Henrik Stenson has confirmed that Thomas Bjorn will be his first vice-captain for the 2023 Ryder Cup.

Stenson will lead Europe at the next edition of golf's famous team tournament, which will take place at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome.

Bjorn captained a European team including Stenson in 2018, as they cruised to an emphatic 17.5-10.5 victory in Paris.

The Dane has been a vice-captain on four previous occasions, and a player three times.

"I'm delighted to be part of the whole Ryder Cup experience once again," said Bjorn.

"I probably thought that after 2018 that was it for me, but Henrik called me to talk about captaincy in general and that led into him asking me if I wanted to do another stint as vice-captain, which I agreed to. I'm excited to work with him."

"I have known Thomas for my whole career," said Stenson. "I trust him implicitly and I know any advice he will give me will be honest and direct. He will not simply tell me what he thinks I want to hear and that will be important, so I'm delighted to have him as my first vice-captain for Rome.

"Since the match itself is still over a year away, I know I am going to have a lot of conversations with him about all elements of the Ryder Cup from his experience, both as a vice-captain on previous occasions but also, obviously, as the captain in 2018 when we had a great result.

"I will be depending on him a lot and I'm really looking forward to those chats. He was very happy when I asked him. He was very honoured to be asked and happy to be part of Team Europe again and part of the journey with the players."

Bjorn has full belief in Stenson's captaincy, adding: "I think Henrik will be a fantastic captain. He is so well respected by players and by everyone in the game.

"He is a very hard-working golfer and somebody who is true to himself, and his team will represent that. He has a great sense of humour that the players will take to, and he is very well liked across the whole tour, not just the top where he has played his golf for so many years."

Henrik Stenson will be Europe's captain for the 2023 Ryder Cup, the team announced on Tuesday.

A veteran of five Ryder Cup appearances, Stenson has helped Europe to three successes over the United States in the biennial tournament.

The 45-year-old takes the helm from Padraig Harrington, who presided over Europe's record 19-9 loss to the States at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin last year.

Stenson made his Ryder Cup debut 16 years ago at the K Club in Ireland, clinching the decisive point in a 18.5-9.5 victory for Europe – he also contributed to the successes in 2014 at Gleneagles and four years later at Le Golf National, France.

Having become Sweden's first male major winner at the 145th Open in 2016, Stenson will now also be the first Swede to captain Europe.

Stenson was chosen by a five-man panel that included the three most recent European captains before him, and he was understandably honoured to get such an opportunity.

"I am absolutely thrilled and delighted to be the European Ryder Cup captain – it is a huge honour and I was humbled to get the call confirming the news," he said.

"I would like to thank the selection panel for believing in me and will say to them, and every European golf fan, that I will do everything in my power and leave no stone unturned in the quest to get the Ryder Cup back in European hands.

"The Ryder Cup is golf, and sport, at its very best. I got goosebumps every time I pulled on a European shirt as a player and that will be magnified in the role of captain.

"While it is great for me personally, it is also great for my country and all the players from Sweden who have played for Europe with such distinction since Joakim Haeggman became the first in 1993.

"When I started out as a professional golfer, it was beyond my wildest dreams that, one day, I would follow in the footsteps of legends of the game such as Seve [Ballesteros] and be the European Ryder Cup captain. But today proves that, sometimes, dreams do come true."

The 2023 Ryder Cup will be held at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club near Rome between September 29 and October 1 next year.

Stenson and his 12-man team will go up against the roster assembled by Zach Johnson, who was named the USA's skipper at the end of February.

The United States will be captained by Zach Johnson at next year's Ryder Cup in Italy.

Johnson, a two-time major winner, has represented the USA in five previous editions of golf's prestigious team event.

Having served twice as vice-captain, Johnson will succeed Steve Stricker as the USA aim to retain the Ryder Cup at the Marco Simone Golf Club.

The news was announced in a dramatic video released on the Ryder Cup's official social media channels.

"Where I'm from, you get behind your people, you push your own, you work hard and you wear where you're from as a badge of honour," says Johnson in the clip.

