Perusing what columnists and reporters say about your team after it wins a title is a guilty pleasure, but the chance only comes around once a century for Cub fans, and Syracuse has only won one title in my 50-year lifetime, so I don’t get the chance to gloat very often.

It had not been 108 years since the United States won a Ryder Cup. Five years ago, the team sprayed champagne all over Hazeltine National after defeating Europe 17-11, but Europe has dominated this event for the last few decades.

So Sunday evening, I couldn’t help myself. I started looking to see what the European press was saying about the Americans’ win, European team captain Padraig Harrington’s decisions and the scene at Whistling Straits.

Here are some of the columns and articles American golf fans might enjoy. Just remember, in two years the Ryder Cup goes to Rome, Italy, and the United States has not won a Ryder Cup in Europe since 1993, four years before Collin Morikawa was born.

Ryder Cup postmortem: How the U.S. built a juggernaut

The U.S. welcomed its Ryder Cup rookies, and they didn’t disappoint in dispatching a more experienced European squad.

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HAVEN, Wisc. – Winning cures everything.

Team USA dominated the 43rd Ryder Cup like never before, winning 19-9. Call it the Whipping at Whistling Straits.

U.S. Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker, a Wisconsin native, can drink Spotted Cow free for life, or until the cows come home, after this resounding victory in America’s heartland. The only thing Stricker seemingly did wrong all week was admit to being a Chicago Bears fan during his speech at the opening ceremony.

America’s youth won out over Europe’s experience. The six U.S. Ryder Cup rookies combined to go 14-4-3.

“It seems like the younger they are, the better they play,” said U.S. assistant captain Davis Love III.

“They didn’t play like they were rookies,” said Dustin Johnson, the team’s veteran presence at age 37, who won a team-best five matches. “They stepped up to the plate and they all wanted it. And like Xander and all of us have all said all week, the one thing we all have in common is we all hate to lose. And so that’s how we came together, and we all played like it.”

Did they ever. It was the first time in 44 years that the U.S didn’t lose any of the five sessions. On Sunday the Americans obeyed the text message of Tiger Woods, who told them to “step on their necks.”

Ryder Cup 2021
Team USA player Patrick Cantlay reacts on the sixth green during Day 3 singles for the 43rd Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits. (Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports)

Patrick Cantlay took it to heart. “I woke up this morning and I was trying to tell the guys, ‘Let’s get to 20 points,’ because this is going to be the next era of Ryder Cup team for the U.S. side,” he said. “I want to send a message. Everyone has that killer instinct, and we are going to bring that to future Cups.”

The U.S victory was born in arguably the team’s lowest moment, when it was blown out in Scotland in 2014. Phil Mickelson publicly aired the team’s dirty laundry during its media session following the defeat and hung out U.S. captain Tom Watson to dry. But something good came from that day – a new beginning and commitment to change the culture.

“They realized they had to do something different,” Love said. “The PGA said, We’ll spend money on stats guys. We’ll spend money on NetJets to fly you guys in if you want to play practice rounds. … If we go in there and say this week we saw this and we need this for next time, we’re gonna get it. The Phil thing was the boiling-over point. It had been simmering for a while. Phil was the only one with enough nerve to say it. Now, we could have said that in the debriefing but it would not have been as impactful.”

The U.S. won in 2016, but the loss in Paris two years later meant the pressure was on America to hold serve. Otherwise it might’ve been back to the drawing board, given the Euros had won four of five meetings and nine of the last 12.

Ryder Cup 2021
Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka smile during the opening ceremony for the 43rd Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in Haven, Wisconsin. (Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

Talent and depth beat potential dysfunction. The American team’s powerhouse lineup included eight of the top 10 players in the world, the FedEx Cup champion and an Olympic gold medalist. Despite concerns the ongoing beef between Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka would lead to built-in social distancing, the Americans were installed as a 2-to-1 betting favorite and made it sound as if instead of beating each others’ brains out playing pingpong in their team room, they sat around holding hands and singing Kumbaya.

“Even though we are competitors, we can all be friends and have unity,” DeChambeau said.

