Published Friday, 28 September 2012
Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy celebrate on the 18th green (© Getty)
Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell got the opening day's play underway when they teed off against Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker on Friday.
The world number one and McDowell hit back from an early, but lengthy rules debate to win on the last green.
The dispute was over whether McDowell could take relief from a sprinkler head by the second green.
It would have meant McIlroy putting rather than chipping, but with Furyk stepping in and believing it should not be given a second opinion for called for.
"We've been friends a long time," Furyk said at one point to McDowell, but the American also then called for calm when a few boos rang out.
McIlroy was eventually told to chip, the Northern Irish pair lost the hole, but they then had four birdies in a row, the first of them the result of a genius chip by the 23-year-old from over the fourth green.
From three down with six to go - Furyk had incurred a penalty on the long 10th when his ball move as he prepared to chip - the Americans fought back to level, only for Snedeker to hit a simply dreadful drive down the last.
McDowell then hit into the bunker short of the green, but McIlroy splashed out to five feet and the 2010 match-winner made no mistake.
McDowell said: "That match to me just personifies it. You're playing against two very gutsy players who clawed their way back.
"But we had stacked our team with this finish in mind. I wanted Rory hitting the tee shots on 16 and 18 and our strategy paid off."
McIlroy added: "Fortunately for us, Brandt didn't hit the best tee shot on the last."
Their victory was followed by the first-ever foursomes defeat for both Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia. They went down 4&3 to Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley, producing the shock of the day.
Holders Europe then trailed 2-1 when Lee Westwood and Francesco Molinari were beaten 3&2 by Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner - another of American captain Davis Love's rookies.
Justin Rose and Ian Poulter downed Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker 2&1, Poulter producing a key putt on the 16th that was greeted by his now trademark "Come On" roar - and a long, cold stare from Woods.
All four 24 players were used on the first day - Paul Lawrie, Peter Hanson, Martin Kaymer and first-timer Nicolas Colsaerts coming in for the fourballs in place of Donald, Garcia, Poulter and Molinari and the Americans introducing Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Masters champion Bubba Watson and US Open champion Webb Simpson.