CHASKA, Minn. – Both captains led off with their aces, looking to gain momentum at the Ryder Cup and set the tone for the rest of the week. Davis Love III didn’t realize how well that plan would work for the U.S. team.
Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed rolled to an early lead against Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose, going 3 up with a birdie at the seventh hole, and cruised to a 3-and-2 victory.
Spieth and Reed, who teamed to win 2 1/2 points in 2014, were 3 under par through 16 holes and halted a stellar run for Stenson and Rose that began two years ago when the duo went undefeated as a team.
“I wouldn’t say it’s simple. We had a great game plan coming in and stuck with it. We hit a lot of greens, in alternate shot you have to do that,” Reed said.
The expected momentum came quickly for the U.S. side, with Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar rolling over Lee Westwood and Thomas Pieter, 5 and 4, and Jimmy Walker and Zach Johnson rallying to beat Sergio Garcia and Martin Kaymer, 4 and 2.
The morning’s most contested match, however, also went the Americans' way, with Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler twice coming back from 2 down to beat Rory McIlroy and Andy Sullivan, 1 up.
“It’s a match that I felt more pressure than I ever have in the Ryder Cup because of all the build up,” Mickelson said. “He got the best out of me. This is a really special moment.”
It was the first time the U.S. has swept a foursome session since 1975, and a dramatic turn around from what happened to the U.S. team in the alternate shot format two years ago, when the Americans won just one out of a possible eight points.
“They’ve come together over the last couple of weeks. It’s been an emotional trip for this team with the way the picks went down and the passing of Arnold [Palmer],” Love said. “It’s a good start but there’s a long way to go.”