Ryder Cup 2023 LIVE: Ruthless Rory McIlroy and Matt Fitzpatrick lead by SIX after seven


Follow Mail Sport’s live blog as Ryder Cup 2023 gets underway on day one at the Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome.

Cool as you like!

Hatton hits a birdie on 11! A stunning putt up hill, reading the slope perfectly.

But it’s cancelled out by Spieth who’s chip on had put him within a couple of feet from the hole, and he makes no mistake to also card a birdie.

Clark drifts his putt wide, but he can still card a birdie

It’s a long putt but it just catches the edge of the hole on nine. Clark has putted well so far today but he can’t quite card an eagle to take the win.

He still has a pretty good chance to win the hole, if he can tap in for birdie – with the pressure now on MacIntyre, who must tap his shot in to halve the hole.

But he misses, with the ball coasting right of the hole!

Advantage USA! And Clark makes no mistake putting him and Homa 2 up.

Homa and Clark are playing very well!

With Clark on the green, Homa’s just chipped out of the sand at the front of the ninth hole to put his ball not too far off the pin.

He’ll have a good shot in as an insurance for Clarke, who’s stunning second shot gives him a chance for an Eagle.

Big outburst from Rahm!

The Spaniard is not happy with his tee shot on the 10th finding the rough on the left side of the fairway. He throws his tee on the ground before shouting an expletive.

He’ll have a tough shot back into the green from there.

Meanwhile, Robert MacIntyre in group three has just slung an excellent appraoch to a couple of yards from the pin on the 9th. A great shot that’ll give him a chance to get one back against Homa and Clark!

Koepka: ‘We’re all one team’

Brooks Koepka is one of the in-form players on the US Team right now. On the course his golf over the past few years has been a joy to watch.

But his career of late has been plagued by injuries, notably undergoing surgery on a gruesome knee injury that notably left him struggling to walk and even crouch down to read greens back in 2019. Koepka recently opened up on the hellish recovery he also had to go through to get back to the top of the game.

Had it not been for that injury, it is likely we would have been talking about him winning more major titles. And it is great to see him performing at his best again. The 33-year-old, who has two US Open titles and a PGA Championship under his belt, will be a player Zach Johnson undoubtedly will be looking at to get points on the board this week. That is some pressure.

But as Mail Sport’s Riath Al-Samarrai puts it, Koepka is worth his weight in gold not just for his brilliance with the club in hand, but for his personality, too.

‘I feel like I’m representing the USA. That’s what I’ve got on the front of my hat this week, so that’s what I’m representing,’ the American said this week. ‘It’s not a group of individuals in that locker room. We’re just all one team, and that’s the way we think. That’s what I believe, and I’m pretty sure everybody else there thinks that.’

Tommy Fleetwood’s £90 eBay Putter

The Englishman’s putt on the 15th during this morning’s Foursomes was something to behold.

Fleetwood drained a winding putt to save par and keep him and McIlroy in the hunt to halve the hole just as Schauffele and Cantlay applied pressure on the European duo at the end of the match.

His putt would ultimately secure a win for Europe, with both American’s missing their par putts, to give Europe the win with three holes to go.

Fleetwood has experienced a lot of success on the tour this season narrowly coming close to his first PGA Tour title finishing second at the RBC Canadian Open while placing T5 finish at the US Open, too.

But interestingly, his caddie, Ian Finnis bough him a £90 Odyssey 2 Ball putter off eBay earlier this season, which he’s used at points earlier in the season, according to the DP Word Tour and Golf Magic.

While we don’t know if he’s using this putter next week at the Ryder Cup, he’s certainly been in good form with his flat stick, ranking eighth for putting average on the PGA Tour this season.

That was certainly reflected today, with Fleetwood putting away some excellent putts during the Foursomes.

Thomas is growing in confidence!

He’s just hit a brilliant approach on the 10th to the heart of the green and you know he’s bounding in confidence when he spins the club like his old friend Tiger Woods!

Hovland meanwhile sends his approach to the back, while Hatton pulls his shot to the left. They’ve got two tricky shots to come so the advantage might be in the American’s court!

Can Rob MacIntyre get one back on the eighth?

The Scot has a long shot at the hole and he weights his putt very well but it just doesn’t carry.

He and Justin Rose are a hole down right now but it looks like they’ll halve the eighth here with Homa and Clark each having had three shots to reach the green.


Hovland & Hatton v Thomas & Spieth

2 up Rahm & Hojgaard v Scheffler & Koepka

MacIntyre & Rose v Homa & Clark 1 up

6 up McIlroy & Fitzpatrick v Morikawa & Schauffele

If Fitzpatrick can’t win one, McIlroy certainly will!

What a decision from Luke Donald to pair these two last! They’ve been flawless so far going six up, with Matt Fitzpatrick finally letting McIlroy win a hole!

Fitzpatrick can’t put his ball in for birdie, but McIlroy is on hand to cover him claiming the seventh!

American fans slam ‘pathetic’ start from Team USA: ‘You guys need to wake the hell up!’

American golf fans have been reacting to this morning’s whitewash against Europe in the Foursomes.

Zach Johnson’s side struggled against the European’s who came out firing with Jon Rahm and Viktor Hovland dazzling, both chipping in!

But the Americans, who are really the favourites coming into this tournament, couldn’t get any points on the board in the first session, with Europe taking a clean sweep.

US golf fans have been reacting online to the morning session, with some slamming the American team.

Check out the reaction below…

Huge putt from Hovland to save a tie at the ninth!

This is a real battle here. Spieth and Thomas playing very well here with the American’s tapping in for a birdie at the turn.

But Hovland shows his composure to match them, tapping in with an excellent putt for birdie to keep the match all square!

Meanwhile, Collin Morikawa in the final group seems to have put his ball in the drink!

Him and Schauffele are five-down against McIlroy and Fitzpatrick following what’s been a dominant display from the Englishman!

Fitzpatrick hits another birdie! Unbelievable!

Rory McIlroy has a front row seat at the Matt Fitzpatrick show right now. The Englishman is six under through the first six holes, knocking yet another birdie in!

The pressure’s on Morikawa and Schauffele, both with birdie putts, but neither can nail them, with Morikawa’s ball just lipping out on the left side of the hole.

The European’s take a five-hole lead through six!

Patrons flock to watch the Ryder Cup

There were amazing scenes at around 6am this morning as fans flooded through the gates at Marco Simone to secure their seats around the course.

Patrons sprinted to the grand stand to get a seat to watch the players tee off.

It’s been an amazing atmosphere around the course today, especially on the first tee, with fans in full voice!

Mullets are the go for Team US!

Several members of the US Team have been getting into the spirit of the tournament sporting some superb hair cuts this week.

Both Brooks Koepka and Sam Burns arrived at the tournament with a pair of mullets, with Burns shaving ‘USA’ into the side of his head.

But unlike Sir Alex Ferguson’s command to David Beckham to shave off a mohawk in the Old Trafford dressing room before the FA Community Shield back in 2000, Zach Johnson said he wants his team to be comfortable on the course this week.

When questioned on whether he asked Burns to get rid of his mullet, Johnson joked: ‘That was a direct order, yeah!

‘I just don’t have any hair to do it. So they can have fun with it. I’ve got two, three, four guys who have it short on the sides and long in the front and long in the back.

‘You know what, hey, more power to them. Hey, if they are more comfortable, that’s what it’s about.’

Hojgaard wins the seventh!

What a start from the Dane! Two huge birdies at the sixth and now the seventh sees him and Rahm take the lead.

Rory McIlroy can’t believe it! Fitzpatrick wins ANOTHER

McIlroy was just seen laughing on the side of the green as Fitzpatrick tapped in for an eagle, to win his fourth consecutive hole.

The Northern Irishman is cruising along next to the Englishman and couldn’t help but smile as Fitzpatrick putted in another!

They’re 4 up through five against Morikawa and Schauffele with Fitzpatrick just walking them in at the moment!

What a shot from Clark!

He’s 111-yards out, spinning the ball back down the green after a brilliant approach.

He’ll have a nice shot in here for birdie

Spieth can’t put his ball in either!

Up the hill and left he put plenty of pace on it, but gives Hovland a reprieve putting his putt short!

It’s uncharacteristic of the 2017 Open Champion, who if you remember dazzled with the putter on the Sunday at Royal Birkdale to clinch the major.

Tough one for Hovland that!

