Padraig Harrington's 12th hole reaction as McIlroy and Poulter roasted needs no words
Some days you just have to admit you were licked.
Team USA got off to a flyer after the morning foursomes at The Ryder Cup. Padraig Harrington's reaction to one Xander Schauffele shot, on the 12th, summed up Team Europe's morning.
Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia got Europe off to a great start after they beat the Americans' two leaders, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas. The Spaniards beat the US duo 3&1, but that was as good as it got.
Sergio! 😘 pic.twitter.com/b6j4igBFza
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) September 24, 2021
The final match of the morning saw Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter facing off with Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay, two seriously in-form players. That certainly looked the cased as the Americans started like a rocket while Poulter and McIlroy struggled.
They lost their first five holes in a row and it was shaping up to be an epic thrashing. Considering how much McIlroy and Poulter have delivered for Europe over the years, this was looking like a big scalp.
— Sky Sports Golf (@SkySportsGolf) September 24, 2021
McIlroy and Poulter shared the next four holes, to reach the turn 5 Down, but they got some momentum together on 10 and 11. A birdie on 10 and a par on the next saw them claw back the deficit by two.
On the par three 12th, McIlroy's approach to the 143-yard hole was excellent. He put the ball in the centre of the green and just 12 feet away, gving Poulter a look at birdie.
Schauffele was next up and needed to answer back, to stop the Europeans from wedging their foot in the door. His answer was sublime. It was emphatic.
The 2020 Olympics gold medallist landed the ball within a foot of the hole and almost stopped it dead. It eventually was just over two-feet from the hole, and had the Americans at Whistling Straits in raptures.
As the Americans strode away from the tee-box, one member of Team Europe stepped forward to get a good look at where the two shots had landed. It was Harrington.
He craned his neck, made out how close Schauffele was and drew a sharp in-take of breath. He could barely believe it either.
Cantlay, of course, rolled in the putt. And while Poulter was able to match him, from further out, they remained 3 Down.
Whatever McIlroy or Poulter could muster, the Americans matched or bettered. They made a habit of getting inside the Europeans' green approaches.
The contest, although it was rarely close, went to the 15th but the Americans closed it out to win 5&3.
Elsewhere, Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa defeated Paul Casey and Viktor Hovland 3&2. When Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger beat Lee Westwood and Matt Fitzpatrick, the Americans were 3-1 up heading into the afternoon fourballs.