GLENEAGLES, Scotland – Both captains tinkered with their lineups for Saturday’s fourball session, but it was Tom Watson who made the most dramatic changes in hopes of changing America’s Ryder Cup fortunes.
Watson will send Bubba Watson and Matt Kuchar out in the morning’s first match. They will play Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson, who were undefeated on Day 1 to help lift Europe to a 5-3 advantage. Watson and Kuchar, however, never played together during this week’s practice rounds.
European captain Paul McGinley answered by splitting up Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia, who went 0-1-1 on Friday, and sending the world No. 1 out with Ian Poulter, who was not his normal magical self in a 5-and-4 fourball loss on Friday. They will play Jimmy Walker and Rickie Fowler, who tied both of their opening-day matches.
“Just because you go out and you lose a match in the Ryder Cup doesn't mean you're a bad partnership,” McGinley said of the McIlroy-Garcia split. “You're playing at the very, very elite level here in professional sport in our game of golf, and sometimes you can go out and it just doesn't click.”
Lee Westwood and Jamie Donaldson will remain together after the duo’s foursomes victory on Friday and will play Jim Furyk and Hunter Mahan; Thomas Bjorn and Martin Kaymer will play U.S. rookie phenoms Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed in the morning’s third game.
“They are tired,” Watson said. “Give them a break in the morning, get their legs back, and there's a good chance they'll go in the afternoon in some way, shape or form. They may not go together, but they will go in the afternoon.”
Zach Johnson and Webb Simpson will join Mickelson and Bradley on the bench Saturday morning, while Stephen Gallacher, Victor Dubuisson, Garcia and Graeme McDowell will not play the last fourball session for Europe.