Often, the foursome format can be a greater differentiator than the fourball given the absence of a second chance to cover for a mistake but this afternoon saw an amazingly tight contest with all four games ending on the 18th green. Only the wonderful Sergio Garcia and his partner Luke Donald ended victorious over the mis-firing Tiger Woods & Jim Furyk. Sergio was certainly the player of the day, his golf was consistently outstanding and exuded confidence from start to finish. He was even lucky enough to survive a thinned wedge on the last once Furyk had hit his approach into the water.
All twelve of the European team played today but two Americans, Scott Verplank and Vaughn Taylor, have yet to enter competitive action. There is a risk that Taylor’s first contribution will be in the Sunday singles. Only time will tell whether this selection policy is the correct one but there’s no doubting that Woosie is proud of his two point lead on a day when all of his team have made a contribution to the points total.
Padraig Harrington has reason to consider himself the biggest European disappointment of the first day given his patchy contribution to the morning loss and his inexplicable mistake on the final hole in the afternoon which allowed the Americans back in for an easy half-point.
The story that will be reported around the world, however, will be the difficult day endured by Tiger Woods. The record will show that he won a point in the morning with Jim Furyk but Tiger will be horrified by the quality of his golf. The prospects of a US victory rely heavily on Tiger bouncing back and showing why he’s the world’s #1 player. His demeanour on the last green and afterwards in the media area suggests he has a struggle ahead of him.
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