After a nightmarish Day One in Rome, can the Americans respond on Saturday at the Ryder Cup?
Two years on from the United States handing Team Europe a record-equalling defeat in the Ryder Cup, the men in the blue and gold will attempt to return the favor.
The Europeans are well on track to hand out their own 19-9 defeat or even worse if the U.S. fails to respond over the next 48-plus hours or so. An opening sweep of the Foursomes session (Alternate Shot) on Friday morning at Marco Simone followed by three separate stunning comebacks in the afternoon session will have left Zach Johnson and company feeling shell-shocked.
Following a historic beatdown at the hands of the Europeans where Team USA failed to even win a single match for the first time in Ryder Cup history, the men representing the Stars and Stripes have a massive mountain to climb to even make things interesting heading into Sunday’s singles session.
Combine all of that with a reported ‘unknown illness’ spreading through the U.S. camp and things could be about to go from shockingly bad to even worse for Captain Zach Johnson and troops.
Data Golf gives the Americans around a 10% chance of retaining the Ryder Cup at this point and if Team USA is to keep alive any hopes of a historic comeback, a fast start on Saturday morning is an absolute must. Here is how we envision the second Foursomes session playing out.
2023 Ryder Cup: Saturday Foursomes Predictions
Match 1 – Mcllroy/Fleetwood vs. Thomas/Spieth
European Captain Luke Donald will send out the same four teams on Saturday who took part in the opening Foursomes session on Friday and after anchoring the group on day one, the team of Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood will attempt to get Europe off to another terrific start.
Facing a five-point deficit, U.S. Team Captain Zach Johnson will send out Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth on Saturday morning. The American duo were left out of Friday’s Foursomes before going out in Best Ball (Four-Balls) in the afternoon where they squandered a late lead to Hovland and Hatton.
Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood took out Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay by a 2&1 margin on Friday morning and McIlroy would go on to win another point for Europe in the afternoon Four-Ball session.
The Americans need a fast start here but it’s hard to envision them denying McIlroy and Fleetwood at this moment in time.
Match 2 – Hovland/Aberg vs. Scheffler/Koepka
Viktor Hovland has looked unstoppable of late and he continues to deliver moments of magic time and time again, on top of all of that, he is having a blast doing it. The Scandinavian tandem comfortably took care of Homa and Harman on Friday ousting the Americans 4&3.
Scottie Scheffler will go out for a third straight session as he and Brooks Koepka look to get the United States on the board with their first match win of the competition. The World No.1, alongside Sam Burns, fell to Rahm and Hatton on Friday in the opening match of the 44th Ryder Cup. Then in the afternoon session, Scheffler and Koepka were denied a win thanks to a moment of brilliance on the 18th green by Jon Rahm.
If the United States is going to make any ground up in this year’s Ryder Cup, the World No.1 and 2023 PGA Champion have to deliver the win here. They do just enough to edge another tight match and give Team USA a small glimmer of hope.
Match 3 – Lowry/Straka vs. Homa/Harman
After sitting out Friday afternoon’s Four-Ball session, Captain Luke Donald will send Shane Lowry and Sepp Straka back out in the Foursomes. The pair took care of Rickie Fowler and Collin Morikawa 2&1 in their first session of this year’s Ryder Cup to earn Team Europe their third point on the way to an opening 4-0 session sweep.
Max Homa and Brian Harman will go back out in the final Foursomes session looking to respond after suffering a lopsided loss to Hovland and Aberg on Friday.
This one appears as though it could go either way and after Sheffler and Koepka deliver the U.S. Team their first win of the Ryder Cup, we’ll side with Homa and Harman to keep the momentum going in the third match of the session.
Match 4 – Rahm/Hatton vs. Cantlay/Schauffele
After the U.S. gets two more points on the board, the final match of the Foursomes will loom large. A loss in this match for the solid duo of Cantlay/Schauffele will send the Americans back to square one, while a win could give them massive momentum heading into the afternoon Four-Ball session.
Rahm and Hatton will anchor Team Europe after being first out on Friday and setting the tone for the home team. The fiery duo will aim to follow up their impressive 4&3 win over Scheffler/Burns with what could prove to be another decisive point when all is said and done.
The dynamic duo of Cantlay/Schauffele went 2-0-0 in Foursomes at the last Ryder Cup and the U.S. Team desperately needs them to deliver once again in this spot after being edged out by a 2&1 margin in their first Foursomes session at Marco Simone on Friday.
Rahm and Hatton are on a roll at this Ryder Cup and Cantlay and X are a formidable force, so who walks away with the crucial point here? The answer, neither, they settle for a split.