"As we look ahead to the next Ryder Cup, I see nothing but opportunity. To work hard, to get behind one another, and an opportunity to keep the cup.

"I know we're not supposed to win on European soil. Well, I'm used to 'not supposed to'. Not supposed to make it on tour, win two majors and certainly not supposed to make five Ryder Cup teams.

"But here's the thing, I love it when 'not supposed to's', do. And as your captain, you can bet that I'm gonna bring some of that home-cooked, hard-working, Iowa pride to the Ryder Cup."

The USA cruised to a 19-9 victory in 2021 at Whistling Straits, though they have not won in Europe since 1993.

PGA of America President Jim Richerson said: "I am confident that Zach's appointment will be wildly popular with the players as well as throughout American golf circles.

"But more than that, Zach is the calibre of individual that the PGA of America wants representing the United States and our 28,000-plus PGA Professionals on the global stage. He has performed on the biggest stages as a player, a teammate and as a vice-captain.

"He checks every conceivable leadership box and we anticipate that the U.S. Team in Italy will reflect the hard work, grit and selfless determination that have long defined his stellar playing career."

Johnson, 46, won The Masters in 2007 and The Open in 2015. He featured in the Ryder Cup in 2006, 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016, though only tasted success as a player in the latter tournament.

"To accept this captaincy, to lead this United States Ryder Cup team abroad ー after what we accomplished last year at Whistling Straits ー is simply the greatest honour of my professional career," said Johnson, who has named Stricker as the first of his vice-captains.

"I want to thank the PGA of America Ryder Cup Committee for this special opportunity. As exciting as this is for both my family and me, it is equally sobering to understand the scope of our challenge in Rome, as we have not won on the road in three decades.

"To win, we will have to outplay a European team that will have both ample talent and motivation on their side. I am anxious to dig in and begin the process of putting our team in the best possible position to succeed."

Bryson DeChambeau intends to carry on competing in long-drive tournaments after bowing out at the last-eight stage in his maiden outing.

The Ryder Cup star was knocked out of the Professional Long Drivers of America World Championships on Friday, but plans to enter more events.

DeChambeau, who sits seventh in the Official World Golf Rankings, nailed a best drive of 412 yards at the competition in Nevada.

The 28-year-old, who helped Team USA to a record Ryder Cup victory at Whistling Straits last month, believes taking part in such events will help his all-round game.

"I'm definitely going to continue to keep doing this, and I think these guys that are bigger, better, faster, stronger than me are going to keep pushing me to go faster," the 2020 U.S. Open winner said.

"And I think this is going to translate over really, really well to the PGA Tour. I've learned how to control the golf ball at those speeds, and this is going to translate over to having extreme confidence on Tour in general.

"That's what people don't realise. Even though you're hitting it super far, it's the irons, the speeds you can create with your irons and the shots you can hit off the tee.

"Now with people hitting three wood, drivers, you can hit four irons off the tee, because they're just as far, and I can keep it in the fairway and control it a lot better.

"That confidence is instrumental in having a new level of play on the PGA Tour."

DeChambeau was the biggest hitter on the PGA Tour in 2021, his drives averaging 323.7 yards.

Shane Lowry has criticised the "drunken idiots" among the Whistling Straits crowd at the Ryder Cup and said his wife was abused.

Europe went down 19-9 to the United States on Sunday – a record margin in the Ryder Cup between the two teams – with Lowry collecting a point in a memorable four-ball win with Tyrrell Hatton on Saturday.

The Irishman explained that the majority of the Wisconsin crowd were welcoming and courteous as Steve Stricker's side marched towards regaining the trophy.

However, the 2019 Open champion was left unimpressed by a "small percentage" of fans across the first two days, especially in the afternoon sessions where he suggested alcohol had taken its toll.

"I didn't think it was that bad until I asked my wife what it was like for her, and they got abuse coming around as well," Lowry told reporters ahead of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

"So it's not very nice is it? And it's not very nice for them to have to listen to this. But that was a small percentage of the crowd.