COVID-19 travel restrictions also meant the U.S. had an unprecedented home-field advantage, turning Whistling Straits into a hostile environment that one BBC Live commentator described as a “Cauldron of hate.” Whistling Straits, with its wide fairways and lack of rough, was a perfect venue for the Team USA bashers who dominated the par 5s.

“It seems the way the Ryder Cup is going, the home team certainly has an advantage every time that we play this thing. That was apparent in Paris a couple years ago. I think it was pretty apparent this week, as well,” said Europe’s Rory McIlroy, who went 1-3-0 at Whistling Straits. “You go back to Hazeltine, same sort of thing. This is the pattern that we are on.”

Europe captain Padraig Harrington hamstrung his team by limiting his captain’s choices to three compared to Stricker’s six. He could’ve played Shane Lowry and Tommy Fleetwood more, and he was done in by getting nothing out of McIlroy and Ian Poulter, the team’s talisman, until it was too late. But Harrington said there’s no need for a longer postmortem or to revamp the team’s qualification system.

“In general it’s been working. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” he said. “The core of the European team is strong and we don’t have to change it.”

Indeed, Europe has a strong foundation with World No. 1 Jon Rahm, McIlroy and rookie Viktor Hovland, who should only get better in the years to come.

“The heart of this team will be here for a few more years for sure,” Harrington said. “They haven’t got to their peaks yet, so we should see some strength going forward.”

Ryder Cup 2021
Team Europe player Viktor Hovland lines up a putt on the fourth green during Day 2 foursomes for the 43rd Ryder Cup golf competition at Whistling Straits. (Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports)

But while the U.S. made a seamless transition to a younger nucleus that is built for the next decade, Europe hoped for heroics one more time from its winning core. But that tank was empty – those players went 5-9 over three days and it could’ve been worse if not for Sergio Garcia, who earned three points alongside Rahm. This was a statement win for Team USA, and not to diminish its achievement, you’re supposed to win at home. The real validation of the Americans’ new formula for success is to win on the road for the first time since 1993 when the 44th Cup is held in Rome at Marco Simone Golf Club in 2023. When asked if that’s the next step, Xander Schauffele, one of America’s impressive rookies, balked at looking ahead.

“I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but we are just going to enjoy now,” he said. “You’re thinking way too far ahead of us, for me, personally, so we’re going to enjoy this one for now and collect ourselves shortly after.”

But Jordan Spieth, a two-time loser overseas in 2014 and 2018, compared the romp to a Presidents Cup and already, to borrow a phrase from New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, was on to Italy.

“I think that this is unfinished business,” he said. “I think it was a massive stepping stone for this team and the group that we have here that have really known each other since almost back to grade school to continue to try to work hard to be on these teams to go over there.

“It’s one thing to win it over here and it is a lot easier to do so, and it is harder to win over there. If we play like we did this week, the score will look the same over there in a couple years, and that’s what we’re here for.”

Them some fightin’ words. The U.S. ushered in a new generation this week; Europe was outplayed and outputted, but it has two years to find replacements for its old guard – players along the lines of Bob McIntyre, Guido Migliozzi, Thomas Pieters and Sam Horsfield will have something to say about that. Rome is officially on the clock and the next Ryder Cup can’t come soon enough.

O Captain! my Captain: Who’s next in line to lead U.S. and European Ryder Cup teams in 2023? It’s never too early to discuss.

It’s never too early to begin speculating on who will assume the top job and lead Team USA and Europe at the 44th Ryder Cup in Rome.

HAVEN, Wisc. – O, Captain! my captain!

Who’s on tap to take the baton and lead the respective 12-man sides in 2023 in Rome at Marco Simone Golf Club?

NBC’s Paul Azinger, who captained the victorious U.S. side in 2008, suggested a return engagement for America’s wining captain after a dominant 19-9 win at Whistling Straits.

 “If the PGA of America is serious about winning Ryder Cups, they might want to consider giving Steve Stricker another shot at this,” he said.

During the winning team’s press conference, Stricker was asked if he would accept the task. His team members already have signed off.

“100 percent,” said Dustin Johnson, who went 5-0 in Wisconsin.

