The American golfer Brooks Koepka seems like a very nice guy, but on Friday afternoon at the Marco Simone country club in Rome, he may have talked his mouth off on the first day of the Ryder Cup tournament.
Europe took a 6½-1½ lead after dominating the morning’s innings 4-0 and finishing the afternoon’s four games 2½-1½.
It was the first time that Europe could make a clean sweep in the innings (Friday morning).
Koepka, the only player playing in the LIV series selected for the US Ryde Cup team, and Scottie Scheffler faced the passionate Spaniard Jon Rahm and Rasmus Hojgaard on Friday afternoon.
Koepka and them were still comfortably ahead on the 16th before Rahm fought back with two eagles on the 16th and 18th to halve the match.
Koepka accused Rahm of acting like a child, without elaborating.
“But you know, it is what it is. Act like a child. We are adults. We are moving on,” Koepka said in an interview according to the Golf Channel.
Was it sour grapes because they couldn’t seal the game, or did he lose something that could spur the passionate Europeans even further?
— Ryder Cup (@rydercup) September 30, 2023
Yes, it’s very strange to see timid players like Viktor Hovland and Justin Rose react with so much emotion when they score a birdie or an eagle, but that’s what the Ryder Cup is all about: passion, emotion and competition.
Then the American team’s captain, Zach Johnson, complained that his team and joggers were suffering from some kind of virus.
“I am grateful that we have a team doctor. There are certain unforeseen things, which are quite unfortunate when it comes to our health. It’s not an excuse because we have depth,” added Johnson, according to the BBC.
In the afternoon’s singles play, Europe’s Rory McIlroy and Matt Fitzpatrick scored the only 5 and 3 victory over Collin Morikawa and Xander Schauffele. The other three games were all halved.
Fitzpatrick was red hot and scored three birdies and an eagle over the first nine holes to clinch the victory.
To end the day, Rose achieved a birdie on the 18th hole while the American Max Homa could not roll in his birdie set.
Rose roared like a lion and the match was halved.
Results on day 1: Europe 6.2, America 1.5
Friday morning: Rounds (Europe called first): Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton beat Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns 4 and 3; Viktor Hovland and Ludvig Aberg beat Max Homa and Brian Harman 4 and 3; Shane Lowry and Sepp Straka beat Rickie Fowler and Collin Morikawa 2 and 1; and Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood beat Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay 2 and 1.
Friday afternoon: Viktor Hovland and Tyrrell Hatton halved with Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth; Jon Rahm and Nicolas Hojgaard halved with Scottie Scheffler and Brooks Koepka; Robert MacIntyre and Justin Rose halve with Max Homa and Wyndham Clark; Rory McIlroy and Matt Fitzpatrick beat Collin Morikawa and Xander Schauffele 5 and 3.