GLENEAGLES, Scotland – Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed did what Michael Jordan couldn’t.
The American Ryder Cup rookies took down European juggernaut Ian Poulter.
Spieth and Reed routed Europe’s Poulter and Stephen Gallacher, 5 and 4, in Friday’s morning fourballs. They managed to neutralize Europe’s most dominant Ryder Cupper while also keeping hometown favorite Gallacher from rallying the Scottish fans at Gleneagles.
Spieth and Reed ended Poulter’s seven-match winning streak, handing Poulter just his second loss in his last 13 Ryder Cup matches.
At Medinah two years ago, NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan tried to take Poulter out of his game in Saturday fourballs, poking a finger in Poulter’s chest coming off a green and wagging a finger at him in a bid to rattle Poulter. As an honorary member of that American team, Jordan couldn’t do it. In fact, he only seemed to inspire Poulter in a run of five consecutive birdies to close out a victory.
Poulter, who hasn't shown his best form all year, never got going at Gleneagles. He missed a 3-footer for par to lose the first hole and didn't make a birdie all morning. Gallacher looked nervous playing in front of his fellow countrymen. He hit his approach into a hazard at the first hole and offered Poulter little help after a birdie at the second hole, spraying too many shots into trouble.
“Home fans are out there giving us great support,” Poulter said. “We couldn't manage to get it done today, so it's a shame.
Spieth and Reed combined to make six birdies, four from Reed.
“It feels incredible,” Spieth said. “It was very quiet around our group today. It was a goal we had. It was nice to have a partner that was making everything he looks at.”
U.S. captain Tom Watson probably did not come to Gleneagles expecting to pair the rookies, Spieth said.
“We kind of convinced the captain that we were a great best-ball team,” Spieth said. “That was our strong format. We played extremely well in alternate shot as well. It means a lot that he has that trust in us. Hopefully he puts us out this afternoon in another one.”
For the record, Captain Watson opted to sit Spieth and Reed in the afternoon foursomes. Poulter and Gallacher are sitting, too.