“That’a a yes from us. To be fair, in 2017 it was a very similar position as far as the dominance goes. Strick has a pretty good record,” said Jordan Spieth, referring to Stricker’s turn as U.S. Presidents Cup captain and leading the Americans to a 19-11 victory at Liberty National.

I think Presidents Cup was a record,” Tony Finau said. (It was the most lopsided result since the biennial competition switched to 30 total points).

But Stricker was quick to shoot down the prospect of a second tour of duty. “I don’t think it’s going to happen. It’s mapped out and there’s guys in positions to be the next captains,” he said. “It was an unbelievable experience, don’t get me wrong; I’m glad it’s over.”

Later, when the topic was raised again, he added, “I told my wife at the start of the week, ‘Can you believe Davis Love did two of these things?’ ”

U.S. assistant captain Zach Johnson greets European captain Padraig Harrington on the first tee at Whistling Straits. (Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports)

The leading candidate to lead the U.S. side in 2023 is Zach Johnson, who served as an assistant captain again this year and has been groomed for the role. Phil Mickelson is considered a shoo-in for the 2025 Cup at Bethpage Black. Tiger Woods, who led the Americans to victory at the Presidents Cup in 2019, should have his pick of the litter down the road.

What of the Europeans? Englishman Lee Westwood, who tied Nick Faldo by playing in his 11th Ryder Cup, already has raised his hand for the job of replacing Padraig Harrington.

“I’m assuming I’ll get 3-4 months to think about,” Westwood said Sunday evening. “People keep coming up and saying you’re going to be the captain in Rome. I’d prefer to play. I don’t want to let go yet. But father time is not kind.”

Ian Poulter is presumed to be in line for 2025, and Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell could get his home game at Adare Manor in 2027 much like Stricker getting to play host in his native Wisconsin.

“It’s a massive honor and something I want to do,” Westwood said. “Why wouldn’t you?”

Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau shake hands, hug after winning Ryder Cup

Brooks and Bryson shared a moment after the American win.

The Golf Channel cameras were ready for when the moment happened.

As members of the U.S. Ryder Cup team were gathering in celebration of defeating the Europeans, Brooks Koepka made his way through his teammates and approached Bryson DeChambeau. The two shook hands and then they hugged it out.

It was quick but it a genuine moment between the two.

Each golfer did his part to help the Americans reclaim the Cup.

DeChambeau defeated Sergio Garcia 3 and 2 in Sunday singles to go 2-0-1 during the week. Koepka took down Bernd Wiesberger 2 and 1 in singles and posted a 2-2-1 mark this week. Now, they’re members of a winning Ryder Cup team.

“(The team) had a mission this week and you could tell, they played great and they came together. I mean, Brooks and Bryson wanted to play together; that’s how much it came together,” captain Steve Stricker said. “That shows a lot about this whole team.”

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U.S. batters its European counterparts to win 43rd Ryder Cup

With youth being served, the U.S. was 12 Strong and all in for one and all.

HAVEN, Wis. – Team USA became a united red, white and blue entity when captain Steve Stricker gathered his troops for a two-day reconnaissance voyage at Whistling Straits along the shores of Lake Michigan a week ahead of the 43rd edition of the Ryder Cup.

With all but the rehabbing Brooks Koepka on hand, the players, caddies and vice captains soaked in the surroundings, bought in on the mission statement, gathered nuggets about playing the rugged course, conversed on strategy, formed partnerships, and connected on the course and over many courses during dinners.

Upon arrival for Ryder Cup week, and with Koepka fitting right in, the Americans followed the untheatrical, positive leadership of Stricker and were a capable, comfortable, combative and confident bunch. Despite six players making their debut in the biennial pressure cooker against Europe, and with youth being served, the U.S. was 12 Strong and all in for one and all.
And then the Americans became hostile hosts.

RYDER CUP: Breakdown of the Sunday singles matches

From the opening tee shot on Sunday, the U.S., which had lost five of the last six matches and was coming off a pasting in Paris in 2018, battered its counterparts and secured possession of the 4-pound, 17-inch tall gold cup with seven matches to play. Two-time major champion Collin Morikawa provided the clinching point for the U.S. with his tie against Viktor Hovland.
The score at that point as 14½-6½. After two decades of being pummeled by Europe, the U.S. has now won two of the last three matches.

