Ryder Cup 2021 Leaderboard: United States Dominates Friday, Leads Europe 6-2

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 25, 2021

AP Photo/Ashley Landis

In the 21st century, the United States has won the Ryder Cup over Europe just twice in nine attempts. 

The Americans got a pretty good start on making it three out of 10 on Friday. 

They hold a commanding 6-2 lead after the first day of play that featured a morning session of foursome and an afternoon session of four-ball. 

Will Gray @WillGrayGC

6-2 US. Largest Day 1 lead since 1975. Largest for any side since Europe led 6.5-1.5 en route to a rout in 2004.

Below, we'll break down the scores and highlights from the first day of action at Whistling Straits. 

Morning Foursome Scores

(Europe) Jon Rahm / Sergio Garcia def. Justin Thomas / Jordan Spieth, 3 & 1

(USA) Dustin Johnson / Collin Morikawa def. Paul Casey / Viktor Hovland, 3 & 2

(USA) Brooks Koepka / Daniel Berger def. Lee Westwood / Matt Fitzpatrick, 2 & 1

(USA) Patrick Cantlay / Xander Schauffele def. Rory McIlroy / Ian Poulter, 5 & 3

Afternoon Four-Ball Scores

(USA) Johnson / Schauffele def. Casey / Bernd Wiesberger, 2 & 1

(USA) Tony Finau / Harris English def. McIlroy / Shane Lowry, 4 & 3

(USA) Bryson DeChambeau / Scottie Scheffler tied Rahm / Tyrell Hatton

(USA) Thomas / Cantlay tied Tommy Fleetwood / Hovland

The Americans got off to a fantastic start on Friday, exactly what they needed in front of the home fans. And they did so in style. 

Seriously, there were some incredible shots on Friday, from DeChambeau absolutely blasting the ball off the tee to Spieth hitting one of the most ridiculous shots you'll ever see:

Golf Channel @GolfChannel

BRYSON.<br><br>417 YARDS.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RyderCup?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RyderCup</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/RyderCupUSA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RyderCupUSA</a> <br><br>📺 Golf Channel and <a href="https://twitter.com/peacockTV?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@peacockTV</a> <a href="https://t.co/15bXf9ZmXq">pic.twitter.com/15bXf9ZmXq</a>

Golf Central @GolfCentral

Bryson, once again, is putting on a show in the tee box <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RyderCup?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RyderCup</a> <a href="https://t.co/i4jOKWTM6A">pic.twitter.com/i4jOKWTM6A</a>

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

How'd Spieth do that? 🤯<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/GolfChannel?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@golfchannel</a>)<a href="https://t.co/PmTpON3X3U">pic.twitter.com/PmTpON3X3U</a>

Spieth almost ate it for that shot, folks. That's commitment. That's patriotism. 

Johnson, meanwhile, was the day's MVP, winning both of his rounds with scintillating performances. He looked very much the part of the player who has sat atop the world rankings for 135 weeks throughout his career. 

Ryder Cup USA @RyderCupUSA

DJ &amp; MJ - the perfect pairing.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GoUSA?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GoUSA</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RyderCup?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RyderCup</a> <a href="https://t.co/FHZkiTeYly">pic.twitter.com/FHZkiTeYly</a>

Jason Sobel @JasonSobelTAN

Dustin Johnson picked a good day to play maybe his best golf all year. Vintage DJ today.

Tony Paul @TonyPaul1984

Dustin Johnson came to play this weekend. Throwing dart after dart.

Ryan Ballengee @RyanBallengee

Dustin Johnson making golf look easy is one of the best things in sports

Schauffele had an equally impressive day, winning both of his matches as well. After bulldozing McIlroy and Poulter with Cantlay, he and Johnson partnered up to make easy work of Casey and Wiesberger. 

After Schauffele's strong start with Cantlay, Steve Stricker choosing to split up that pair was a somewhat controversial decision. Schauffele and Johnson getting the win and Thomas and Cantlay managing a draw validated the decision. 

And if you don't think the players are taking this very, very seriously, just look at Thomas rousing the crowd after making this putt:

TJ Eckert @TJEckertKTUL

The past hour of golf at the Ryder Cup has been ELECTRIC.<br><br>Tony Finau pouring in putts. Dustin Johnson celebrating with Michael Jordan.<br><br>Now Justin Thomas lighting a fire into the American crowd. Not seen, JT screaming “I CAN’T F***ING HEAR YOU.” <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RyderCup?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RyderCup</a> <a href="https://t.co/l3YSOGC35G">pic.twitter.com/l3YSOGC35G</a>

For the European team, meanwhile, McIlroy struggled immensely. Both of his losses were total blowouts. 

It was an ominous sign for the Europeans:

Will Gray @WillGrayGC

Rory has never sat a session in his Ryder Cup career. Played 4 as a rookie in '10 only because of weather delays and 5 matches every year since. Euro plan had to include he and Rahm going the distance. After 2 semi-blowout losses would Harrington call an audible tomorrow? <a href="https://t.co/HuTQZkyai3">https://t.co/HuTQZkyai3</a>

Michael Collins @ESPNCaddie

Tony Finau to Rory McIlroy <a href="https://t.co/EcFiZjJjHX">pic.twitter.com/EcFiZjJjHX</a>

It's unlikely that Poulter's comments after he and McIlroy lost to Schauffele and Cantlay will play well in the European papers, either. 

"A shame, because we actually played quite well," he told reporters. "You know, they have played exceptionally good golf in foursomes. It's not nice to get off to the start 5-down through five. Not easy to come back, and they finished the match off."

How bad did things go for Europe on Friday? Fleetwood and Hovland blew a late lead to Thomas and Cantlay, giving away a crucial half-point in the process:

Golf Channel @GolfChannel

TIED going into the 17th!<br><br>Justin Thomas and Patrick Cantlay are PUMPED! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RyderCup?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RyderCup</a> <a href="https://t.co/xANh7dwvl6">pic.twitter.com/xANh7dwvl6</a>

Justin Ray @JustinRayGolf

Since 1979, teams to lead by 3+ points after the second session have won 4 of 5 times. Lone exception was in 1999. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RyderCup?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RyderCup</a>

Will Gray @WillGrayGC

6-2 US. Largest Day 1 lead since 1975. Largest for any side since Europe led 6.5-1.5 en route to a rout in 2004.

Really, only Garcia and Rahm were the bright spot for Europe. No surprises there, as the Ryder Cup always seems to bring the best out of Garcia:

Ryder Cup Europe @RyderCupEurope

Sergio Garcia equals that all-time record for matches won at the Ryder Cup. (23)<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TeamEurope?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TeamEurope</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RyderCup?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RyderCup</a> <a href="https://t.co/z4gPIzuRx3">pic.twitter.com/z4gPIzuRx3</a>

Shane Bacon @shanebacon

Jon Rahm is now the 8th player that Sergio Garcia has won a match alongside in the Ryder Cup, joining Parnevik, Olazabal, Westwood, Donald, McIlroy, Noren, and Cabrera-Bello.

Coming into the tournament, Garcia had as many Ryder Cup points (25.5) as the entire U.S. team combined. There was never a question he would play well in Whistling Straits. 

Europe is going to need more bright spots if it is going to reverse its fortunes after a tough Friday, however.

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