HAVEN, Wisc. — Europe hasn’t had much to celebrate through the halfway point of this 43rd Ryder Cup, but there has been at least one bright spot: Sergio Garcia’s continued dominance in this event.
Pairing with his countryman Jon Rahm, the Spaniards dispatched Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas in their Friday foursomes match, 3 and 1. A day later, Garcia and Rahm took care of Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger in the same format, storming back from a 3-down-through-5 deficit to again win 3 and 1. That victory marked Garcia’s 24th win at the Ryder Cup. No player on either side has won more matches.
It’s a remarkable achievement by Garcia, because winning at the Ryder Cup doesn’t come easy — there is mind-numbing pressure, world-class opponents and, yes, on occasion, ruthless fans.
Garcia was reminded of that last element on the par-5 16th hole Saturday morning. As he sized up his second shot — 244 yards between him and flag — he and Rahm held a precious 1-up lead on their opponents in a match the Europeans absolutely had to have. The tension was thicker than beer cheese soup.
Then came this missile from a buffoon in the gallery: “Come on, you’re going to choke!”
If that fan thought his inane mouthiness would rattle Garcia, he hasn’t been paying attention to Garcia’s Ryder Cup imperviousness. Garcia addressed his ball with a fairway wood, wheeled back and delivered a pin-seeking bullet. When his ball came to rest, it was 4 feet, 9 inches from the hole, a kick-in eagle.
“It was a good shot and at the right moment … [and] it was nice to prove him wrong,” Garcia later said of the fan.
Rahm tidied up the putt, giving him and Garcia a 2-up lead. On the next hole, they closed out Koepka and Berger.
“It’s nice,” Garcia said. “Obviously that’s what we are trying to do. We are trying to win the match so we can take points on our favor and take points away from the U.S., but we need more. At the moment, we are not getting them.”
At the end of the session, Europe trailed the U.S by six points. There is much work to do.