Category - Major Events
Three Things to Know From Day One at the Ryder Cup
By Ryan Adams, PGA
Well . . . that was interesting.
Depending on who you were rooting for at the 2023 Ryder Cup, Day One went about as well or as poorly as you could’ve ever imagined.
For the Europeans, back on home soil at Rome’s Marco Simone, it was a morning and afternoon flush with highlights. For the United States? Just about the polar opposite.
Friday’s foursomes and four-ball matches ended at Marco Simone with Europe up by a staggering 6 ½ - 1 ½ margin — the biggest after one day, that last done by Europe at Oakland Hills in 2004 when it handed the Americans their worst loss in Ryder Cup history.
There’s still a lot of golf to be played, but the U.S. has work to do and the Europeans are rolling. Let’s get to that and two other things we learned from the first day at the Ryder Cup.
A simple stat says a lot about the current score
Europe notched 44 total birdies on the first day of play, absolutely obliterating parts of Marco Simone with excellent approaches and putts going in from every which direction. They also recorded three eagles that poured gas on a fiery performance all day.
That 44 number is important because it illustrates how truly dominant the players Luke Donald sent out were playing. They had 22 birdies in the morning foursomes; the Americans had 10. In the afternoon, the U.S. clawed back a bit, but still were outdone 22-19 in total birdie count.
The morning session play for the U.S. is where the concern really lies. Ten birdies among eight players in meager, especially going up against a well-oiled machine like the Europeans. Opportunities are out there all over Marco Simone, and the U.S. will need to take advantage of them if they have any chance of turning the tide.
Meanwhile, when you have chips like this going in, sometimes, it’s just your day. At Marco Simone, it was certainly Team Europe’s.
Marco Simone is wonderful for match play
There was a lot of intrigue as to how Marco Simone Golf & Country Club would hold up as a Ryder Cup venue. The hilly, undulating layout certainly presents challenges here and there, but where it really shines is on the back nine.
While we didn’t get to see the back nine shine as much in the morning, the afternoon four-ball showcased how the final stretch at Marco Simone is like a modern-day Colosseum. Sixteen is a go-for-broke short par 4 with water lurking, 17 is a gut-check par 3 where a good swing is required and 18 is a make-or-break, reachable par-5 that can determine a match.
Three of the four afternoon session matches came down to this final stretch, with critical 1-up leads for the U.S. both turning into half-points on No. 18. It was back-breaking for the Americans, since they actually had some momentum in the PM.
No matter which ways these matches go, if they make it to the last three holes, expect some drama and chaos — which is in the DNA of any Ryder Cup.
A trip across the globe for a few PGA of America Golf Professionals
One of the great perks of being a PGA of America Golf Professional is the benefit of attending events like the Ryder Cup for free.
And plenty of PGA America Members have taken advantage, including father-daughter duo JD and Kate Drimel. JD, who is the CEO of the Minnesota PGA Section, is part of the American Marshals, who’ve been weaved into the fabric of the Ryder Cup since 2008 at Kentucky’s Valhalla Golf Club. Kate works for the PGA of America in Frisco, Texas, as Digital Content Lead and it’s to be determined if she’ll be a Marshal member soon.
For now, the two are seeing the benefits of being a PGA of America Member at a global golf event in one of the world’s most well-known cities. If you’re interested about a path to working in golf or PGA of America Membership, visit here.