He misses out on a birdie on the eight with a long putt that just goes wide to the left.

Spieth has a chance to get back to one up here in the first match!

Paddy Power paying out!

Paddy Power have paid out on bets placed on Team Europe to win the Ryder Cup after their dominant start in the Foursomes this morning.

In a statement this morning, the bookmaker said: ‘Thousands of bets were placed on Europe to win with the Irish betting firm, and the hugely generous move will cost Paddy Power a bulky six-figure sum.’

James Cohen has the full story below for Mail Sport…

Clark ties it!

The front thee matches are now all tied.

A great birde from Clark on the fifth sees the US pull one back against MacIntyre and Rose!

Hovland & Hatton v Thomas & Spieth

Rahm & Hojgaard v Scheffler & Koepka

MacIntyre & Rose v Homa & Clark

2 up McIlroy & Fitzpatrick v Morikawa & Schauffele

A big putt from Scheffler!

Scheffler hits a big birdie putt on the sixth to keep the pressure on Hojgaard and Rahm!

But Hojgaard coolly taps in from his excellent tee shot to keep things tied!

This match is going to go down to the wire!

Three in a row for Fitzpatrick!

Unbelievable! He’s just drained another distance putt on the par 3 fourth hole to claim his third straight birdie!

What a start from the Englishman!

Hovland for the win… and he nails it!

How good is Viktor Hovland playing today?

He’s been sensational and taps in his excellent putt to bring the match back to a tie!

Meanwhile, Nicolai Hojgaard has just followed his elead on the sixth, hitting a fantastic approach, that lands beyond the green but shoots back with a ton of spin!

Hovland hits the green on the 7th

Stretching to 222-yards, this is the longer of the two par 3s on the front nine. But Hovland’s just demolished it. He is a machine with his irons at the moment and has just put his ball to within a few feet of the pin.

Thomas hasn’t done too bad here either, but sits around 15 feet away from the flag, while SPieth and Hatton are both in the rough at the back!

Matt Fitzpatrick is marching on here!

That’s back-to-back wins from Matt Fitzpatrick who’s putter is on fire right now. He’s just sunk another distace putt on the third hole to clinch another birdie and send him and McIlroy 2 up against Morikawa and Schauffele.

Fitzpatrick didn’t feature in the morning foursomes and he’s come out to play this afternoon.

But he’s living up to the name of being one of the best putters on the PGA Tour right now. He sits 3rd in the rankings for total putting and 1st for putts inside five feet, 2nd for putts inside 10 feet.

A big putt from Scheffler to halve the hole!

Koepka and Scheffler are fighting gallantly against Rahm and Hojgaard.

Scheffler knocks in a birdie on the firth to keep things tied!

Thomas claims the 6th!

What a hole from Thomas! He lands the ball on the right side of the green and confidently taps in to make a birdie on the sixth!

I think that’s the first bit of red we’ve seen on the board today, but it’s a huge win and will give Thomas and Spieth plenty of confidence. They’re one up against Hatton and Hovland!

Is Michael Jordan the secret to Europe’s success?

Luke Donald’s side took a 4-0 lead, claiming a white wash in this morning’s Foursomes and some of that might come down to Donald’s unlikely friend Michael Jordan.

Yes that’s right, the Ryder Cup winner and the US basketball star are in fact close friends – for some time in fact.

They’ve been friends since the 90s and live close to eachother in LA, going on holiday together with their families with Jordan giving Donald some advice on how to become the World No 1 golfer back in 2011.

Read more below on how Jordan may be helping to inspire European Ryder Cup success…

Score check

Hovland & Hatton v Thomas & Spieth

Rahm & Hojgaard v Scheffler & Koepka

1 up MacIntyre & Rose v Homa & Clark

1 up McIlroy & Fitzpatrick v Morikawa & Schauffele

Here’s another look at Matt Fitzpatrick’s clutch putt on the first and his birdie on the second!

Big strike from Spieth and Thomas on the sixth!

Two pretty good strikes from the American duo Spieth and Thomas off the par 4 sixth!

Both of them find the short stuff, with Hovland now teeing off with an iron here.

It’s a similar story for the FedEx Cup champion, playing for position, to put himself with a comfortable distance in to the flag.

Hatton’s gone for a hybrid on the 381-yard hole and drops his ball right next to Thomas and Hovland’s.

They’re coming into the turn right now and will soon be facing some of the most decisive holes on the course.

We’ve been doing our research on the course and here are the three holes that could be decisive in winning or losing the Ryder Cup this weekend…

Koepka nearly chips in!

Gosh how did that not drop! Koepka’s just pitched the ball into the hole from a tough patch of rough on the fourth hole!

The ball hits the pin at a decent pace, but it bobbles out agonisingly for the five-time major winner.

Matt Fitzpatrick wins the second!

His putting so far has been excellent, holing a clutch putt on the first before draining a winding 20-footer on the second.

It’s a stunning effort from the 2022 US Open champion, who puts him and McIlroy 1 up against Morikawa and Schauffele through two.

Birdie coming here for Hovland!

The Norwegian is on fire at the moment! His chipping has been emmaculate so far, and he’s just dropped another pitch to within a few feet on the fifth. Surely he can get that down for birdie?!

His partner Hatton, is in the deep lying bunker to the front of the green and manages to save from the hazard, with Thomas also getting out of jail from the sand. He’ll have a good shot in for birdie here too.

Jordan Spieth hits a stunning chip!

What a shot! The Masters champion drains a chip from the fringe of the green to bring the game back to Hovland and Hatton.

Hatton can’t sink his long-range putt to tie the hole, so the American’s will get one back and take the match to evens!

It’s a sensational chip from Spieth though, who dinks the ball out of the first cut, weighting the ball perfectly, before it drops into the hole.

Outstanding play from the Americans and will be a huge confidence boost!

Hovland comes close!

Hovland narrowly misses out on pulling Europe in front on the fourth. He slides a birdie putt to within three feet of the hole on the fifth to put the pressure back on the US Team to make par.

And his man Fitzpatrick makes a big par to halve the first!

With the Americans pressing Fitzpatrick has kept his cool, putting out on the first for a huge par to help keep the final game of the afternoon Fourballs all-square through the first.

John Rahm’s in a spot of bother here on hole three and had a tough lie out of the thick grass, hitting a spectator behind the back of the green.

Him and Hojgaard are one up against Scheffler and Koepka, while MacIntyre and Rose have also gone one-up on the second, with the Scot narrowly missing out on birdie on the third.

Billy Foster gets a standing ovation!

Matt Fitzpatrick, Billy Foster, will make his 15th appearance as a caddie this week at the Ryder Cup.

The patrons in the grand stand gave him a rapturous welcome and he lapped up the applause bowing back to them.

His first Ryder Cup came in 1987 where he caddied for Gordon Brand Jnr. He carried for Seve in 1993 and 1997 before working with Darren Clarke, Lee Westwood and now Fitzpatrick.

Earlier this week, European Captain Luke Donald, presented him with his very own Ryder Cup trophy.

‘Humbled beyond words,’ Foster wrote on Instagram. ‘These weeks will forever be the happiest days of your golfing career with your band of brothers and let’s hope this week is yet another classic.’

So close!

Tyrrell Hatton ALMOST puts himself and Hovland 2 up against Spieth and Thomas on the fourth.

It’s a long putt and his ball lips into the hole and narrowly just trickles out!

Meanwhile, Matt Fitzpatrick and Rory McIlroy have just off in the final group!

Djokovic and Bale watch on in Rome!

‘The perfect start’ – Luke Donald

European Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald says he is enamoured by the way his side have started this morning, clinching all four points in the Fourballs.

He said: ‘It’s the perfect start for us. So happy with the way the guys got out the gate. They got out to leads early on which is paramount in match play. It’s an amazing start but we know the US will be hungry to come back for more, so we need to keep our foot firmly on the pedal.

‘It’s not an easy format foursomes in your first match as a rookie. Sepp, Ludvig, played tremendous golf. This team has great unity and what an amazing start for them.’

Here’s Nicolai Hojgaard’s opening birdie!

A great birdie from Hojgard!

Hojgard hits a monster putt to card a birdie on the first hole from around 30 feet out to put Europe a hole up in the match.

He snakes the ball down hill and into the cup and fist bumps the air.

Koepka tries to replicate the shot from a similar distance, but can’t quite manage it.

