SHEBOYGAN, Wis. — The U.S. Ryder Cup team carried its Day 1 dominance into Day 2, extending its commanding lead to 9-3 entering the Saturday afternoon fourball session.
The Americans won the Saturday morning foursomes (alternate shot) session 3-1, same as they won each of Friday’s two sessions, and entered Saturday afternoon’s four matches needing just 5 ½ points to win the Ryder Cup.
Europe, the defending champion which has won four of the past five cups and nine of the past 12, won the first match Saturday when world No. 1 Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia overcame a 3-down deficit after the first three holes to defeat Daniel Berger and Brooks Koepka 3-and-1.
That match temporarily cut the Americans 6-2 Friday lead to 6-3.
But Europe lost the next three matches, leaving itself in a massive bind to try to come back and retain the cup. Europe, which needs 14 point to retain the cup, entered the Saturday afternoon matches needing to win 11 of the 16 points still available.
“I’m proud of everybody on the team,’’ Justin Thomas said. “We have a great team. A lot of guys are playing great and a lot of guys love the atmosphere and love the spotlight and I think their games are proving that.’’
No team has ever come back from a final-day deficit of more than 10-6 entering the 12 Sunday singles matches. The U.S. overcame a 10-6 deficit in 1999 to win and the Europeans overcame the same to win in 2012 at Medinah.
The U.S. added points with a 2-and-1 win by Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa over Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton, a 2-up win by Jordan Spieth and Thomas over Viktor Hovland and Bernd Weisberger and a 2-and-1 win by Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay over Lee Westwood and Matt Fitzpatrick.
Johnson’s win was his third in as many matches this week. Spieth’s win was his first point of the week, after he was the only U.S. player without one after Friday.
“One thing we all have in common is we all hate losing,’’ Cantlay said. “So there’s that. All of us are so competitive and we look up at that board and if we see blue, we want to see red. I think that I can speak for my whole team, and we fire each other up.’’
Rahm and Garcia, who set the all-time Ryder Cup points record with 27 ½ with his win, were Europe’s only bright spot in the morning, with Rahm in particular playing incredible golf and backing up his top ranking.
“It’s great but it’s not,’’ Garcia said of his win with Rahm Saturday morning. “We need more wins and unfortunately we are not getting them at the moment. Obviously, Jon and I, we did what we had to and what we could, and unfortunately it just looks like the American guys are just playing a little bit better than us, and it’s a shame.
“But we are not giving up. We’re going to fight until the end as hard as we can.’’