Friday Afternoon Four-Ball Preview
The U.S. Ryder Cup Team sits in a familiar position after the opening Foursomes matches at Whistling Straits where the Americans took a 3 - 1 lead. It’s the same margin by which the U.S. Ryder Cup Team led after the first session at Le Golf National in 2018, but the Europeans rallied to sweep the afternoon session three years ago.
Friday afternoon, U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Steve Stricker and European Captain Padraig Harrington revealed their pairings for the afternoon Four-Ball matches. Both Teams will see all players who sat in the morning compete during the afternoon session.
Match 1 (12:10 p.m. CT): Dustin Johnson/Xander Schauffele (U.S.) vs. Paul Casey/Bernd Wiesberger (Europe)
How the U.S. will win: Both Johnson and Schauffele were victorious in the morning Foursomes session, but not together. Johnson won alongside Collin Morikawa with a convincing 3 and 2 victory over Paul Casey and Viktor Hovland. Schauffele also won in the morning, alongside Cantlay, in the biggest upset of the morning matches with a 5 and 3 victory over European veterans Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter. Captain Stricker brings these two winning players together in what will make for a formidable pairing in the Four-Balls as they look to ride the momentum they found on Friday morning.
How Europe will win: A rested rookie in Wiesberger will bring some fresh blood to the European side as they look to turn the tide in their favor on Friday afternoon. Casey will look to shepherd the rookie in his first Ryder Cup match in a format in which he has largely thrived with a record of 2-1-3 in Four-Balls in his three previous Ryder Cup appearances.
Match 2 (12:26 p.m. CT) Bryson DeChambeau/Scottie Scheffler (U.S.) vs. Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton (Europe)
How the U.S. will win: Both DeChambeau and Scheffler sat during the Friday morning session and will bring a rested and refreshed approach to the U.S. Team. The experience of competing in the Four-Balls will be a first for both DeChambeau and Scheffler. DeChambeau only competed in Foursomes in his Ryder Cup debut in 2018, and Scheffler, a rookie for the U.S. Team, is competing in his first match ever. The fresh start could be just what the Americans need as they lack any baggage or scar tissue from previous losses.
How Europe will win: Rahm won the lone point for Team Europe during the morning Foursomes alongside fellow Spaniard Sergio Garcia. Rahm will partner with Hatton for the first time in the Ryder Cup as the duo did not compete together at Le Golf National in 2018, where they combined for a record of 1-3-0 in Four-Balls.
Match 3 (12:42 p.m. CT) Tony Finau/Harris English (U.S.) vs. Rory McIlroy/Shane Lowry (Europe)
How the U.S. will win: Rested after sitting out the morning session, Finau and English will team up for the first time in the Ryder Cup. In 2018, Finau went 1-1-0 in Four-Balls in his Ryder Cup debut and will be a calming presence for English, who will making his first ever start in the Ryder Cup on Friday afternoon.
How Europe will win: After suffering a surprising loss in the morning Foursomes, McIlroy will be motivated to turn around the momentum in the afternoon and flip it in Europe’s favor. McIlroy has an impressive 4-3-2 record in Four-Balls and will be a guiding force for Lowry who makes his Ryder Cup debut in this afternoon's matches.
Match 4 (12:58 p.m. CT) Justin Thomas/Patrick Cantlay (U.S.) vs. Tommy Fleetwood/Viktor Hovland (Europe)
How the U.S. will win: Thomas will look to turnaround a disappointing loss in the opening session alongside Spieth and hope to find a spark with new partner, Cantlay. Thomas went undefeated in Four-Balls at Le Golf National in 2018 and will have the confidence of his success in Paris to lean on in the afternoon. Cantlay, who along with his partner Schauffele, pulled off the major defeat of McIlroy and Poulter in the morning, will be riding high on that success on Friday afternoon.
How Europe will win: Fleetwood brings a breath of freshness to the European Team in the afternoon having sat out the morning Foursomes matches. He’ll team up with Hovland for the first time and will look to replicate the success he found in partnering with Francesco Molinari in 2018. Fleetwood went undefeated in Four-Balls in Paris and will be motivated to keep that winning streak alive at Whistling Straits. Hovland will be eager to feed off that momentum as he looks rebound after a 3 and 2 loss in the morning Foursomes matches.