Meanwhile, Hovland and Hatton are 1 up through two holes against Spieth and Thomas.

Group three teeing off!

Justin Rose makes his return to the Ryder Cup!

Having been absent from Whistling Straits in 2021, he’ll come back into the fold to play his sixth Ryder Cup this week.

And he boasts an impressive record, winning 14 points of the 23 matches he’s played.

Meanwhile, Robert MacIntyre makes his debut at the tournament today. He’s just sent a superb drive straight down the middle of the fairway to get his tournament off to a brilliant start.

Rose follows, and it’s a monster strike, with the fans in the grandstand giving him a raucaus cheer.

They’ll square off against Max Homa and US Open champion Wyndham Clark. But it’s an interesting pairing choice from Johnson, with this being their debuts at the tournament.

Despite that it’s two good drives from them both on the first!

Hojgaard on the green in two!

A great second shot out of a difficult bunker for the Ryder Cup rookie.

Nicolai Hojgaard comes into Luke Donald’s side as a captain’s pick after a stellar season on the pro tours, notably coming third at the D + D Czech Masters at the end of August.

His twin brother, Rasmus, has also had an excellent season on the DP World Tour, but didn’t quite make it into Luke Donald’s Ryder Cup playing team.

But he’s been spotted at the tournament this week and seems to have been working as a cart driver!

Here comes Brooks – The only LIV Golf player in the field

Right, the next group is teeing off and its a big one.

Jon Rahm and Nicolai Hojgaard are going up against Scottie Scheffler and Brooks Koepka – and it’s the American’s to go first.

After a tough morning, Scheffler is first up and sends his ball wide left. The ball seems to have plugged in the rough.

Koepka hits a massive drive straight down the middle and gives himself an excellent shot in from there.

Hojgaard outguns him putting his shot in the bunker 160 yards from the green, while Rahm is up with Koepka down the middle.

The pair will square off in a big battle today after the Spaniard trumped the American at the 2023 Masters earlier this year.

‘I’ve got a lot of hungry guys and a lot of guys that accept and want adversity’ – Johnson

Following the morning session, Zach Johnson said that there was plenty of golf still to play during the tournament and backed Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas to help the American’s turn the tide on Europe.

‘We’re really only, I don’t know how you look at it, two, two and a half holes into an 18 hole day,’ he said.

‘Even front nine of a golf tournament. There’s ample opportunity out there. I’ve got a lot of hungry guys and a lot of guys that accept and want adversity and I’ve got thee upmost confidence in them.

‘It’s about doing what they do, staying committed and I feel like we’ve got the right guys to do that.

‘Hats off to the European team. They’re playing quality golf, they’re making a lot of shots. But like I said there’s still a lot of opportunity.

Spieth and Thomas are two of the most experienced players in the US Team and are notably good friends.

Johnson said on the duo who are currently in action against Viktor Hovland and Tyrrell Hatton: ‘They’re experienced, they know what to do and know what adversity is about and know how to flip things.

‘They’re champions in their own right and know how to flip things.They’re great friends and team-mates and it was a pretty easy decision.’

Schauffele unphased by Europe’s fast start

Despite going down by four points, Xander Schauffele said he was not worried after his match and claimed his side would come out hungry for the win in the Fourballs.

‘Yeah, no, it was just the first go-around here. We’ll have to make some adjustments across the board. We’ll be fine. Not sweating it.

‘Yeah, I’m not worried. Our team is deep. These boys will come out hungry these next matches.’

‘That was right up there’: McIlroy on his clutch shot on the 17th

McIlroy struck a beautiful tee shot on the 206-yard par 3 17th hole, dropping his ball just. acouple of feet from the flag to give his playing partner Fleetwood an easy shot for birdie.

The Merseyside man wrapped up the match tapping the ball in, to claim Europe’s fourth point, and afterwards, McIlroy admitted it was one of the best shots he’s hit.

‘I have hit a lot of good shots in my time,’ McIlroy said. ‘That’s right up there. I didn’t know how close Patrick had hit his but I just wanted to give Tommy a chance to at least stay 1 UP going down the last.

;I was pretty certain we weren’t going to go down the last, but if I keep hitting iron shots like that, then I’m going to have a pretty good week.’

We’re underway!

Thomas stripes an excelleent drive down the middle, a great start from the two-time PGA Championship winner.

Spieth, who won the Masters in 2015, pulls his tee shot wide left towards the patrons on the rope, while Hovland follows suit.

Meanwhile, Hatton edges his into a bunker on the right of the fairway!

Meanwhile in the European locker room, Novak Djokovic has just asked for a picture with Tommy Fleetwood!

Right here we go! Here come the Fourballs!

Some big changes coming in now for the US Team.

It’s old friends Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth who will come out first against Viktor Hovland and Tyrrell Hatton.

Hovland and Hatton both played brilliantly this morning, but they’re up against an experienced pair of players that have five major championships between them.

Questions were raised at Thomas’ inclusion at the tournament, having endured a tough year on the PGA Tour, missing the cut at the Open, the US Open and the Masters this year.

Yet his pedigree at this tournament, with a record of 6-2-1 overall – 2-2-0 in the Fourballs, means hes a player you don’t want to miss off your team.

How does Fleetwood Mac compare to Molliwood?

Ending Schauffele and Cantlay’s 5-0-0 streak in the Fourseomes at the Ryder Cup, McIlroy and Fleetwood put forward a resolute display today, claiming the final point for Team Europe, winning their match 2 &1.

Speaking on how his relationship with McIlroy is compared to Fracesco Molinari, from their successful pairing in 2021, the Englishman lumped praise on his Foursomes playing partner.

Fleetwood said after the round: ‘Just keep picking your partners, that’s the secret. Obviously playing with Rory is a dream for anybody, and I was the one that got to do that this morning.

‘Yeah, we’ve known we are going to play together for a while and just getting out there, felt like we actually played very, very good and felt like we were in control all the way.

‘Obviously there are turning points and we needed one towards the end but yeah, just pleased to play with another great partner.’

Four points on the board! Who saw that coming?

Wow! An enthralling morning might be an understatement!

The quality of golf that we’ve seen this morning, particularly considering this was in the Foursomes format, was seriously impressive.

Europe seemed to gel much more than the Americans and Luke Donald got his pairings spot on.

Rahm and Hatton set the tone and really played well together against Scheffler and Burns.

Hovland was a stand out today. His chipping game, bar one shot on the fourth, has been sensational so far today, nearly chipping in on multiple occasions.

Lowry and Straka have struck up a great partnership, but Fowler spurred Morikawa on to a late charge and put plenty of pressure on the Europeans.

And it was a couple of moments of class that saw Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy pick up the final point of the morning.

What now for Luke Donald?

Well they will need to guard against complacency, with Johnson set to bring in some more firepower, with Thomas, Spieth and Koepka all coming into play.

Paul McGinley said to Sky Sports: ‘It’s important that Luke Donald just calms everything down and we get back into focusing and don’t get carried away on a great morning.

‘Johnson has put some big guns up top and now he’s asking his big players, “okay guys, we’re in a hole and you need to find a way of getting us out of the hole.” Those first two matches are absolutely key and they’ve got to find a way of getting out of that hole.’

Scheffler: ‘They didn’t make bogeys’

Rahm and Hatton were very consistent today. It was an enthralling morning agaisnt Scheffler and Burns, but the World No 1 conceded that himself and his playing partner could not get birdies on the board today.

Scheffler said after his round: ‘Yeah, it was fun. The atmosphere was pretty wild. I wish the match obviously would have gone a little better for us today but Jon and Tyrrell played great. They didn’t make any bogeys.

‘They made probably five or six birdies, so in alternate-shot they just playing really solid. Sam and I weren’t able to get enough looks for birdie, but yeah, just get a little rest and get ready to go this afternoon.’

On his partnership with Burns he said: ‘Yeah, like I said, we fought pretty hard. We had I good chance to get some momentum there. We birdied 6 to get back to 1 down and came back and Jon hit it to a foot on 7. Made two great pars on 8 and 9, making putts to halve a hole.

‘And 10 it looked like we were going to have a chance to win and Jon ends up chipping in. I make my putt to halve the hole but they birdie the next two. It was tough out there. They played really good. We just weren’t able to get the looks to have some putts to win holes and really flip the match. They took control and just played good.’

And that’s a clean sweep for Europe!

