United States produced a superb all-round display to storm into a healthy advantage over Europe after the foursomes on the opening day of the 41st Ryder Cup. Cheered on by ferocious home support at Hazeltine, Davis Love III's team completed a clean sweep from each of the four matches, creating a platform to regain golf's premier team event.
The tone was set by Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed, who continued their unbeaten record as a pair with a 3UP victory over Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson. The US duo led from the second hole and never looked back before completing victory on the 16th.
"Any time you are take on Rose and Stenson, it's never going to be simple," said Reed. "We had a great game plan coming in, and we stuck with it. We just hit a lot of greens. In alternate shots you have to do that to give yourself opportunities. And we were lucky enough to be able to hit a lot of greens and have good looks at putts."
PGA Tour player of the year Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar produced the stand-out performance of the day in dominating the pair of Lee Westwood (making his 10th Ryder Cup appearance) and rookie Thomas Pieters, who failed to gel throughout their round. The Americans claimed a 5&4 victory to give the hosts a 2-0 advantage.
Matches two and three were nip and tuck for much of the morning session, but with the momentum behind them Team USA capitalised on European mistakes to complete the first opening session whitewash since 1975, when Rod Stewart was at number one with Sailing. Zach Johnson and Jimmy Walker trailed by one through 11 holes, but won five on the bounce to bamboozle Sergio Garcia and Martin Kaymer – who had led since the second.
Europe were in a similarly encouraging position in the second match via Rory McIlroy and Andy Sullivan, who led by two after the 14th. But a run of four holes in a row from an otherwise errant Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler ensured United States took a commanding lead into the afternoon fourballs.