By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
MEDINAH, Ill. — What a day for the American first-timers — Brandt Snedeker, Keegan Bradley, Jason Dufner and Webb Simpson — at the Ryder Cup. Those rookies helped account for four points, and while Snedeker did not win, he did play well. Keegan Bradley was a star, winning a pair of points and calling it, “The greatest day in my life.”
Encouragement: Webb Simpson got a reward after every good hole and I’m not talking about a high-five with Bubba Watson. Simpson’s wife Dowd would slip beneath the ropes and give her husband a kiss and a hug.
Shank: Bubba Watson was wonderful with the exception of one shot. There was a shank mixed in with the birdies. On the ninth hole, Watson ripped a drive to within a hundred yards of the green and promptly hit a hosel rocket. There was an audible gasp out of the gallery but Bubba smiled, tipped his cap to the crowd and everyone cheered.
Second opinion: On the second hole, Graeme McDowell asked for relief from a sprinkler head and the match referee granted the free drop. Jim Furyk disagreed with the ruling and asked for a second official to come to the green saying it was his duty to protect his team and fellow players. The second official agreed with Furyk and the drop was denied. The Europeans went on to bogey the hole and the Americans won with a par.
Poker face: You wondered if Jason Dufner would feel the Ryder Cup pressure. The answer is no. The rookie said he enjoyed the competition and felt relaxed because he had a partner to help. Dufner and Zach Johnson won their match and did not play in the afternoon session. Dufner followed the four-ball play in a golf cart but did not seem excited. In fact he looked ready to take a nap on the course.
Frustrated: A pair of Europeans had frustrating days. Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer both struggled. Kaymer had a bad case of the rights and curiously still hit driver at the short par-4 15th — knocking his tee ball into the water. Westwood won his four-ball match but relied heavily Nicolas Colsaerts who ripped off eight birdies and an eagle.
Lineup: It was curious that Ian Poulter and Luke Donald both sat out the afternoon session. Poulter seems to be the emotional firebrand of the European team while Donald is easily matched with anyone in any format. Poulter wears such a game face his countenance alone is intimidating. Expect both to pull double duty on Saturday.
Masseuse: Miguel Angel Jimenez pulled double duty on Friday. The Mechanic turned into a masseuse. He helped massage the shoulders of both Justin Rose and Martin Kaymer. It did not help, the hole was halved but the players did seem relaxed.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here.
- Jason Dufner
- Bubba Watson
- Keegan Bradley
- Webb Simpson
- Martin Kaymer