McIlroy and Fleetwood complete the clean sweep, beating Schauffele and Cantla 2 & 1 to win the final match of the morning!

Despite a spirited comeback from the Americans, bringing the deficit down to one hole with two to play, a moment of magic from Fleetwood with the putter and some pinpoinot accuracy on the 17th tee from McIlroy proved the difference.

Reflecting on McIlroy’s drive on the seventeenth, I don’t think he could have hit it any sweeter! WHAT A SHOT!

Shane Lowry and Sepp Straka jump to their feet

The rest of the European team are sat in with the patrons watching Fleetwood Mac come in here.

Lowry and Straka were the first to their feet jumping up and down in excitement at the superb shot from McIlroy!

The atmosphere out there is electric.

Meanwhile, Schauffele has a chance to put the pressure on, but cannot tap in!

Rory McIlroy take a bow!

Pinpoint from McIlroy, right when he and Fleetwood needed it! He winds up and hits his tee shot on the 206-yard par 3 17th at the flag and lands it within a couple of feet.

Fleetwood will put for birdie here.

Afternoon pairings are in! Spieth and Thomas make their first appearance

11:25am – Hovland & Hatton v Thomas & Spieth

11:40am – Rahm & Hojgaard v Scheffler & Koepka

11:55am – MacIntyre & Rose v Homa & Clark

12:10pm – McIlroy & Fitzpatrick v Morikawa & Schauffele

Who’s winning this afternoon’s groups then?

Cantlay and Schauffele aren’t letting up!

Fleetwood Mac go back down to 1 up!

Cantlay and Schauffele are not going down without a fight here!

They rally again to win the 16th with the Olympic champion tapping in to pull one back!

Tommy Fleetwood’s clutch putt

Drama unfolded on the 15th as Europe somehow managed to swing momentum to turn the tide on Schauffele and Cantlay, thanks in part to a moment of class from Tommy Fleetwood…

‘We dodged a few bullets’: Shane Lowry reflects on winning start

Ireland and Austria combined today to put Europe’s third point on the board at the Ryder Cup.

Shane Lowry and Sepp Straka came through to beat Rickie Fowler and Collin Morikawa, who put up a huge fight late on.

Speaking on the win, Lowry said: ‘[This is a] Huge moment. Obviously its early days yet but I wanted to give Sepp his moment in the first Ryder Cup to have a winning putt. But it’s huge we’re off to a great start this morning and we’re off to a winning start and just need to keep the foot down. Myself and Sepp gelled well today and I enjoyed myself.’

Straka makes his first Ryder Cup appearance this week, and said on the experience so far: ‘Unbelievable. Can’t really even describe it, the expectations didn’t even come close!’

The pair have gelled really well today and Lowry commended his playing partner after the win: ‘We’ve probably known for a couple of weeks that we might go out together. We’re similar types of people but I’m a bit more firey, Sepp’s a bit more laid back.

‘So we enjoyed it out there and we played some good golf. We dodged some bullets especially around 10, 11 and 12. But look you’re going to have that in match play and you just have to dig deep. And we did. I would have liked to have closed the match earlier, but it’s nice to put a point on the board for Europe.’

Lowry and Straka claim match three!

What a performance from Lowry and Straka! They defeat Rickie Fowler and Collin Morikawa 2 & 1 in an excellent display.

Both performed brilliantly out there with Straka tapping in the final putt before fist bumping the air and recieving a huge hug from his playing partner, Lowry.

Schauffele MISSES!

The pressure went back to Schauffele who had a much shorter put to make par and halve the hole but he misses!

McIlroy and Fleetwood, from looking like they might lose the hole, go 2 up.


Tommy Fleetwood take a bow!

That was a superb pressure putt down hill on 15th from over 20 feet to make par and hang on to their lead!

Cantlay goes close!

It’s a birdie putt, but he misses by the barest of margins!

They’re really mounting the pressure on Fleetwood and McIlroy here.

Fleetwood’s got a tricky putt here though, he must sink this for par to halve the hole!

Straka and Lowry drop a hole

They’re back down to 2 up, with Morikawa and Fowler mounting a late charge here!

Straka has just teed off on the 17th and found the putting surface, with Morikawa landing his drive short of the green.

Lowry will be putting for the match here!

Cantlay and Schauffele ramping up the pressure

Slowly, they’ve been creeping up on McIlroy and Fleetwood. The European duo have slowly let them back in this match and they’re putting the pressure on!

McIlroy and Fleetwood may be rueing a couple of missed chances to extend their lead just after the turn and heading into the home straight now it’ll be interesting to see whether the American’s can get another back.

‘We got outplayed’: Brian Harman

Speaking after their defeat to Viktor Hovland and Ludvig Aberg, Brian Harman admitted he and Max Homa were simply out played this morning.

Reflecting on the morning, Harman said: ‘Yeah just got outplayed. They out-executed us. Rest up and get ready for the next match.

Homa added: ‘Yeah, obviously they played really well. We didn’t have a ton of opportunities, and when we did, unfortunately we didn’t capitalise. I mean, they played really good.’

Here’s Hovland’s chip on the 15th

Meanwhile we still have two groups left to finish up this morning.

Tommy Fleetwood’s just plaed a blinding putt on hole 14, winding it around the slope but can’t quite get the birdie.

But Schauffele has the chance to pull one back here with a 15-foot putt and sinks it! It’s back to 1 up in that match.

Meanwhile, Lowry is teeing up on the 16th and sends his shot well right, missing the water and missing the patrons. Straka will have a tough shot in – from quite some distance.

‘You lose your s***’: Hovland reacts to his amazing first hole chip in

Viktor Hovland admits that he ‘lost his s***’ when he chipped in on the first hole.

Hovland on his chip in on the first hole: ‘It wasn’t the most ideal spot and I knew it was doable and it’s just one of those things that you hit a good shot and it goes in and you lose your s*** and that was a good start and we kept the hammer down.’

Aberg on his first Ryder Cup: ‘The crowd’s been unbelieveable today and we can really feel that support. And that’s what we need to keep winning points here and it was a lot of fun today.’

Hovland says the crowd made a huge difference today: ‘Yeah it was such a big difference compared to Whistling Straits. Normally I keep my head down and play but I’m trying to get the crowds going and just use them because they want you to play well and to support you. So It’s such a good start and we’re going to keep going.’

Hovland and Aberg claim match two!

Another huge 4 & 3 victory for the Europeans, and Hovland finishes off how he started, putting the ball to within inches of the hole with his wedge.

He’s been phenomenal today and his chip on the first hole really set this pairing up to win today.

Aberg equally his impressed. His game with the flat stick today has been pivotal in helping them get the win.

Europe claim match one!

What a display from Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton. They beat Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns with three holes to play, halving the 15th hole to earn Europe’s first point of the tournament.

From Hatton’s excellence in approach, to Rahm’s chip in on the tenth.

Rahm: ‘Extremely satisfying. I’ve had a good feeling about Tyrrell all along. Last year we played together and it really felt good. It was good to come out here and see him play the way he did and us play the way we did. It was an incredible foursome’s match.’

Hatton: The atmosphere out there this morning was incredible. Tee to green I was fairly solid. But naturally I was disappointed by some of the putts I missed. But ultimately we won our point and that was our goal.’

Rickie Fowler WHAT A PUTT!

It’s about 30 feet out from the hole, up hill and sloping from left to right, and Fowler hits an inch perfect putt to win the par 3 13th hole bringing the deficit back down to two.

That’ll do wonders the American pair’s confidence, with Fowler nailing what might be the first big putt for the American’s so far today.

That was close!

Great putt from Shane Lowry, winding his ball down the green on the third hole, with the ball narrowly lipping out of the hole.

Aberg makes it FOUR

The European’s really are in full flow now, with Aberg putting out on the 14th to give himself and Hovland a 4-hole lead.

Tyrrell hatton goes long from the sand!

Hatton and Rahm are really driving on now. They’re four-up agaisnt Scheffler and Burns through 14 holes.

And Hatton, who found himself playing from a bunker nearly 200 yards back from the green has just played one of the shots of the day, striking the ball out of the sand trap and onto the green from a blind view.

Another European win!

McIlroy taps in the resulting putt on the 11th to give him and Fleetwood a 2-hole lead!

Tommy Fleetwood goes close!

On top of a hill, Fleetwood hits his pairing’s second shot narrowly close to the hole. It’s a stunning shot that narrowly just rolls past the cup.