"I finished my match on 16 on Sunday and I was walking back down to follow the other groups and I got a huge ovation off the crowd and in the grandstand on 16, that was pretty cool. And I thought I got on well with the crowd last week as best I could.

"But they are obviously a home crowd and they are going to be a partisan crowd. Some of the stuff is not very nice, but that's just the way it is.

"Some people are idiots, especially when they drink. Nobody turns into a genius drinking, and that's what they were doing last week. Especially if you were out in the afternoon matches, it was loud."

Lowry was a captain's pick by Padraig Harrington, and his performance in the four-balls sparked faint hope of a 'Miracle at Medinah' inspired comeback.

However, Patrick Cantlay dispatched Lowry 4 and 2 in the singles matches to leave Harrington's men staring at a thrashing.

Despite the loss, Lowry hailed the memorable debut outing, while expressing his frustrations that he and his team-mates could not perform for captain Harrington.

"I thought about it quite a bit on the way home on Monday, and I'm just so disappointed for Paddy to be honest," he continued.

"But as regards the week itself, I couldn't have envisaged what it would be like for me. It was amazing. It was one of the best experiences of my life, and it's the only thing I want to do for the next two years.

"I don't care what I do for the next two years now as long as I'm back in Rome to try to take the trophy back off them."

Europe captain Padraig Harrington was upbeat despite his team's record Ryder Cup loss to the United States, insisting the visitors could walk away from Whistling Straits with their heads held high.

Harrington's Team Europe were no match for hosts USA, dethroned following a record-breaking 19-9 defeat in Wisconsin on Sunday.

USA claimed the Ryder Cup by a record margin, surpassing the previous 18.5 - 9.5 victory at Walton Heath Golf Club in 1981.

Europe were outclassed from the outset and Steve Stricker's USA sealed victory in just the fifth match of the scheduled 12 singles showdowns on the final day.

Team Europe had won seven of the past nine editions of the biennial event but failed to recover from a six-shot disadvantage heading into the final day as USA reigned supreme and despite the heavy defeat, Harrington could not fault his players.

"I was not aware of it until it became close," Harrington said of USA's record-winning margin. "And then I did actually have to ask. I was involved in the last two that were records [grimacing] but on the right side of it.

"Look, somebody has to. That's the way it goes. This was a very strong US Team. Everybody here gave 100 per cent, and pulled together, everybody worked together this week. There's nobody walking away from this week, and I will talk to each player individually: Nobody didn't give their heart and soul to this team.

"We don't owe anybody anything in that sense. They all tried. They all put it in. And you know, there will be more Ryder Cups ahead. Most of them – as I just said before, most of them have the best part of their career ahead of them, there's no doubt about that. So they shouldn't walk away from this in any shape or form feeling like, hey, they gave it 100 per cent. That's all you can ask from the players.

"Did they do their job? Yes, they did. It didn't go right, but that happens in sport. Just remember, you know, if you want to have these glorious moments, you've got to put your head out there, and sometimes it doesn't go right. You get your head knocked off.

"That's just the reality of sport. If you put yourself out there, you'll have some miserable days, but also, if you put yourself out there, you'll have those thrilling days when you win."

 

Steve Stricker lauded Team USA's "special group" after the United States captain oversaw a record-breaking 19-9 win over Europe.

USA claimed the Ryder Cup by a record margin on Sunday, surpassing the previous 18.5 to 9.5 victory at Walton Heath Golf Club in 1981.

Stricker's USA were dominant from the outset in Wisconsin, where the hosts sealed victory in just the fifth match of the scheduled 12 singles, having required just 3.5 points for glory.

After hoisting the cup aloft in front of a passionate crowd at Whistling Straits, Stricker hailed his team.

"It was a special week all the way around," Stricker told reporters. "I don't know what else to say, and I've said it a number of times all week long and how these guys came together, and how they started two weeks ago when they showed up for the practice round.

