Team USA is going to need nothing short of a miracle to overcome a 6-10 deficit to the European squad heading into Sunday singles. With most of the American players out of form, they’re going to have to find something quickly and really special. The singles lineup has some potentially exciting matches, kicking off with Rory McIlroy vs. Justin Thomas, who might be the new Captain America after Patrick Reed’s crappy performance so far at Le Golf National.
Here’s the full list of singles matches:
Match 1, 12:05: Rory McIlroy vs. Justin Thomas
Match 2, 12:17: Paul Casey vs. Brooks Koepka
Match 3, 12:29: Justin Rose vs. Webb Simpson
Match 4, 12:41: Jon Rahm vs. Tiger Woods
Match 5, 12:53: Tommy Fleetwood vs. Tony Finau
Match 6, 13:05: Ian Poulter vs. Dustin Johnson
Match 7, 13:17: Thorbjorn Oleson vs. Jordan Spieth
Match 8, 13:29: Sergio Garcia vs. Rickie Fowler
Match 9, 13:41: Francesco Molinari vs. Phil Mickelson
Match 10, 13:53: Tyrrell Hatton vs. Patrick Reed
Match 11, 14:05: Henrik Stenson vs. Bubba Watson
Match 12, 14:17: Alex Noren vs. Bryson DeChambeau
We’ve gotta get red on the board and fast. I think Justin Thomas is up to the task to take on Rory. Rahm vs. Woods will be fun — both players will be looking for their first points contribution to the team. Poulter vs. DJ might be interesting, too, considering all the hot takes and the more-than-normal influence of the course and setup.
Sergio and Rickie will be LIT. Molinari will take down Phil with ease, probably. The others are kinda up in the air. I don’t see Tommy Fleetwood letting up, though.
Both the American and European captains gave their remarks on the line-up for Sunday. First, Europe’s leader Thomas Bjorn:
THOMAS BJØRN: Well, I mean, I can only look at — you can guess what the other captain is going to do. I went with this setup because of personalities and the way I see them. I believe that singles are very different to pairs.
And I went with this group of guys in this order because I think it covers all the way through the order.
So I’m happy with the way it looks. Listen, if you look at the right side of this, you know, that lineup, that American lineup was always going to be extremely strong, and it doesn’t matter; we need to win our points tomorrow.
Where they come from, they can come from any match. You can lose any match in The Ryder Cup and you can win any match. So we go with this, and you know, this is going to be a great contest tomorrow. We look forward to it. All we really want to do right now is get back to the team room and see if Liverpool’s equalized, to be honest (laughter).
Q. I was going to ask a question about Molinari but now the pairings are out. Can you give us insight as to why you sent Rory out first, just as a statement, please?
THOMAS BJØRN: You know, there’s a lot of reasons to send Rory out first. He’s a fantastic player. He likes to play fast. He doesn’t like to be held up. He likes responsibility.
So there’s a lot of reasons to send him out first. He feels like he’s in a place where he can go into that position and get the best out of himself. And you have conversations with Rory through time, and you know, this is where he is. In the end, somebody’s got to go there. I have a lot of belief in him, and I trust him as a player, but also trust him very much as a person.
So it’s a great place for him to be with responsibility.
Next up, Jim Furyk:
JIM FURYK: It’s difficult. I wanted to message the team a little bit. Had the six of us work on the pairings. Talked to the players a touch, but really relied on my vice captains for their opinion on what we saw. You know, we want to get out to a fast start tomorrow. That’s key. It’s imperative. Everyone knows it. Any time a team’s come back, now twice in this event, from four points, it’s been a fast start and a solid middle to late part of the lineup.
You know, I don’t know if there is any one match more important than the other, right. You’ve got 12 of them out there, and we have to win eight points tomorrow to take the Cup back home. So we have 12 important matches tomorrow, but you’d like to get off to that fast start like you saw at Brookline, like you saw at Medinah, and when that momentum gets going one way, it puts a lot of pressure on those middle matches. We set up our lineup accordingly and put the guys out in the fashion that we felt like, you know, we’re trying to make some magic tomorrow.
Hopefully the Americans will be able to stage a decent fight so the Ryder Cup doesn’t turn into a snooze fest.