-- CHASKA, Minn. -- Team USA got off to a strong start Friday at the 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine, sweeping Team Europe in the morning foursomes 4-0.
But before the session even began, the fans helped set the tone at the first tee, as more than 51,000 fans were crammed onto the course for the first day of matches.
With a Ryder Cup golf bag of the late Arnold Palmer standing alone on the ground below (it was from when he captained the U.S. team in 1975), supporters from both sides saluted their hero: "AR-NOLD PAL-MER! AR-NOLD PAL-MER!" It was enough to give your goose bumps the chills:
The American fans, borrowing a chant from their soccer brethren, later chanted: "I believe that we will win!"
To which one of the blue and gold-clad European fans invariably responded: "I believe that we will win."
And it's only Day 1, people. Here are a few other tidbits you might have missed from Friday morning:
The 'sure thing' and the surprise
Two years ago, Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed went undefeated as partners, leaving Gleneagles with a 2-0-1 record together. It made sense that U.S. captain Davis Love III not only would pair them again here but also would send the fire-and-ice duo out in the first match against the formidable team of Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson. It was a match the Americans would never trail, as Spieth rolled in birdie putts on the second and third holes. They stayed at least 2-up for the entirety of this one, winning 3 and 2 and keeping that undefeated record intact. They'll team up again in afternoon four-balls. If they keep winning, don't be surprised to see Spieth and Reed play all four team matches together.
The second match of the morning foursomes session had more twists and turns than a roller coaster. The turning point -- strange as it might sound in the aftermath -- might have been the Americans making a mess of the sixth hole. Phil Mickelson drove one shot out of bounds, followed by Rickie Fowler hitting one against a fence, followed by Lefty trying, unsuccessfully, to hit a right-handed shot. They would lose that hole, but it spurred them on to win each of the next three with birdies. The roller coaster didn't end there, though. The European team of Rory McIlroy and Andy Sullivan would battle back from 1-down after 10 holes to take a 2-up lead through 14. Directly after that, for the second time in the match, Mickelson and Fowler would win three in a row, culminating with Fowler's brilliant tee shot on the par-3 17th hole that eventually led to a victory. It was perhaps the best outcome for two U.S. players who had the biggest bull's-eyes on their backs heading into the event. -- Jason Sobel
United States Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III said he has a strategy for how he will deploy vice captain Tiger Woods through the weekend. He says that he believes "people will be watching Tiger watch golf" and that he expects that the superstar could buoy certain pairings at crucial moments.
So far so good.
Woods followed Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar in their foursome match against Lee Westwood and Thomas Pieters. The American pair stormed out to a 5-up lead after eight holes, with Johnson's putting leading the way, before winning the match outright. -- ESPN.com news services
A 'fan fashion' timeout
Fans on both sides did not disappoint Friday. Here are a few memorable looks from Team USA supporters:
(P.S. Rocky has looked better.)
Sports celeb sighting
Michael Jordan ... in the house:
Don't count 'em out yet
"It's a different game we play in the afternoon, and I think we are all ready," Kaymer said. "We are fired up. We want to keep that trophy and bring it home to Europe."
Kaymer and Garcia were on the losing end of their match to Jimmy Walker and Zach Johnson, who closed them out, 4 and 2, on the 16th hole. The matches were played before massive crowds that were vocal in their support of the American team.
"Obviously they are very excited," Garcia said. "They should be. But you know, it's our job to hopefully quiet them down a little bit and see if we can do that this afternoon." -- The Associated Press
A 'fan fashion' timeout, Part II
Team Europe fans didn't disappoint, either. Here are a few looks: