So what do we make of Day 1 at the Ryder Cup. A few thoughts from my alleged mind:
*** The U.S. rookies really came to play. Now it's hard to call major champions rookies, but Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson and Jason Dufner were involved in four points for the U.S. squad. Only Brandt Snedeker didn't get on the board. And of the four, it was Snedeker who appeared to show nerves, launching his crucial tee shot on the 18th hole deep into the woods. Bradley, the guy who was passed over for the Presidents Cup a year ago, was the star of the show; he made more big shots on the day than any player not named Colsaerts. At times it looked as if Phil Mickelson had to put a governor on his young charge before he exploded. But it worked and I'd bet there's more to come.
*** Nicolas Colsaerts. Wow. You don't need to say much more about his performance. That was one amazing putting performance. I'm not sure how many yards of putts he made but very few of those that found the bottom of the cup were gimmees. When Tiger calls it one of the greatest putting performances he's ever seen, that's saying something.
*** Tiger, oh poor Tiger. Yes, he deserved to lose the morning match during which he played absolutely horrid. But the afternoon? The guy makes seven birdies on his own ball and ends up losing. Tiger starts 0-2 for the fourth time in seven Ryder Cups.
*** I know you have to get everyone in the game but what was Jose Maria Olazabal thinking in sitting Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia and Luke Donald in the afternoon? Together, those three are 31-13-5 in Ryder Cup play. I can think of a few others that may have been shown a seat on the bench before those three.
*** I love what Bubba Watson did on the first tee, hitting his opening shot with the crowd screaming. That could only happen at a Ryder Cup (and maybe the Phoenix Open) and probably only from Bubba. It was a great moment. Too bad it doesn't happen more often.
*** The Chicago crowds were pretty respectful for the most part, cheering loudly but with very few boos. One of the best cheers came on the first tee when Garcia and Donald faced off against Mickelson and Bradley. The cheer went up: “We got major, we got majors.” Love it.
*** Davis Love III said after the day's events that the toughest job he's had is trying to figure out who to sit. No kidding. I don't think sitting Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker was that tough but when Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar are sitting for the second time in four sessions after winning in a breeze, you know it's a difficult job.
*** Bold and perhaps a little bit silly prediction: the Euros will close the gap tomorrow but the US will lead heading to the Sunday singles.