USA improves, but still sluggish through 36 in Rio


RIO DE JANEIRO – At this rate the United States may want to consider an Olympic task force to turn America’s fortunes around in Rio.

After a difficult opening day in Rio when just a single U.S. player managed to post a round under par, the Americans enjoyed a relative rally on Friday but they still have an uphill climb on the weekend if they hope to be in contention for a medal on Sunday.

Three of the four Americans posted under-par rounds on Day 2, led by Bubba Watson’s 67. Patrick Reed shot a 69, Matt Kuchar fired a 70 and Rickie Fowler, who struggled to an opening 75, improved with a 71. Still, not one of the Americans were inside the top 10 after Round 2.

“We didn't get off to a great start,” said Reed, who was tied for 22nd at 1 under par. “But if we go out and play some good golf, we can climb that board pretty quickly.”

Watson made the biggest turnaround for the U.S. after a first-round 73 and was tied for 18th at 2 under, eight strokes off the lead. Fowler was 4 over and in 50th place in the field of 60 players.

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Even with two rounds remaining and the dynamic of playing for medals, not necessarily for the victory, added to the equation, Fowler still acknowledged his chances of getting back into contention were slim.

On Thursday evening after the American’s poor start the group didn’t call a team meeting, but there were shades of an internal pep talk.

“Patrick and I tried to kick each other in the butt a little bit to get things turned around,” Fowler said. “Bubba and I hung last night but didn't talk much about golf. I think it doesn't have to be spoken too much. We all know where we're at and what we need to try and do.”