Team USA’s Patrick Cantlay reacts to his putt on the third hole during a singles match at the Ryder Cup at the Whistling Straits in Haven, Wisconsin. Photo by Ashley Landis/Associated Press

After surging out to a hefty 6-2 lead on Friday, the U.S. was relentless and ruthless and went up 9-3 Saturday morning and took a substantial 11-5 advantage into Sunday singles action. That was the largest lead held by the U.S. going into the final day since all of Europe joined the Ryder Cup in 1979.

The dominance was so thorough that every American won at least one point during the first two days while six of Europe’s charges won nothing. Only the Spanish Armada of Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia, who were a combined 6-0-1 in Foursomes and Four-Ball, kept Europe afloat, but with scant hope.
Heading into Sunday singles, the U.S. needed just 3½ of the 12 points available for victory. The lineup showed that none of the U.S. players in the first six matches had tasted defeat the first two days.

And the victory march started early.

After Rory McIlroy put blue on the board with his win against gold medalist Xander Schauffele in the leadoff match, the Americans unleashed a torrent of superiority.

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Rookie Scottie Scheffler put the first red flag on the board by taking down Rahm, who was undefeated the first two days. He won the first four holes and never trailed en route to a 4-and-3 win.

Rookie Patrick Cantlay, the reigning FedEx Cup champion, put the second red flag on the board with a convincing 4-and-2 win against Shane Lowry. Red flag No. 3 came from the efforts of Bryson DeChambeau, who was animated throughout the week and won the large galleries over with his power and interaction. DeChambeau drove the first green at the par-4 first, made the eagle and went on to defeat Garcia, the all-time points leader in Ryder Cup history, 3 and 2.

Morikawa got the clinching half-point. A few minutes later, four-time major champion Brooks Koepka added another point with a 2-and-1 win against Bernd Wiesberger.

“This is going to be the next era of the Ryder Cup team for the U.S. side,” said Cantlay, referencing the average age of 29 of the team. “We have a lot of young guys and I think they are going to be on teams for a long time. We sent out rookies in four out of the first five matches. That’s unheard of and those guys are performing. Everybody gets along. The atmosphere is light, but I know everyone has that killer instinct and we are going to bring that to future Cups.”

European captain Padraig Harrington just didn’t have the horses to make hay in America’s Dairyland. Much of the old guard from the Old Country came up flat, as Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Paul Casey didn’t win a point the first two days.

And Europe’s heart and soul, McIlroy, lost his first three matches and didn’t make a birdie in his last 30 holes played in Four-Ball (he did make one eagle). While he won his singles match against Xander Schauffele, McIlroy fought through tears after the win, the pain of the team’s imminent defeat evident.

“I love being a part of this. I love this team and I love my teammates so much,” McIlroy said. “I should have done more for the team. I’m glad I put a point on the board, but I wish I could have done more. I can’t wait to get another crack at this.”

The next Ryder Cup is in 2023 near Rome. The U.S., meanwhile, had a stable of thoroughbreds here in farm country. The Americans boasted a roster featuring eight of the top 10 players and all 12 being in the top 21 in the world.

They played to their ranking.

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An emotional Rory McIlroy tearfully gets through post-match interview at Ryder Cup

Rory McIlroy cares about the Ryder Cup and if you ever doubted that, doubt no more.

Rory McIlroy cares about the Ryder Cup and if you ever doubted that, doubt no more.

McIlroy was first off in Sunday singles at Whistling Straits in his match against Xander Schauffele. McIlroy hadn’t earned a point for Europe all week but did so on Sunday with a 3-and-2 win over the Olympic gold medal winner.

Along the way, McIlroy let out a loud roar with a birdie putt on the 14th hole. It was the final point he would need. The two halved 15 and 16, where McIlroy closed it out.

After his match, he got very emotional talking to Sky Sports as well as Golf Channel.

“I love being a part of this. I love this team and I love my teammates so much,” McIlroy said as he fought back tears. “I should have done more for the team. I’m glad I put a point on the board, but I wish I could have done more. I can’t wait to get another crack at this.”

