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Ryder Cup Quick Predictions: Saturday Foursomes

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By Tim Gavrich

GolfWRX Contributor

Never in my memory was an opening day of a Ryder Cup so thoroughly dominated by a rookie from each team. For the Americans, who carry a lead of 5-3 going into Saturday’s latter half of team matches, it was Keegan Bradley. Quite simply, Bradley put on one of the best displays of big-time putting in recent memories, holing lengthy putt after lengthy putt and making his partner, Phil Mickelson, look a decade younger. The duo, bound to have at least one encore call tomorrow, beat the formidable pairing of Sergio Garcia and Luke Donald in the morning and then drubbed Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell in the afternoon.

On the European side, after a decent morning performance, they promptly folded in the afternoon, save for their one first-timer, the Belgian Whopper Nicolas Colsaerts. Colsaerts made eight birdies and an eagle in the afternoon four-ball session, completely carrying his scuffling partner, Lee Westwood, to a 1-up victory over Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker, who lost twice today. To be fair, though, they were nine under in the afternoon as a team.

7:20 am (all times CT): Webb Simpson and Bubba Watson (USA) vs. Justin Rose and Ian Poulter (EUR)

The Sultans of Smash, who thumped Paul Lawrie and Peter Hanson this afternoon, will try their hand at alternate shot play tomorrow. Captain Love commended Simpson and Watson for whipping the afternoon crowd to a froth and setting the tone for the American side’s successful four-ball session. Poulter will be equally fiery and Rose will be comfortable as well. Still…

Advantage: USA

7:35 am: Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson (USA) vs. Lee Westwood and Luke Donald (EUR)

Bradley and Mickelson were absolutely unstoppable on Friday. Westwood was a non-factor in his afternoon match, so he should have a chip on his shoulder, as should countryman Donald, who was uninspiring with Garcia Friday morning. It’s somewhat difficult to assume that Keegan and Phil are locks to play great again and likewise, Donald and Westwood are bound to improve. Upset potential here.

Toss-up

7:50 am: Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson (USA) vs. Nicolas Colsaerts and Sergio Garcia (EUR)

Dufner had a very good debut Friday morning with Johnson, their games complementing one another nicely. There’s little reason for them to regress greatly, but they are up against a team primed for success in Colsaerts, who lit Medinah on fire with his putter Friday afternoon and Garcia, who is not about to lose twice in a row in foursomes, his specialty format.

Advantage: Europe

8:05 am: Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker (USA) vs. Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell (EUR)

A reprise of Friday morning’s opening match, but this time it’s the morning anchor. Snedeker and Furyk were more than game against the team now known as “The Macs” Friday morning, but a loose 18th hole tee shot by Snedeker doomed the Americans. They will have the opportunity to ride the crowd momentum to a possible upset victory, but it will be another uphill battle.

Advantage: Europe

It would be utter folly to think the Euros won’t be absolutely rabid out of the gates Saturday morning. Captain Olazabal is no fool; Poulter and Rose are the type of team that can silence a boisterous American crowd early if Watson and Simpsonaren’t sharp. Once again, Captain Love should be thrilled with a 2-2 morning score, and even 2 ½-1 ½ in favor of the European side would be acceptable. At any rate, I am well-stocked for snacks and ready to wear a deep impression in the couch tomorrow. I can’t wait.

Click here for more discussion in the “Tour Talk” forum.

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Tim grew up outside of Hartford, Conn., playing most of his formative golf at Hop Meadow Country Club in the town of Simsbury. He played golf for four years at Washington & Lee University (Division-III) and now lives in Pawleys Island, S.C., and works in nearby Myrtle Beach in advertising. He's not too bad on Bermuda greens, for a Yankee. A lifelong golf addict, he cares about all facets of the game of golf, from equipment to course architecture to PGA Tour news to his own streaky short game.

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Tour News

5 things we learned on Sunday of the 2018 U.S. Open

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Opportunity knocked for so many golfers, yet it was the 2017 champion who seized the moment when it was his. Brooks Koepka fired his second sub-par round of the week on Sunday to separate from playing partner Dustin Johnson, and enter the pantheon of multiple major champions. He became the 7th player to defend his title, joining old-school legends like Willie Anderson and John McDermott, mid-century icons like Ralph Guldahl and Ben Hogan, and the last man to accomplish the feat, Curtis Strange. With that introduction, let’s move to the main event, the 5 things we learned on Sunday at Shinnecock Hills.

5) The USGA gave golf a chance

True to its word, the USGA pulled out all the stops in the wee hours of Sunday morn. The course set-up team ensured that enough water was distributed to putting surfaces, that worthy shots would not be punished. Hole locations were assessed and confirmed, also ensuring that multiple opportunities for success were available. As a result, 15 golfers turned in scores under par of 70, highlighted by Tommy Fleetwood’s 7-under stunner. Although many fans, writers and players were quick to assault the organizers for losing control of the course, the USGA reminded us that it always had control of the conditions at Shinny, and that its only mistake was to soar too close to the sun.

