A 14-foot concession at the Ryder Cup? Here’s why the U.S. was so generous
After enduring a 4-0 shellacking in morning foursomes, the U.S. team appeared to be clawing their way back mid-way through the afternoon four-ball session, gaining leads in three of four matches late in the day. Then, disaster struck in the form of Viktor Hovland and Jon Rahm, whose clutch play on the final holes eliminated slim U.S. leads as the European stars eagled and birdied their way to half-point ties, killing American momentum just when the team needed it most.
After three matches ended in an American loss and two ties, the final match on the course on Friday afternoon was Max Homa and Wyndham Clark’s duel against Justin Rose and Robert MacIntyre. Homa and Clark were attempting to earn the first full point of the day for the Americans, and things were looking okay: Team USA was 1 up with three holes left to play, as both Clark and MacIntyre found the green on the drivable par-4 16th off the tee.
Homa and Rose were short of the green off the tee. Rose hit first, and it was a miss, leaving him short of the green again facing his third shot. Homa nearly holed his chip, hitting the flagstick, laving him a birdie putt from tap-in range. That opened the door for Clark to give his eagle putt a run, but he missed. So the Europeans needed a birdie to tie the hole.
MacIntyre left his eagle putt just over nine feet short. Then things got interesting. Rose’s third shot left him about 14 feet from the hole — but right on MacIntyre’s line of play on the green. Since Rose was away, he could give MacIntyre a read with his now-meaningless par putt. The Americans knew this, so they conceded Rose’s putt, and hoped MacIntyre would miss his birdie attempt. And sure enough, he did.
That’s a fine primer in Match Play 101, golf fans!
The win on 16 brought Clark and Home to 2 up in the match with two holes to play, but unfortunately that full point proved elusive, as the Europeans won the final two holes to tie the match, resulting the team’s receiving a half-point each. With two days of play remaining, the Europeans lead 6.5 to 1.5.