"I could see the camaraderie then. I could see the willingness to prepare and get ready for this event prior to us even arriving. So a lot of these guys have played a lot of golf with each other. They have up with each other.

"It's a special group of guys. It was fun to be part of it all this week, especially here in Wisconsin."

Europe had won seven of the past nine editions of the biennial team event but failed to recover from a six-shot disadvantage heading into the final day as USA reigned supreme.

Stricker added: "This didn't start just two weeks ago. This started months ago. For me, three years ago two, and a half years ago. It's been on my mind ever since I was announced to be captain two and a half years ago.

"I wanted to make a special week for these guys. I've been part of a few teams, and I know how it can go. I've been on a losing team and I've been on a winning side, team, and we just want these guys to enjoy the experience. And as you can tell up here right now, it looks like they have enjoyed the experience."

Dustin Johnson led a star-studded United States with a 5-0 record throughout the Ryder Cup and Stricker continued: "I could see it in these guys' eyes last night when we left here, the course, after just saying a couple words, I could tell they felt like there was unfinished business, and they came out and they were ready today.

"They played great, and I could see it in their eye that they wanted it all. They wanted more."

An emotional Rory McIlroy claimed he should have done more to help his European team as they were crushed by the United States in the Ryder Cup.

Defending champions Europe entered the final day at Whistling Straights 11-5 down and required the biggest comeback in the history of the competition to get their hands on the trophy.

That rarely looked like happening, though, with the USA guaranteeing they would win back the trophy when Collin Morikawa secured a half point against Viktor Hovland, enough to give the host nation an unassailable lead, reaching 14.5 points with the promise of plenty more points to come.

McIlroy, competing at his sixth Ryder Cup, failed to pick up a point during the first two days of action, but he did seal a 3 and 2 victory over Xander Schauffele on the final day.

Fighting back tears, the Northern Irishman said he was not happy with his display and had let down his team-mates.

"I love being a part of this team," he told Sky Sports. "I love my team-mates so much, and I should have done more for them this week.

"I'm glad I put a point on the board for Europe today. I just can't wait to get another shot at this. It is by far the best experience in golf and I hope little boys and girls watching this today aspire to play in this event or the Solheim Cup because there's nothing better than being part of a team.

"No matter what happens after this I'm proud of every single one of the players that played this week, proud of the captain and the vice captains. I wish I could have done a little more for the team.

"It's been a tough week."

Speaking to NBC, the 31-year-old added that the Ryder Cup is comfortably the best event he has ever played in.

"The more I play in this event I realise it's the best event in golf, bar none," he said.

"I've never really cried or got emotional over what I've done as an individual, I couldn't give a s***, but this team and what it feels like to be part of a team is phenomenal."

Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka hugged as the USA's resounding Ryder Cup triumph brought about a friendly truce in their apparently bitter feud.

The American pair have been at loggerheads on the PGA Tour and appeared to have taken against one another, but all was calm in Steve Stricker's ranks at Whistling Straits.

A 19-9 victory over Europe was secured on Sunday, with DeChambeau and Koepka among the singles winners, and television cameras picked out the pair shaking hands and embracing afterwards, a job well done.

Their seemingly incompatible personalities raised fears of friction, but Stricker revealed that DeChambeau and Koepka even wanted to play as a pairing.

Whether the creases in their relationship have been ironed out for good remains to be seen, but it was a day to savour for both.

DeChambeau, a member of the team beaten in Paris three years ago, said of his first cup experience on home soil: "It's unbelievable, the atmosphere is electric, and I wouldn't want it any other way. It's quite a scene, one to remember for a lifetime. As a team, we performed really, really well.

"We came together and had unity here this week. Even though we are competitors, we can all be friends and have unity."

Amid the stunning success for the USA team, there was a standout performer, with Dustin Johnson winning all five of his matches.

That made him just the third player in the history of matches between the USA and Europe, going back to 1979, to post a 5-0-0 record, after Larry Nelson in 1979 and Francesco Molinari in 2018.

