Europe trail 3-1 after the morning session on the first day of the Ryder Cup - were Captain Harrington's pairings the right ones?
Did Harrington Get His Foresomes Pairings Wrong?
It was a fairly chastening morning session for Team Europe at Whistling Straits and the eventual 3-1 deficit could easily have been 4-0.
However, it’s a position Europe found themselves in at the 2018 Ryder Cup, so they know what needs to be done to win from this position and a full post-mortem certainly isn’t needed yet.
But there is certainly some space and time to reflect on Harrington’s first pairings as captain, as well as discuss whether he’ll make any changes for tomorrow’s foresomes session.
First and foremost, the first pairing of Rahm and Garcia was a delight for all to see.
Harrington likely knew Thomas and Spieth would lead Team USA out on Friday morning – and he met fire with fire.
It was a wonderful match with the Spanish duo shooting 5-under through 17 holes and the Americans a more than respectable 3-under.
Garcia drove the ball tremendously all morning and he dovetailed perfectly with Rahm who holed some key putts on the front nine to edge the pair ahead – and keep them there.
Elsewhere in the European foresomes pairings, it feels like you have to doth your cap to the Americans rather the point the finger at Harrington’s pairings.
The American pairings and the quality of golf they produced was superb all morning and – amid a partisan crowd – the Europeans couldn’t muster any significant momentum.
Casey and Hovland worked well together – Casey diligently guiding Hovland through his first Ryder Cup rubber – and their 2-under par 16 holes was simply overshadowed by Morikawa and Johnson knocking it round in 5-under.
Westwood and Fitzpatrick – the latter still waiting for his first Ryder Cup point – played decent enough golf and it felt like a warmer Westwood putter could’ve got this pair over the line.
They’re not explosive, but they’re complimentary golfers who seem to get on very well.
There must be question marks about the foresomes pairing of McIlroy and Poulter.
The last time the two played a foresomes match, they were swept away by Thomas and Spieth 4&3 in Paris.
Friday in Wisconsin had an even more dismissive feel about it and, once the pair dropped to five down through five, the game was over.
Neither looked to be striking it particularly well or putting with any sort of confidence.
Most would agree it was a bit of an odd pairing to put out, especially as the anchor match.
However, there’s no way Harrington could’ve foreseen 5 down through 5 and a level par round through 15 holes wasn’t what the captain needed from some of his most experienced players.
Ahead of Saturday, Rahm and Garcia will surely be playing together again.
As for the rest – and depending on how the fourballs go – Harrington might want to have a tinker.