How quickly the momentum can shift... as good as it was for the US in the morning session, it was almost equally as bad in the afternoon matches. But then again, Europe's rebound was ultimately a result of something they've always been known for in Ryder Cup - staying patient, not panicking, and making putts.
My personal biggest surprise today was the solid play of European rookie, Thomas Pieters. Despite being weighed down heavily in the morning session with a no-show teammate in Lee Westwood, the young fella responded heroically in the afternoon and proved to be a very steady partner for McIlroy. The young man played some excellent golf.
My biggest disappointment today was 2 lackluster American performances, albeit captains picks, and unfortunately they were on the same team (Moore and Holmes). To be fair to Ryan Moore, he was basically playing Sergio and Cabrera Bello by himself this afternoon, with Holmes competing with Westwood for the dubious honors of the most-likely-to-choke-on-their-own-vomit contest on Friday. My goodness, that was painful to watch....
The bounce-back award on Friday goes to Rose and Stenson. And it was more Stenson than Rose, as Henrik somehow channeled his Open Championship form in the afternoon session to make quick work of the suddenly not-so-formidable team of Spieth and Reed. Stenson was clearly the lead player in the afternoon comeback, undoubtedly the most solid performance of any player on either side in the PM session. His iron play continues to be absolutely incredible.
Any thoughts of the US running away with this event were addressed this afternoon with the gutty performance of the Europeans. They had to respond in the afternoon, and to their credit - they most certainly did. It was very much a throwback to successful European teams of the past, as putts that weren't finding the holes in the morning were going in dead-center in the afternoon. Darren Clarke has to be very pleased with where his team is this evening considering where they were after that humiliating morning session. Although the US has a 2-point lead, Europe goes into Saturday with the big MO. And those morning foursomes matches just got a lot more interesting. That said...
8:35 - Mickelson/Fowler vs McIlroy/Pieters - I'm surprised that Davis is sending Mickelson and Fowler out again Saturday morning, despite eking out a sloppy victory the morning prior. Both struggled early on, and basically stole a point from McIlroy and Sullivan because of two untimely miscues from both oppoents the last 45 minutes of play. I hope I'm wrong, but I just don't see Mickelson and Fowler playing well enough from the tee and on the greens to pull this one out. I think Europe secures a point here.
8:50 - Snedeker/Koepka vs Stenson/Fitzpatrick - Fitzpatrick is be the big question mark in this match. Sneds and Koepka have a good thing going, despite how well Stenson played Friday afternoon. I could be wrong, Fitz could play well and they could romp in this one, but I think the odds favor the Americans. Koepka played great Friday and I think his length will be a huge advantage.
9:05 - Walker/Z. Johnson vs. Rose/Wood - somehow Jimmy and Zach eventually figured out a way to elevate their play against Sergio and Kaymer, which looked more like the second flight of a Member-Guest than it did a Ryder Cup early on. On paper, Walker and Zach would seem to be a good pairing, but Zach's struggles from the past few months carried over the first couple of hours of play on Friday. Too close to call, so we'll call it a halve.
9:20 - Reed/Spieth vs Sergio/Cabrera Bello - I expect Reed and Spieth to rebound from the disappointing afternoon match Friday, and although Sergio and Cabrera Bello played well in their afternoon match on Friday - they weren't under much pressure whatsoever against Moore and Holmes. I think the US prevails in this one.
Then it's on to the afternoon four ball session.