4) Captain America ran out of gas

If Patrick Reed had been able to sign his card on the 9th tee, when he stood 5-under on the day and 1-over for the tournament, he would be in a playoff with the eventual champion as I type. Unfortunate for this year’s Masters champion was that 10 holes remained. Reed promptly bogeyed the 9th, added 3 more bogeys on the inward half, and summoned just one birdie toward the end. His fourth-place finish was his best in a U.S. Open, but knowing that victory was in the cards will sting for a while.

3) DJ and Finau gave it a run

Where to begin? How about this: DJ had four bogeys on Sunday. He totaled that many on Thursday-Friday combined. He had birdies, too, but couldn’t find the game that possessed him over the opening 36 holes. Oddly enough, this type of experience won’t be a setback for the 2016 champion. After all, he came back from a career-killer in 2015, when he 3-whacked his way out of a playoff with Jordan Spieth at Chambers Bay. As for Milton Pouhau Finau, aka Tony, the Utah native had never before been in the final group on any day of a major professional championship. He acquitted himself well, standing even on the day and 3-over for T2 at the 18th tee. Knowing that he needed eagle for a playoff might have taken the final winds from his sails, and he limped home with double bogey and solo third. Looking ahead to the final August playing of the PGA Championship, Bellerive near St. Louis might just be his type of course.

2) Tom Terrific nearly made his own U.S. Open history

I’ll write this cautiously, as I’m certain I would have intimated in the 1980s and 90s that Colin Montgomerie and Lee Westwood would have been major champions by now. Tommy Fleetwood ought to win one of these things soon. His record-tying 63 was a short putt away from a record-breaking 62. Eight birdies against a single bogey was the stuff of legend, and if only he had trusted that final putt a bit higher on the break … that’s not fair. Fleetwood right now is the fellow to watch at Carnoustie next month. Bet a few quid or bob or whatever on the Southport native, as he should contend for the title.

1) Brooks cooks up a winning broth

It’s easy to look back and see all the great shots that the defending champion hit over the four days of the 2018 U.S. Open, shots that would win him his second consecutive trophy. Remember that 60-feet bomb to save par on Saturday? Shades of Costantino Rocca. How about the approach shots to within mere feet that earned him 5 birdies on Sunday, including a competition-killer on 16? Koepka was the guy we thought Dustin Johnson would be. Perhaps it was the time off for wrist rehabilitation early this season that gave him the burning desire to win. Out for nearly 4 months, Koepka had plenty of time to ponder what he achieved last June in Wisconsin, and what might lay ahead for him. The begged question is, does the most recent, two-time major winner have the game to acquire more of the game’s cherished trophies?

Related: Brooks Koepka’s Winning WITB from the 2018 U.S. Open

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Wednesday’s Photos from the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills

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GolfWRX is live from the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club (par 70; 7,440 yards) in Southhampton, New York. The U.S. Open returns to Shinnecock for the first time since 2004 when Retief Goosen won (he failed to qualify for the 2018 event).

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Phil Mickelson, who has two top-5 finishes at Shinnecock Hills, will seek to fill out his career Grand Slam with a win this week. Also, it’s Tiger Woods’ 10-year anniversary of winning the legendary 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines — that was his most recent major championship victory.

Also in the field are headliners Dustin Johnson (now ranked No. 1 in the Official World Golf Rankings), Justin Thomas (No. 2), Justin Rose (No. 3), Jon Rahm (No. 4) and Jordan Spieth (No. 5).

Brooks Koepka (No. 9) is the defending champion; he won last year by four shots for his first and only major so far in his career.

Check out our photos from Shinnecock Hills below!

Wednesday’s Galleries

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Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums

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Spotted at Shinnecock: #RVLife, superb staff bags, stellar stampings

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We’re on the famed grounds of Shinnecock Hills Golf Club for the second major of the year. With the U.S. Open returned to such a visually and historically rich venue, it may be a bit tough to focus on equipment.

Nevertheless, we spotted some cool stuff, Tuesday, as the players move ever closer to the second major of th eyear.

Let’s get to the photos.

#RVLife propronent, Jason Day’s putter cover is incredible.

Michael Greller displays an essential caddie skill…

Face of Tiger’s wedge. Do these look like standard TaylorMade MG grooves to you?

Greatest side panel on a bag ever?

Who isn’t happy to see “Woods” on USGA tournament signage?

Shintaro Ban’s unique dot stamping is, well, money.

A look at the Bridgestone U.S. Open staff bag and headcovers.

Kenny Perry: Still gaming R7 irons.

Scott Gregory with some solid wedge stamping.

What is this lead taped and war torn beauty?

All our photos from Tuesday

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums

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