Hazeltine National began an exciting four days of Ryder Cup golf with the inaugural Captain's Match between eight players who had previously lead their teams in this famous event. It was to be a successful day's work for Team Europe who cruised to victory in both matches.
McGinley and Woosnam roll back the years
Although the matches continue until the end of the nine holes in front of a large "sea of red" that flooded the course with spectators, Paul McGiney and Ian Woosnam wrapped up their contest with three holes to spare. McGinley has Ryder Cup pedigree following his 18th hole putt to win Europe the competition in 2002 and then lead the team to victory in 2014. An eagle putt on six won the match, as he and Woosnam went seven under through the first six holes. Woosnam never lost a Ryder Cup contest, winning eight as a player and one as captain in 2006.
Hal Sutton was famously criticised for his poor leadership when pairing Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods together in his second of two defeats as captain and he was to face another loss on this occasion. He and his elder playing partner, Ben Crenshaw, who won three out of five Ryder Cup appearances as a player and captain, never got going against their European counterparts.
Monty in buoyant mood
The match before them was slightly tighter but in truth was also over by the sixth hole, as Colin Montgomerie and Tony Jacklin ensured they could not be defeated. The former has won a mammoth 23.5 Ryder Cup points in nine appearances, winning his only campaign as captain. Jacklin has even more experience with eleven outings, winning the last three but losing the previous eight in a dry period for Team Europe. He was to register another victory as they won the seventh hole for an unassailable lead.
Dave Stockton is not used to losing after three winning campaigns from three attempts in the competition and neither is his playing partner Lanny Wadkins with seven victories from nine outings, but the pair had to settle for defeat on this occasion against a buoyant Montgomerie and Jacklin. Team Europe will be hoping such a pattern continues over the weekend.