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Why Steve Stricker is OK with (sitting players) Justin Thomas and Daniel Berger chugging beers on the first tee Saturday: ‘I thought it was great.’

“It’s something that’s kind of a Wisconsin tradition, I guess,” said the U.S. skipper.

HAVEN, Wis. — Justin Thomas and Daniel Berger may have started the celebration prematurely when the two U.S. Ryder Cuppers, who were sitting out Saturday’s afternoon Four-Ball session, chugged beers on the first tee at Whistling Straits.

This stunt whipped the crowd into a frenzy. But what did U.S. Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker think of it? While it probably took them out of consideration for the Nicklaus-Jacklin Sportsmanship Award, Stricker didn’t seem too concerned that it could provide a jolt of much-needed energy to the European side.

“I was in trying to grab some lunch, but you know, to be quite frank with you, it looks like they are having a good time and enjoying the experience,” Stricker said after the session. “We get ridiculed for being too tight and all that, and then we do something like that where it looks like our team is together and having a good time and trying to get with the crowd. I thought it was great. It’s kind of a Milwaukee Bucks thing where, if I’m not mistaken, I’ve seen ‘Chug a Beer’ on the JumboTron at the Milwaukee Bucks games, and it’s something that’s kind of a Wisconsin tradition, I guess, whether it’s good or bad. It just looks like they are having a good time.”

Indeed, it did, especially with Thomas spiking his beer can like this wasn’t his first rodeo. Fans begged for vice captains Fred Couples and Phil Mickelson to do the same to no avail.

Ryder Cup: Updates | Scores | How to watch | Format, scoring explained

Team USA leads Europe 11-5 heading into Sunday’s 12 singles matches. It’s a margin that has never before been overcome and given the party atmosphere at the first tee on Saturday, there could be quite the celebration at the U.S. team hotel on Sunday if the Americans go on to claim the Cup.

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Ryder Cup: Golfweek predicts the Saturday morning Foursome matches

Steve DiMeglio and Adam Schupak make their picks for the Saturday morning matches.

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The American squad has its biggest lead after one day at the Ryder Cup since 1979.

Their European counterparts will need to get moving on Saturday to cut into the 6-2 deficit enjoyed by the home team at Whistling Straits.

The heart of Team Europe, Rory McIlroy, will not be playing Saturday morning as captain Padraig Harrington has benched one of his main players. The other Euros not playing in the Foursomes are Tommy Fleetwood, Shane Lowry and Ian Poulter.

Not playing early for the U.S. will be Bryson DeChambeau, Scottie Scheffler, Harris English and Tony Finau.

Saturday morning Foursomes

8:05 a.m.

Brooks Koepka, Daniel Berger (USA) vs. Jon Rahm, Sergio Garcia (EUR)

Steve DiMeglio: A sense of urgency has set in for Europe and this leadoff match could prove vital. And Europe has two guns ready to deliver as Rahm and Garcia will move to 2-0 this week with the win.

Adam Schupak: John Rahm has been the one bright spot for Team Europe, earning 1½ points on Friday. Garcia is the king of Foursomes and paired with Rahm, they were shades of the old Seve-Ollie Spanish Armada. They will earn their team a full point.

8:21 a.m.

Dustin Johnson, Collin Morikawa (USA) vs. Paul Casey, Tyrrell Hatton (EUR)

Steve DiMeglio: A liked a lot of Hatton’s action Friday afternoon and Casey can’t continue his less-than-stellar play, but Johnson and Morikawa will move to 2-0 this week with another win.

Adam Schupak: I love that Johnson-Morikawa are paired together in foursomes. This team rolled to an easy victory on Friday morning and I expect them to do so again, this time against the Englishmen.

Ryder Cup: Scores | Updates | Yardage book | How to watch

8:37 a.m.

Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth (USA) vs. Viktor Hovland, Bernd Wiesberger (EUR)

Steve DiMeglio: Europe sends out two rookies and they will provide a surprising win as Hovland will come up big.

Adam Schupak: Spieth sat out the afternoon session and should be well-rested while Thomas seemed to find his stride late in his Four-Ball match. The American duo is just too tough with a home crowd pushing them on for a pair of rookies.

8:53 a.m.

Xander Schauffele, Patrick Cantlay (USA) vs. Lee Westwood, Matt Fitzpatrick (EUR)

Steve DiMeglio: Cantlay and Schauffele were solid in Australia and will remain undefeated in Wisconsin. They are just playing too well and the U.S. will lead 8-4 after the third session.

Adam Schupak: I picked against Cantlay-Schauffele on Friday morning and I’m not making that mistake twice. These guys are so comfortable playing together and I’m surprised Harrington sent Westwood back out, who struggled in his one session. I think the U.S. builds on its lead.

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Rory McIlroy benched, Europe in trouble as U.S. holds largest lead after first day since 1979

Euro captain Padraig Harrington is sitting one of his main players for the early Saturday matches.

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HAVEN, Wis. – Rory McIlroy has been benched.

The heart of Team Europe will not be playing in Saturday morning’s Foursomes session at Whistling Straits, with captain Padraig Harrington sitting one of his main players who was far from his best on Friday.

For the first time in his Ryder Cup career – which started in 2010 – McIlroy lost two matches on the same day. And after playing in every session since 2010 (26 in all), he will sit for the first time in his Ryder Cup days.

McIlroy and Ian Poulter lost the first five holes and were whipped, 5 and 3, in morning Foursomes by Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele.

In afternoon Four-Ball, he and Shane Lowry were trounced, 4 and 3, by Tony Finau and Harris English.

Ryder Cup: Scores | Updates | Yardage book | How to watch

McIlroy has won just two points in his last eight matches in the Ryder Cup.

With one of its big guns misfiring, Europe needs to regroup and regroup quickly in the 43rd Ryder Cup as the U.S., which has lost four of the last five matches, took a commanding 6-2 lead, the largest lead by the USA after the first day since all of Europe joined the Ryder Cup in 1979.

Europe won just one of the eight matches and halved two others. That’s it.

“It wasn’t a good start, but there’s still a lot to play for,” Harrington said. “Coming out tomorrow, we need a big day.”

Harrington spoke to the media before the pairings were released, so no one knows how tough it was for him to sit McIlroy.

“We can come back from 6-2,” McIlroy said after losing in the afternoon.

The U.S. will have a say in that matter, obviously.

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Captain Steve Stricker’s message to his team from the get-go was to out-prepare their European counterparts. But you wonder if Stricker was prepared for this. Riding a boisterous partisan crowd and superb play from all 12 of his charges, the U.S. led, 3-1, after morning Foursomes in light wind and calm temperatures and then won two matches in the afternoon Four-Ball and halved the other two matches when British Open weather arrived and flags started whipping and temperatures started dropping.

Dustin Johnson, for the first time in his Ryder Cup career, won two matches on the same day. As did Xander Schauffele. Patrick Cantlay won one and halved another.

Now Stricker will work to make sure his team doesn’t become complacent.

“My message to the guys before I left is tomorrow is a new day,” Stricker said. “Let’s just go out tomorrow and try to win that first session again in the morning and pretend today never happened, and let’s keep our foot down and continue to play the golf that we know we can play.

“These guys realize what’s happened in the past and not to take anything for granted, and this was just the first day.”

“This is a great start, but the job’s not over,” said Bryson DeChambeau, who teamed with Scottie Scheffler to tie Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton in the afternoon Four-Balls. “We have two more days. A lot more golf. And we cannot lose our mindset to win.”

Saturday morning Foursomes

8:05 a.m.

Brooks Koepka, Daniel Berger (USA) vs. Jon Rahm, Sergio Garcia (EUR)

8:21 a.m.

Dustin Johnson, Collin Morikawa (USA) vs. Paul Casey, Tyrrell Hatton (EUR)

8:37 a.m.

Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth (USA) vs. Viktor Hovland, Bernd Wiesberger (EUR)

8:53 a.m.

Xander Schauffele, Patrick Cantlay (USA) vs. Lee Westwood, Matt Fitzpatrick (EUR)

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