Prior to 1979, the US faced teams from Great Britain and, from 1973 to 1977, Great Britain and Ireland.

Johnson said of his achievement: "Starting the week, if you had told me I was going to go 5-0-0, I probably would have said you were crazy. I didn't think I was going to play five matches.

"But obviously it was a great week. The team played amazing. All of us came together and we only wanted to win it. I think we just wanted it a little bit more."

The 37-year-old found himself in the unfamiliar role of being the elder statesman in the US line-up.

"On the other teams I felt like I was a younger guy on the team," he said. "A little different dynamic. The guys all got along great. We all have one thing in common, we do not like to lose. We had a great week, and it showed."

Padraig Harrington acknowledged Europe were outplayed by the United States as the hosts reclaimed the Ryder Cup in record-breaking style on Sunday.

Defending champions Europe entered the final day at Whistling Straights 11-5 down and required the biggest comeback in the history of the competition, with the USA needing just 3.5 points to win back the trophy.

The American team eventually won by a 19-9 landslide, the widest margin in the history of matches between the USA and Europe, which date back to 1979.

Previously, the US faced teams from Great Britain and, from 1973 to 1977, Great Britain and Ireland, when there were bigger wins.

Patrick Cantlay, Scottie Scheffler and Bryson DeChambeau put the Americans within touching distance after Rory McIlroy had won the first match for Europe, and Collin Morikawa guaranteed the cup triumph by halving his match with Viktor Hovland, before the points kept coming.

Speaking to NBC, European captain Harrington said: "Of course we're disappointed. But the United States played well. Look, they outplayed us. Strong team.

"They got their plan right. They got some momentum going. They started well. They just outplayed us at the end of the day.

"It's tough when you're going away and having no Europeans [in the crowd], but certainly above expectations in terms of an away crowd.

"Obviously there was a lot of momentum for the United States with the cheering, and the silence was a little off-putting at the start for us and maybe that held us back a bit."

Sergio Garcia accepted that the United States "played great" and thoroughly deserved their victory.

While the Spaniard's week ended with a 3 and 2 defeat to DeChambeau on Sunday, he was in record-breaking form in his foursomes showdown on Saturday, becoming the player to win the most matches in Ryder Cup history.

The 41-year-old, who made his competition debut in 1999, claimed his 24th victory, moving clear of Nick Faldo's previous record.

"I'm so proud of them [his team-mates]. I love all of them so much and so proud of the way they played. We just have to accept it," Garcia said.

"The Americans, they played great, they made most of the right shots at the right time and most of the putts when they had to. It's quite simple.

"Obviously I would have loved to play a little better today. I thought the back nine was a little better; the front was a little weak, but I was trying to see if I could get anything out of the match."

Europe may have come up against a partisan crowd at Whistling Straits, but Garcia was largely happy with how they behaved.

"Don't get me wrong, when there's so many people, there's always going to be a small amount that are a little bit out of line," he said.

"But these fans, they see us every week and they love us every week, and that doesn't change. They are cheering for their team, but they are respectful to us."

The United States remain well in control of the Ryder Cup after they dominated Saturday's foursomes, in the process extending their overall lead to 9-3. 

It was certainly the home team who had been on top on Friday at Whistling Straits, and they refused to relinquish their grip by taking three points out of four available in the opening session on day two. 

USA's six-point advantage is the largest any side has held after three sessions since 1975. 

Spaniard Jon Rahm and compatriot Sergio Garcia – who also won on Friday – got Europe's solitary point, as they came from behind to overcome Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger despite initially going three holes down. 

"It means a lot, it is a long race. We were three down early. If there is any point you want to be three down it is then because you have 15 holes to make it up," Rahm told Sky Sports. 

"We got going starting on the sixth when we woke up and that's when we started playing some good golf. 

"Besides a couple of mistakes here and there in the windy conditions and the cold we played unbelievable from six on and took advantage of the moments we had and a couple of breaks our way to win." 

Yet Europe did not have any further joy in the remaining matches. 

