GLENEAGLES, Scotland – Europe’s Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson delivered the equivalent of a lead-off home run.
The European tandem routed the United States' Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson, 5 and 4, Friday in the opening match of the 40th staging of the Ryder Cup.
Watson and Simpson set a dismal early tone for the American team in the fourball format. They were, in essence, shut out. They didn’t win a hole and didn’t make a birdie between them.
Rose and Stenson put the first European blue flag of the day on the scoreboard, with Stenson holing a birdie at the second to give Europe its first lead. They never looked back.
“That’s the job, when you go out first,” Rose said. “That’s the position the captain puts you out first, to go deliver the point.”
It was an ominous start for Simpson, who was mistakenly introduced as Bubba Watson on the first tee and then promptly let everyone know he couldn’t be Bubba, popping up a short first drive that didn’t carry 200 yards.
Notably, when Watson announced he was making Simpson his final captain’s pick, he said a quick, final glance at Simpson’s performance at Medinah two years ago was the tipping point. He said he looked at the results one last time and saw Simpson winning a pair of matches by 5-and-4 scores. Simpson delivered another 5-and-4 score for Watson at Gleneagles, this one a 5-and-4 loss.
“You've got to make birdies,” Simpson said. “Neither one of us making birdie was tough. We got off to a rough start. Yeah, it's disappointing.”
Watson said it was all about a pair of cold putters.
“It's disappointing to lose,” Watson said. “We played well. I hit the ball really good. Just didn't make any putts. If you go back to their round, I don't think they hit it better than us. They obviously putted than us.”