37th Ryder Cup at Valhalla. Europe gained a point in the morning foursomes despite sitting Cup heroes Garcia and Westwood. That kept captain Faldo from being disdained for one of the most surprising moves in Cup history. Owen Wilson and Henrik Stenson dropped Phil Mickelson and Anthony Kim in the foursomes in a key match with the Americans coming in as heavy favorites. Wilson's 30 ft. birdie putt on the 17th hole was the sealer. The Euros had been down three after seven holes. Forget everything you've heard, there's absolutely no truth to the rumor that Wilson and Stenson had hidden doughnuts around the back nine to distract Phil.
The afternoon fourball matches were filled with drama and highlighted the new blood. J.B. Holmes and Boo Weekley ended Lee Westwood's 12 match unbeaten string when they defeated him and Soren Hansen 2 and 1. Holmes and Weekley never trailed in the match. Rookie and controversial captain's choice Ian Poulter, with Graeme McDowell got one back for the Euros besting Kenny Perry and Jim Furyk. Garcia/Casey halved with Ben Curtis and Steve Stricker with Stricker holing a pressure packed putt on the 18th hole to salvage an extremely important 1/2 point. Mickelson/ Mahan halved with Stenson/Karlsson to give the US a 9-7 advantage leading into singles play on Sunday.
The youth on both teams played very, very well. Mahan, Holmes, Weekley, Kim, Poulter, Wilson, McDowell, all acquitted themselves well on the big stage. They are the faces of future Cups. Better get used to them.
If the first two days signaled a changing of the guard, then Sunday should be a blast. The Euros need to win 7 of the 12 matches to retain the Cup. The match ups will be fascinating, especially with so many new faces. It's great to see the Ryder Cup boil down to singles with both teams having a legitimate chance. Tee it up, get the balls in the air!
*Just Announced from Captains Faldo and Azinger, Sunday Pairings link.