The rookie duo of Viktor Hovland and Bernd Wiesberger made some early inroads, yet Jordan Spieth was in inspired form as he combined with Justin Thomas to triumph, aided by taking four of the last five holes. 

"Getting to three down is tough, at two down you can go on a quick run, but three down the percentages go way down," Spieth told Sky Sports. 

"Luckily it was only through six, we knew we would have a chance in this wind, those guys had a few putts they missed that Sergio and Rahm holed yesterday. 

"We felt like we played good golf for two rounds and deserved at least one point." 

Paul Casey made a superb chip-in from distance as he and Tyrrell Hatton made a charge on the back nine, yet Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa remained out of reach for the duo. 

Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay won for the second consecutive day to cap off a brilliant morning for the Americans, winning holes nine, 10 and 11 to really take control as they overcame Lee Westwood and Matt Fitzpatrick.

Saturday's foursomes results

Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia (Eur) beat Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger (USA) 3 and 1
Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa (USA) beat Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton (Eur) 2 and 1
Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth (USA) beat Viktor Hovland and Bernd Wiesberger (Eur) 2 up
Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele (USA) beat Lee Westwood and Matt Fitzpatrick (Eur) 2 and 1

Ryder Cup team captains Steve Stricker and Padraig Harrington have confirmed their selections for Saturday's four-ball session at Whistling Straits.

Europe have their work cut out to retain the title as they lost the day's foursomes 3-1 to trail the United States 9-3 in Wisconsin.

The pressure will therefore be on Shane Lowry and Tyrrell Hatton to get a point on the board when they face Tony Finau and Harris English in the first four-ball match.

That is followed by Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia teaming up for a third time to take on Brooks Koepka and Jordan Spieth, while Scottie Scheffler and Bryson DeChambeau meet Tommy Fleetwood and Viktor Hovland in match three.

The final match of the session will involve Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa for the USA, with Ian Poulter and Rory McIlroy their opponents.

Poulter and McIlroy were well beaten by Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay in Friday's foursomes, but Harrington is showing faith in the pair.

Johnson and Morikawa were successful against Hatton and Paul Casey earlier on Saturday in the foursomes, meanwhile, as they prevailed to hold off a European fightback.

"Dustin and Collin are great players, and again they played great golf – opening up with three birdies," Casey told Sky Sports. "But I'm very proud of how we fought. 

"I think Tyrrell was probably a little bit disappointed. I hit a couple of poor shots. I think Tyrrell felt like he hit a couple of poor shots. But what a fight. 

"Tyrrell is such a gritty little player and he's a key part of our team, and I would team up any time with that guy.

"You know, there was one stage we didn't think we would get them as far as we did, and then I guess we had a chance to take them all the way and make it a great battle. 

"But you tip your cap to Collin and Dustin. There's a reason why they are as good as they are, and they are clearly very, very difficult to beat."

Rory McIlroy has been dropped for Saturday's foursomes line-up against the United States as Padraig Harrington's Europe fight to recover from a forgettable opening day at the Ryder Cup.

Team Europe face an uphill battle to retain the Ryder Cup after the USA snatched their biggest opening-day lead since 1975 as the hosts surged 6-2 ahead on Friday.

McIlroy suffered two heavy defeats at Whistling Straits, where the former world number one will watch from the sidelines on Saturday morning.

A 5 and 3 loss to Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele alongside Ian Poulter in the foursomes was followed by a 4 and 3 defeat in his pairing with Shane Lowry against Tony Finau and Harris English in the afternoon four-balls.

McIlroy – a four-time major champion – has been benched for the first time in his Ryder Cup career, having featured in every session since debuting in 2010.

"He's already a leader," Harrington said of McIlroy prior to the pairings being released. "You saw him out there after a tough day. He was out following those matches and supporting his team. He is very much a leader amongst his peers.

"I couldn't have asked more from him during the year. I couldn't have asked more from him today.

"Yeah, the golf didn't go as well as he would have liked, but I'm not second-guessing him for a second in terms of his leadership and what he does for my team."

