THE UNITED STATES got off to the perfect start in their quest to regain the Ryder Cup, inflicting a first opening-session whitewash on Europe courtesy of a stunning clean sweep in the initial foursomes at Hazeltine.
Europe won six and halved two of the eight alternate-ball contests at Gleneagles two years ago, en route to their third successive triumph, but it was a very different story today.
Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed beat Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose — who won each of their three matches together in 2014 — 3 and 2, while Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar cruised to a 5 and 4 victory over the out-of-sorts Lee Westwood and Thomas Pieters.
And there was further misery to come for Europe as they also suffered defeat in two contests they had looked set to take points from.
Rory McIlroy and Andy Sullivan were two up on Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler with four to play, but the American duo then won three holes in a row — for the second time in the match — to dramatically turn things around, before halving the last to claim an unlikely 1up win.
Meanwhile, in match three, Jimmy Walker and Zach Johnson finished similarly strongly to come from one down and beat Sergio Garcia and Martin Kaymer 4 and 2.
The USA last won the first session of a Ryder Cup 4-0 back in 1975, when their opponents were Great Britain and Ireland.
The late Arnold Palmer, whose death last weekend prompted a string of tributes in the build-up to this event, was the captain of that American side.
The afternoon four-balls get under way at 6.30pm. Rose and Stenson are paired together again while Rafa Cabrera Bello teams up with Garcia in an all Spanish line-up.
Kaymer is back out on the course again, this time alongside Masters champion Danny Willett while McIlroy will partner Ryder Cup rookie Thomas Pieters.
- Jordan Spieth/Patrick Reed (USA) bt Justin Rose (ENG)/Henrik Stenson (SWE) 3 and 2
- Dustin Johnson/Matt Kuchar (USA) bt Thomas Pieters (BEL)/Lee Westwood (ENG) 5 and 4
- Jimmy Walker/Zach Johnson (USA) bt Sergio Garcia (ESP)/Martin Kaymer (GER) 4 and 2
- Phil Mickelson/Rickie Fowler (USA) bt Rory McIlroy (NIR)/Andy Sullivan (ENG) 1 up
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