But Europe still have a chance to score a birdie here, with Cantlay lining up his third shot from some distance on the green here.

He winds his putt around the slope, and it’s an excellent read from distance, but it doesn’t quite find the hole, with McIlroy able to putt-out here to take a 2-hole lead.

Europeans approximately 12 under par, American’s approximately 2 over par

McIlroy and Fleetwood just miss out on going 2 up with Schauffelee halving the hole on 10.

Scheffler & Burns s Rahm & Hatton 2 up thru 13

Homa & Harman vs Hovland & Aberg 3 up thru 12

Fowler & Morikawa vs Lowry & Straka 3 up thru 11

Schauffele & Cantlay vs McIlroy & Fleetwood 1 up thru 10

Hatton goes close!

Down hill from around 180-yards, Hatton plays a short iron and makes a huge divot around three feet out from the hole! What a superb effort from the Englishman who’s game has been dialled in so far today!

They’re still 4 up against Scheffler and Burns, who have placed their ball on the green from the left rough.

Schauffele gets lucky! McIlroy goes down the slope!

Schauffele gets lucky and his ball isn’t in the drink.

Cantlay hacks it out as McIlroy’s ball can’t find the green and rolls back down the fairway on the 10th.

The Americans are struggling for momentum here and Max Homa has just failed to make a birdie putt on 12 to get a hole back against Hovland and Aberg!

The Americans have struggled with their putting so far today – could that be down to some of Luke Donald’s tactics?

Mail Sport exclusively reported last week that the Europeans had asked grounds staff to slow the greens down.

Missed opportunity!

That’s a big miss from Tyrrell Hatton. They had a chance to go 5 up there but his putt drifts left of the hole and he’ll now have to tap it in for a half.

A lot of players leaking right on the 10th

Xander Schauffele has just pushed a 3-wood right on the 10th hole!

Advantage Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood, with the Englishman on the tee, and he likes it! The ball’s gone straight down the middle of the fairway and he’ll have opened up the green on the dog-leg right par 4.

No Tiger this year

One man who’s been everpresent in US Ryder Cup teams of years gone by is Tiger Woods. He participated in the 1997, 1999, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2010, 2012 and 2018 events.

His record may not be the best, sitting at 13-21-3, but Tiger certainly boasts bags of experience at the tournament and has been utilised by captains in the past, notably helping Jim Furyk at Whistling Straits in 2021, to help impart some knowledge to the US Team.

While the 47-year-old is not present this week at the tournament as a player or vice-captain, Zach Johnson revealed earlier this week that Woods has been playing a role behind the scenes in the run up to the tournament.

When asked whether Tiger will be making a last-minute trip to Rome, Johnson said in his captains press conference: ‘No Tiger will not be joining us in Italy he’s got a lot on his plate. But as far as conferring and communicating with him we have up to this point.

‘And he understands that now our feat are on the ground it’s probably best that we navigate this ourselves but he is always in our corner. At this point its more encouragement on his side, whether he’s texting the guys or texting us captains and vice captains because he’s very invested in what we do year-in year-out with Team USA. And that has never ceased. And I’m grateful for that.

‘He’s the best player of our generation and thankfully he’s an American. We’re going to utilise his knowledge and his wisdom, candour and passion as best as we can.

‘When it comes to the week of the tournament, if you’re not in on it, inside the team room, inside the ropes, shoulder to shoulder it’s not fair to ask him questions. He can give us insights, don’t get me wrong, at the same time I don’t think that’s proper and I think he would understand completely.’

Recap on Hovland’s stunning hole-in-one from yesterday’s practise!

Perhaps the wrong day, but Hovland has followed that up today with some excellent golf, chipping in on the first hole!

Tommy and Rory might not be out of this one yet…

Fleetwood’s shot out of the rough didn’t land in as difficult of a lie as first thought.

McIlroy is pitching from the second cut still, but he gets the ball up and out and lands it on the green. Some excellent scrambling from the pair and a putt for par will be a great reward.

Rory is not in the water!

McIlroy’s didn’t drop into the lake after all! But fleetwood has a horrid shot out of the rough here, I can’t see his feet!

He chunks it out taking a ton of grass with the shot, landing the ball in a bunker just off the green!

Schauffele’s just taken full advantage of the European’s troubles, putting his ball just right of the green.

It looks like Fleetwood and McIlroy might concede this one.

While we’re on the subject of McIlroy and Lowry…

The pair were spotted cheering on Ireland last week as Andy Farrell’s side claimed a huge victory agains the Springboks at the Rugby World Cup…

Shane Lowry goes wayward too!

Not a good five minutes for Lowry and McIlroy. Lowry’s just sent his tee shot on the tenth hole into the stream that winds around the fairway.

They hold a four-hole lead against the Fowler and Morikawa, and could this be a chance for them to get one back?

Fowler stripes a lovely drive straight down the middle.

McIlroy in the lake?

That is not a good drive from Rory McIlroy on the ninth. He drops his club after he hits the stroke and looks disappointed in himself, sending the ball way wide down the left towards a big body of water.

I didn’t see the splash but it looks as though that’s where the ball’s gone.

Meanwhile, Olympic champion Schauffele sends his drive down the middle of the fairway – they’ll take the advantage here.

How are your predictions holding up so far?

There’s still a long way to go yet, but Team Europe have gotten off to a dream start so far…

Scheffler & Burns s Rahm & Hatton 2 up

Homa & Harman vs Hovland & Aberg 3 up

Fowler & Morikawa vs Lowry & Straka 4 up

Schauffele & Cantlay vs McIlroy & Fleetwood 1 up

Shane Lowry is loving the atmosphere here

He’s just put himself and Straka 4 up against Morikawa adn Fowler.

They’re showing their dominance and have now won the last three holes!

Europe are looking really good so far on day one.

Cantlay in the drink!

That is very uncharacteristic of the 2021 FedEx Cup champion! He’s just sent his ball slpashing into the lake on the 8th hole. McIlroy and Fleetwood will be looking to take the advantage here!

McIlroy puts his drive on the right side, opting to play safe, with Fleetwood putting the pressure on Schauffele, landing his ball on the green. But the American does well, dropping the penalty shot over the lake and onto the green.

But Scheffler replies with a HUGE putt!

The tension in this opening group is building! Despite Rahm’s brilliance, Scottie Scheffler is not letting Europe take a three-hole lead, showing off some brilliance of his own.

The world No 1 makes an excellent putt under pressure to halve the hole and what a putt it was considering the circumstances.

That will do wonders for the American pair’s confidence, with Rahm now teeing off on the 11th – putting his shot onto the green with a simply outstanding shot up the hill.

Jon Rahm take a bow!

After nearly holing out earlier today, Jon Rahm has just chipped in on the tenth hole!

There’s a reason why he’s the 2023 Masters Champion and unless the American’s can drop the ball in the hole with what is a difficult putt, he’ll have put himself and Hatton three-up!

He hoists his fist in the air to the crowd as cheers go up around the tenth!

Stunning putt from Aberg – they go 3 up!

Hovland puts the ball on the green and Aberg puts it away to give Europe a three-hole advantage in the second group.

The pair are really gelling well out on the course at the moment and Aberg, a rookie this year, is playing out of his skin considering he’s only been playing on the pro tours for less than a year.

Missed opportunity!

Fleetwood has a chance to put himself and McIlroy 2 up, but he misses a 15-foot putt, by the barest of margins! The ball literally trickled by the hole!

Will they come to rue that mistake?

‘Very un-scottie Scheffler’: Dame Laura Davies

He’s got an approach of 178 to the pin on the 10th, but he undercooks it, with the ball dropping on the lip of the green and rolling back down the fairway.

Rahm is in a difficult position here with the ball below his feet on the left rough. He uses his power to chunk it out and misses an opportunity to get the ball back on the fiarway, sending his shot over to the far right rough – with the ball narrowly stopping before going out of bounds.

Score update: Europe up in three matches

Scheffler & Burns s Rahm & Hatton 2 up

Homa & Harman vs Hovland & Aberg 2 up

Fowler & Morikawa vs Lowry & Straka 3 up

Schauffele & Cantlay vs McIlroy & Fleetwood 1 up

Everybody has been talking about the crazy rough at Marco Simone

As a standard with the majors and some of the toughest tracks on the pro tours, the rough always presents a grueling and unrelenting challenge.