World number one Jon Rahm and fellow Spaniard Sergio Garcia will lead Europe out against USA pair Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger.

Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa will clash with Englishmen Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton, Viktor Hovland and Bernd Wiesberger face American duo Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas, while it is a Cantlay-Schauffele and Lee Westwood-Matthew Fitzpatrick showdown.

"I'm very comfortable again with the team I've put out tomorrow," Harrington said. "Wait and see in each of those matches whether they can create their own momentum and then bring that to the team."

Rory McIlroy has been dropped for Saturday's foursomes line-up against the United States as Padraig Harrington's Europe fight to recover from a forgettable opening day at the Ryder Cup.

Team Europe face an uphill battle to retain the Ryder Cup after the USA snatched their biggest opening-day lead since 1975 as the hosts surged 6-2 ahead on Friday.

McIlroy suffered two heavy defeats at Whistling Straits, where the former world number one will watch from the sidelines on Saturday morning.

A 5 and 3 loss to Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele alongside Ian Poulter in the foursomes was followed by a 4 and 3 defeat in his pairing with Shane Lowry against Tony Finau and Harris English in the afternoon four-balls.

McIlroy – a four-time major champion – has been benched for the first time in his Ryder Cup career, having featured in every session since debuting in 2010.

"He's already a leader," Harrington said of McIlroy prior to the pairings being released. "You saw him out there after a tough day. He was out following those matches and supporting his team. He is very much a leader amongst his peers.

"I couldn't have asked more from him during the year. I couldn't have asked more from him today.

"Yeah, the golf didn't go as well as he would have liked, but I'm not second-guessing him for a second in terms of his leadership and what he does for my team."

World number one Jon Rahm and fellow Spaniard Sergio Garcia will lead Europe out against USA pair Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger.

Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa will clash with Englishmen Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton, Viktor Hovland and Bernd Wiesberger face American duo Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas, while it is a Cantlay-Schauffele and Lee Westwood-Matthew Fitzpatrick showdown.

"I'm very comfortable again with the team I've put out tomorrow," Harrington said. "Wait and see in each of those matches whether they can create their own momentum and then bring that to the team."

Tiger Woods may not be at Whistling Straits, but his influence was felt as the United States made a rip-roaring start to their Ryder Cup trophy bid.

The 45-year-old Woods is continuing his recovery from the February high-speed car crash near Los Angeles that left him with serious leg injuries, and it remains to be seen whether he is capable of playing again on tour.

But the 15-time major winner is willing the USA team to snatch back the cup from Europe, and Xander Schauffele revealed he had been in touch with a few words of encouragement.

Woods, who often struggled to take his world-beating form onto the Ryder Cup stage, had his say before the Americans raced into a 3-1 lead following the morning foursomes.

Schauffele, after teaming up with fellow debutant Patrick Cantlay to land a dazzling 5 and 3 win over Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter, confirmed Woods wanted to offer help from afar.

 

"We got a nice message from Tiger last night," Schauffele said on the Golf Channel.

"I'm not going to reveal what it said, but Pat and I knew and we referred to it a few times today, and we knew what we needed to do.

"We knew he was fist-pumping from the couch. Whether he was on crutches or not, he's as fired up as anyone back at home, so it's nice to have his support."

Woods has a disappointing record of just 13 wins from 37 Ryder Cup matches, an unexpectedly weak performance given his PGA Tour and major championship prowess.

But he remains an idol for many players on the team, with Schauffele and Cantlay two of six rookies on Steve Stricker's roster this year.

Cantlay said: "[There's] no better role model and no better leader and somebody you can always learn from.

"I saw him last week at home and picked his brain on Ryder Cup and applied some of that here today."

The USA pair sped to a 5up lead through five holes on the way to their dominant victory, feeding off the largely American crowd.

A disappointed McIlroy said: "The start wasn't great. I don't know if anyone could have beat Xander and Patrick today.

"They played really good, four birdies in a row. Geez, yeah, they played great. They were a great pairing today, and all you can do is praise them for the way they played."

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