The problem this week at the Marco Simone course is that the fairways are very narrow and there’s little margin for error. Accuracy is key and perhaps that will favour Team Europe this week – who hold an advantage in their driving accuracy against the Americans, who perhaps have a little more firepower than Luke Donald’s side.

We’ve been out on the course checking out the lay of the land and we were lucky not to lose our Pro V1 balls in the thick stuff.

Taking a wedge out of the 3rd cut will be a tough challenge this week, so staying on the fairways, particularly in the Foursomes will be vitally important to getting points on the board this week.

Scheffler does really well out of the rough

It looks like the Americans took a drop here after Burns put an approach in the water.

Scheffler finds himself on the banks of the hazard on the ninth hole with the ball above his feet right in the thick of the rough.

The ball is totally submerged here but he shows why he’s right now topping the OWGR rankings, lofting his shot up into the air and dropping it right onto the green.

It’s another hole to Europe

Morikawa and Fowler go down by another, with Morikawa failing to halve a pressure putt on the seventh.

Europe up in all four groups

It’s been a dream start for Luke Donald’s side. As of right now they’re up in all four groups.

The American’s are fighting back but are not quite clicking through the front nine.

Sam Burns has just found the water on the ninth which could be a big set back for Zach Johnson’s side, while Hatton gives Rahm a chance to pitch on here and take the advantage putting his approach just right of the green.

Elsewhere, McIlroy halves on the fifth to keep their advantage in their match against Schauffele and Cantlay, while Aberg finds the green from over the lake at the 8th.

Here’s how McIlroy gave him and Fleetwood the lead…

24-time Grand Slam winner in the house!

Novak Djokovic was in action earlier this week along side Gareth Bale in the pro-am event!

The 24-time Grand Slam winner, who recently claimed victory at the US Open in New york jokingly pulled out a tennis racket on the first tee!

He was an integral part in helping Colin Montgomerie’s side claim victory against Corey Pavin’s team earlier this week, with Djokovic impressing with his driving.

Scheffler needs to make this putt

He’s got a ten foot shot to tie the eighth hole – but the world No 1 makes no mistake.

He drops the ball in the cup to keep the deficit against Rahm and Hatton to just two holes.

Tommy Fleetwod hits the green!

An excellent shot on the par 3 fourth from Fleetwood sees the Merseyside man drop his ball right on the middle of the green – he’s set McIlroy up well for a great putt in here.

Meanwhile, on the par three 7th, Hovland’s just dropped his ball on the dance floor too. Europe’s approach play from under 225 yards has been excellent so far today.

Here’s how close Rahm nearly came to an Ace!

There have only ever been SIX hole-in-ones in the history of the Ryder Cup and Rahm came narowly close.

He could have joined an illustrious club of names which includes, Peter Butler in 1973, Nick Faldo in 1993, Costantino Rocca and Howard Clark in 1995, and Paul Casey and Scott Verplank in 2006 at the K Club in Ireland

Cantlay goes close!

He nearly breaks the deadlock with a beautiful winding putt on the third hole – but it can’t work it’s way back roundto the hole.

Meanwhile, Shane Lowry is playing some stunning golf, putting an approach over the lake on the 5th to within 5 feet!

Morikawa drives the green on the 5th, Burns goes wayward

Morikawa’s set Fowler up for a good chip on here on the short par 4 fifth hole.

Meanwhile, Burns has struck his shot wayward left on six. It’s over by the river that streaks down the left side of the fairway and will be a tough shot for Scheffler to come back from here.

Scores so far

If you’re just joining us, bienvenido! It’s been some morning at Marco Simone with plenty of action so far. Europe have started the better of the two sides and currently lead in three of the groups – but the US Team are fighting back!

Scheffler & Burns vs Rahm & Hatton 2 up

Homa & Harman vs Hovland & Aberg 1up

Fowler & Morikawa vs Lowry & Straka 2 up

Schauffele & Cantlay vs McIlroy & Fleetwood

Lowry and Straka take the lead through four!

And they’re 2 up now, Lowry plays a brilliant tee shot on the on the par 3 putting the ball within 5 feet of the hole and Staka finishes off to add to their lead against Fowler and Morikawa.

Hovland and Aberg have a reprieve

An error on the fifth gives the Americans a chance to halve the hole, but Open Champion Brian Harman has a tough putt from around 15 feet to level – but he puts it wide!

Hovland and Aberg retain the lead!

Rahm hits the pin!

The accuracy of Team Europe this morning has been unbelievable!

He’s just sent a lofted wedge right the way down the par 3 seventh and nearly holed out!

That’s the second time Europe have hit the flag stick this morning!

USA coming back here!

An excellent chip on from Rickie Fowler on the fourth puts him and Morikawa in a prime spot to get one back against Lowry and Straka.

He’s been in flying form this season after a couple of difficult years on the PGA Tour claiming his first win since the 2014-15 season at the Rocket Mortgage classic and its great to see him back firing again.

‘My players like it’: Zach Johnson reveals his players are enjoying the course lay out

Even so, it seems the US Team Captain is backing his players to overcome the obstacles this course possesses.

The 47-year-old, who has a record of 8-7-2 across five Ryder Cup appearances as a player, is seemed confident this week that his team would be able to overcome the difficulties of Marco Simone, but wasn’t getting ahead of himself either, admitting it will be tricky out there especially when playing off the rough.

‘I think it’s a challenge for anybody that hits it in there,’ Johnson said during the captain’s press conference this week.

‘I mean, it is penal. It’s difficult. I feel like fairways are a premium but you could probably say that any given week.

‘Whether it’s bermuda or bent or fescue or bluegrass, you know, you’ve still got to keep that ball in the fairway, and maybe more so here. But I think it’s well-defined.

‘I think it is for the most part, with a couple blind shots but that’s Marco Simone. That’s not the setup. I think for the most part, it’s right out in front of you, which is all you can ask for in a test.

‘And I think the most important factor that I’m confident in is my guys really like it. That makes it — I mean, if you want to play it, that helps a lot.’

Here’s how Shane Lowry celebrated Viktor Hovland’s epic chip

And it’s Aberg who nearly chips in!

Following suit of his partner, Aberg Almost chips in from the rough on the fourth, with his ball coasting narrowly by the hole.

But some composed play from Homa and Harman sees them get back to level ground, with Aberg and Hovland conceding the fourth.

What a match this has been so far!

Hows the course playing?

This week, the Marco Simone course will play as a par 71 stretching, to an impressive 7181 yards, a pretty long distance, but one that the players will be used to.

For context, the Torrey Pines south course, the site of the 2021 US Open stretched to a whopping 7765 yards, one of the longest tracks on the PGA Tour, while Augusta National spans to around 7510 yards.

And it will be hard to score this weekend. The course is set up with three par 5s and four par 3s, with the players being welcomed onto the front nine by a trio of par 4s.

Combining the distance, the heat and the undulating terrain and this course is set to be a real caddie killer – there are plenty of hills and blind shots out there, so staying hydrated during the long days will be key.

It’s expected to be around 30ºC today, which will inevitably have an impact on the ball with the heat helpoing the ball carry further.

The course starts with a 445 yard par 4, with the green being well-protected on the the first hole which dog legs slightly left. A good start will be needed, with players to face an enormous 506 yard par 4 on the second, one of the hardest holes out there, which challenges players with a dog leg left.

The first par 3 comes in at the fourth hole. Stretching to 188 yards, the pin placement here will be pivotal – with it set up down the left side of the green then players will have a much easier chance to score birdie or better.

A 302 yard par 4 follows to cap off the first five holes which will again present a good opportunity for those who can drive the green, but the challenge here is the body of water snaking its way along the front-left of the green.

So there are plenty of places to score as well as gain shots at the start of the course but who will take the lead after the first session?

Rahm & Hatton go 2 up! Hovland and Aberg lose a hole

Rahm taps in a 5-footer on the fifth hole to give Europe a 2 hole advantage in their game against Scheffler and Burns.

Meanwhile, Homa and Harman get one back against Hovland and Aberg, after the Norwegian couldn’t quite chip his ball far enough, with it catching in the thick rough on the fringe of the green.

Patrick Cantlay putting for a birdie…

The final group have reached the first green and it’s Cantlay putting for a birdie here, but his shot drifts just wide of the hole.

Xander will have a putt for par here and he drops the ball in.

Fleetwood, meanwhile, halves the hole with a par.

Hovland’s back with the wedge and hits the pin!!

He’s almost chipped in again! And that was narrowly close! The ball has just a bit too much heat on it and it bounces directly back off the flag stick dropping just a couple of feet from the hole.

Hovland really is on fire this morning. What a start.

Scheffler and Hatton can’t take the advantage!

It’s the first par 3 of the day and Hatton has a long putt here to put his pairing 2 up. Its a long shot and he comes narrowly close, but it just drifts wide.

Scheffler meanwhile is less than seven feet away and fluffs his shot! He’s struggled with his flat stick this season, so will that come in to play this weekend?

The hole is halved with Europe 1 up through four in this match.

Schauffele to hit first – but who’s winning this match?

Right back to the first for our final pairing and Xander Schauffele has struck first, sweeping his ball down the left side of the fairway. It’s not a bad drive, but his ball falls just on the periphery of the rough.

It’s McIlroy to hit next, and he goes the other way, landing his ball just on the edge of the first cut.

And we’re in for a blockbuster finish! Both captains have placed some of their best players in the final grouping.

Olympic champion Xander Schauffele and 2021 FedEx Cup winner Patrick Cantlay have plenty of Ryder Cup pedigree between them. They were paired together twice in the Foursomes at Whistling Straits, beating Ian Poulter and McIlroy before being beating Westwood and Fitzpatrick on the Saturday.

Interestingly they went out in the final group on both occasions. But Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood, stalwarts of this competition, are a duo that you just wouldn’t want to bet against.

Hovland is on fire!

The FedEx Cup champion has put his team 2 up against Homa and Harman.

What a start! He drains an excellent putt from 12 feet and high fives Aberg after his excellent approach shot onto the green.

Fleetwood Mac incoming!

To wrap up the groups for this morning’s session, Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy will square off against Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay in an epic battle.

Between them, McIlroy and Fleetwood have 19 points at the Ryder Cup in their careers and they’ll be a tough duo to overcome today.

The Englishman notably paired up with Francesco Molinari in 2018, famously combining forces to win three points at Le Golf National, notably defeating Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau in the Saturday Foursomes with a resounding 5 & 4.

And speaking on the partnership on Thursday, McIlroy said he was hoping to live up to Molinari this weekend in Rome.

McIlroy said: ‘I feel like this as excited and as ready a group as i’ve been a part of. We’re all really relaxed but we know the task at hand. It’s a really strong American team and they have a lot of tough partnerships.

‘We’re going up against one of them tomorrow in Xander and Patrick who have an incredible record.

‘But as Tommy said, how Tommy played in France in his last home Ryder Cup and the partnership he had [with Francesco Molinari] I just hope I can live up to Francesco. If I can live up to Francesco I think we’ll be just okay.’

While Fleetwood and Molinari were dubbed ‘Moliwood’ following their winning partnership at Le Golf National, McIlroy and the Englishman are not wanting to break ‘The Chain’ of European nicknames at Marco Simone. When asked what their pairing will be called this week, McIlroy responded: ‘It’s obvious isn’t it? FleetwoodMac!’

Europe get off to a great start!

Rahm nails his birdie putt on the third hole and puts Europe 1 up in the first match.

Europe really have the momentum this morning and a couple of moments of sheer brilliance have spurred them into second gear.

The Spaniard still has some work to do over this putt, curling the ball down hill to drop it into the hole.

Meanwhile, Fleetwood and McIlroy are walking to the first tee!

Hovland hits the patrons on the second

I think he’s got his club selection sligthly wrong there, or the adrenaline from that amasing chip is still pumping.

He’s got a shot over a bunker from about 180-yards out, but he seems to have put too much on it, with the ball travelling into the patrons at the back of the green. It’ll be a tough chip in for Aberg to recover.

All square in the opening group…

It’s been a cagey start between Scheffler & Burns and Rahm and Hatton.

Neither pairing has taken the advantage yet, with Burns sending an approach on the third hole just ahead of the bunkers on the left of the green.

This could be the time for the Europeans to take advantage, with Hatton putting his shot onto the green.


Sensational stuff from Viktor Hovland.

He’s put Europe 1 up against Homa and Brian Harman.

Not the best drives

It’s Morikawa to hit first and he pushes his golf ball into the second cut on the right. The ball kicks up a bit but it looks pretty submerged in the thick stuff.

The same goes for Sepp Straka, who pulls his drive left and finds the rough on the opposite side of the fairway.

Fowler & Morikawa vs Lowry & Straka

Here comes the next group and its Rickie Fowler and Collin Morikawa to take on Shane Lowry and Sepp Straka!

Rickie Fowler resurgence sees him come into the tournament with plenty of confidence and he’ll pair up with the ever consistent Collin Morikawa. I can see this pairing being a tough one to break down.

But Shane Lowry’s past experience at this tournament is invaluable. He dazzled at Whistling Straits in the singles and the former Open Champion will be able to offer plenty of knowledge to his partnership with Sepp Straka on his first Ryder Cup appearance.

The Austrian is equally brimming in confidence off the back of a win earlier this September at the John Deere Classic.


Unbelievable! Viktor Hovland take a bow!

That was an enormous chip from the fringe of the green. He gets his read absolutely perfect and shows why he is the in-form golfer at the moment, with his shot trickling into the hole.

A huge roar goes up from the patrons and Hovland fist bumps the air!

He gets the first point on the board for Team Europe!

How close was this!

A simply outrageous shot on the first from Scottie Scheffler. There’s a reason why he’s world No 1…

Harmon puts the ball on the green

It’s a good second shot from the Open Champion. He places his ball in the heart of the green.

Aberg follows from the same distance and lands his ball on the green, but slightly to the right hand side. Hovland will have the longer putt in to the hole.

Luke Donald: ‘Two-for-two in fairways – I’m feeling pretty good!’

Luke Donald claims the Ryder Cup is the best team sporting event in the world and is lapping up the atmosphere on the first tee.

‘For me this for me is the best team sporting event in the world, I might be biased – but that’s what I think.

‘Look at the crowds, the energy, the passion, this is what the Ryder Cup is all about.

Speaking on his side’s start, Donald said: ‘Two-for-two in fairways so far. I’m feeling pretty good. My boys are ready. I’m not worried about any of my guys. They’re built for this.’

Two good strikes off the first

Its Homa to hit first and he follows Jon Rahm’s drive earlier sending a lovely fade down to the right side of the fairway. A great start for the duo.

Meanwhile, Hovland follows suit, playing an almost identical shot to open up the first green.

PREVIEW: Homa & Harman vs Hovland & Aberg

The second group is an interesting one and I’m not sure where the points will go here. Ludvig Aberg and Viktor Hovland are both currently in excellent form.

Hovland comes into the week off the back of winning the BMW Championship and the Tour Championship, while Aberg clinched his first win at the Omega European Masters after earning his spot on the PGA Tour earlier in the year.

Brian Harman and Max Homa aren’t without success this season, either. The former’s brilliance at Hoylake will stand him in good stead under the pressure of playing in Europe this week.

While Homa notably triumphed at the notoriously difficult Torrey Pines south course. Like Burns, Homa comes in with some equally impressive putting stats which will play into his favour on the greens at Marco Simone which have been set up to favour the European’s this week.

Incase you missed it, here’s Hovland’s hole-in-one from yesterday…

Hole halved!

Rahm can’t get his shot in to secure the birdie so it’s an opening par for both sides.

Meanwhile, things are about to get underway on the first tee…

Scheffler nearly drains his chip!

That was agonisingly close! Even Viktor Hovland walking out on the first tee, watching the shot on the big screen grimaced as the ball travelled quickly to the hole from around 20-yards out.

It lipped around the hole and was so close to dropping in!

Here comes Ludvig Aberg!

Up next we’ve got Max Homa & Brian Harman vs Viktor Hovland & Ludvig Aberg.

Homa, Harman and Aberg will all be making their debuts at the tournament this weekend, with Aberg, 23, only winning his PGA Tour card this year!

He’s had an excellent season, notably clinching his first win on the DP World Tour at the Omega European Masters – so I’m very excited to see him in action!

It’s Hatton to go first

Scheffler’s drive was a pretty big one, despite falling in the rough on the left side of the fairway.

He’s got a 9-iron in hand and has about 160 yards to the flag, with a great view in here.

And he nails it, landing the ball nicely on the green to give Rahm a shot for a birdie putt.

Burns is up next, and he’s in the thick stuff here – I can’t even see the tops of his shoes!

And he can’t find the green! The ball lands short on the fairway. That’s a big advantage to Europe!

And it’s a great drive!

A big fist bump of relief from Rahm, as he stripes a lovely fade to the right hand side of the first hole, opening up the green for his partner Hatton.

Great start for Europe, let’s see what Sam Burns can do from the rough here!

It’s Scottie Scheffler to get us underway!

Here we go! It’s Scottie Scheffler to get us started. He gets a few ‘Oles’ for his practice swing before addressing the ball.

The pressure he must be feeling right no! He steps up to address the ball and sends his drive slightly left of the fairway, with the ball landing in the second cut.

Jon Rahm will get things going for Europe…

PREVIEW: Scheffler & Burns vs Rahm & Hatton

Both captains have deployed two strong pairings to start, in a bid to get points on the board. World No 1 Scottie Scheffler and WGC Dell Technologies Match Play winner Sam Burns will be a formidable force to stop. It’s a clever pairing from Johnson.

While Scheffler’s putting hasn’t been the greatest so far this season, his partner, Burns, is ranked 9th on the PGA Tour for strokes gained with the flat stick and is first for putts from inside seven feet.

Equally, world No 3 Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton possess a lot of fire power and experience at this event. Their brawn and brilliance combined will make them a great pairing to go out first for Europe.

It’s going to be a big match this, where do you think the points are coming from?

Rahm and Hatton incoming!

Here they come! Team Europe’s first pairing are entering the arena, and they look ready to play.

The pair were seen shaking hands with Tommy Fleetwood on the putting green before walking down the gangway to the first tee. They exchanged a laugh and smile on the way before they were given a rapturous welcome to the arena.

Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns come out to a much different reaction, but there are plenty of USA fans in the house here this morning with cries of ‘USA, USA’ ringing around the grand stand.

Johnson on the first tee…

It’s a mixed reaction for the US Team captain as he steps out into the arena.

He heads over to greet Luke Donald and the pair exchange in a handshake!

Meanwhile, Robert MacIntyre, who is making his first Ryder Cup appearance this week but is not featuring in the Foursomes this morning, is patrons with a thunder clap!

All roads lead to Rome!

… and here we are, we’re less than ten minutes away!

It’s Scottie Scheffler & Sam Burns to head out against Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton first.

It’s a huge group to go out first and will see the World No 1 go head-to-head with the World No 3.

And while we wait for the players, it’s European vice-captain Nicolas Colsaerts who’s getting the fans going here as he’s stood on the first tee.

Cries of ‘Ole Ole Ole’ ring out around the stadium, as Zach Johnson prepares to enter the arena…

Here they come!

Luke Donald is walking into the Coliseum on the fist hole as we speak!

An enormous roar from the crowd goes up for the Ryder Cup captain.

He walks out on his own and gives a big salute to the patrons inside the grand stand arena before heading over to greet the team.

TEAMS RECAP: Donald backs young Guns to triumph in Rome

Unable to pick stalwarts of the tournament, Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, Graeme McDowell and Ian Poulter, Luke Donald has had to look to some younger stars of the game.

Both sides will have new faces on their teams this year and in the European ranks, young star, Ludvig Aberg – who won his PGA Tour card earlier this year – will head up a group of young players looking to win back the trophy in Rome this weekend.

He’ll be joined by Sepp Straka, who also makes his debut in the tournament after a fantastic season on the PGA Tour and DP World Tour, as well as Robert MacIntyre and Nicolai Hojgaard – also making their first appearances at the biennial event.

‘I certainly have a lot of belief in my team,’ Donald, a four-time Cup winner said earlier this week. ‘I know it’s going to be a difficult next few days. The US are very strong and we are coming off our worst defeat ever in a Ryder Cup. They have some great partnerships and have had a lot of success.

‘We have our work cut out but you have to have belief.’

Within the group there are some experienced names. Notable among them is Justin Rose who has five appearances in the tournament, winning 14 points for his team during those appearances. Shane Lowry was a huge figure in the European team last time out at Le Golf National, alongside Tommy Fleetwood and Viktor Hovland, who is perhaps the most in-form golfer on the team sheet right now, clinching the BMW Championship and the Tour Championship to win the FedEx Cup in August.

Then there comes four-time major winner Rory McIlroy and world No 2 Jon Rahm, two golfers who are set to lead Europe this week.

Inside the European Team dressing room…

It’ll be a buzz of excitment and anticipation inside Luke Donald’s Team dressing room right now.

Tommy Fleetwood gave us a sneak peak inside the changing room yesterday, showcasing the Seve Ballasteros murals that align the tunnel the players will walk out from and his very own seat right inside the middle of the dressing room.

Will some Seve magic help Europe get the win this weekend?

We’re ready… And it looks like Robert MacIntyre is too!

Talking about being excited for the Ryder Cup, Team Europe’s Robert MacIntyre, who’ll make his first appearance at the tournament this weekend posted a photo online of his custom Team Europe pajamas.

Friday schedule, tee times and pairings

The first Foursomes matchwill kick off in around 30 minutes time before we head on to the Fourballs for the afternoon’s session and there are some juicy pairings to get our teeth sunk into today.

The first match will see Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns take on Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton. Max Homa and Brian Harman will tee off next against Viktor Hovland and Ludvig Aberg.

Rickie Fowler will pair up with Collin Morikawa against Shane Lowry and Sepp Straka.

And Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay will go head-to-head with Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood in the final duel of the morning.

Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth and Wyndham Clark will sit out the morning session for the US. While Justin Rose, Nicolai Hojgaard, Matt Fitzpatrick and Robert MacIntyre will not play in the morning for the Europeans.

Yesterday, Team Europe were out in practice, teeing off from the first and played nine holes while the US Team played the back nine.

Friday’s tee times are as follows (all in British Summer Time):

6:35am – Scheffler & Burns vs Rahm & Hatton

6:50am – Homa & Harman vs Hovland & Aberg

7:05am – Fowler & Morikawa vs Lowry & Straka

7:20am – Schauffele & Cantlay vs McIlroy & Fleetwood

Afternoon Fourballs (pairings to be announced)

The fans are here!

It’s all excitement in Rome! The patrons are arriving in good numbers and Jon Rahm raises his fist to the air to salute the arriving fans.

As it stands…

So as it stands, Team US currently lead Europe for all-time Ryder Cup wins.

Over 43 events and 1012 matches the USA leads with 27 wins to 14.

But will that all change this week?

The view from the first tee…

It’s been an early start this morning and we’re less than an hour away from the first tee times!

The stage is set and we’re ready to go!

The wait is over!

Good morning and welcome to our coverage of the 2023 Ryder Cup!

The wait is nearly over and we’re almost ready to get started here at the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club as Team Europe are looking to take the coveted trophy back off Zach Johnson’s US Team.

The first groups are set to tee off in just over 30 minutes time so we’ll be building up to the groups going out and what’s been going on this week until then!

The course is looking immaculate, it’ll be a grueling challenge for all the players this week and as many have already said, it is set up for a wonderful spectacle of match play golf.

Narrow fairways, slow greens and some seriously unforgiving rough await the players this week and it will be very interesting to see how the world’s best golfers get on with the difficulties that this course possesses, especially in the team based formats.

Our man Mike Keegan has been exploring the winding fairways of the Marco Simone and has delivered his detailed guide of what to expect when traversing this stunning track.

Thanks to those of you who have joined us very early on Friday morning for the start of play, with the first tee time at 6:35.

Here’s the pairings for the opening foursomes matches. Some mouthwatering clashes in here…

Scheffler/Burns (US) vs Rahm/Hutton (EUR) – 6:35

Homa/Harmon (US) vs Hovland/Aberg (EUR) – 6:50

Fowler/Morikawa (US) vs Lowry/Straka (EUR) – 7:05

Schauffele/Cantlay (US) vs McIlroy/Fleetwood (EUR) – 7:20

Good morning!

Good morning and welcome to our coverage of the 2023 Ryder Cup in Rome.

The time for talking is nearly over as the best players from Europe and the United States get ready to do battle over three days in what is one of the world’s great sporting events.

Will the US retain the trophy, or will it be Rory McIlory and Co who are celebrating come Sunday afternoon?

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