SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – The U.S. Ryder Cup team still had an out after a Friday afternoon sweep and a Saturday morning letdown.
Their names were Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka.
The world No. 1 and three-time major winner were just one down with six holes to play and the Americans desperately needed the workout buddies to flex their muscles on golf’s biggest stage.
It was clear at that point that the U.S. would win two matches and Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau would lose. The Americans haven’t had any momentum since Friday morning and Johnson and Koepka could have grabbed a ton of it back by eking out a win, giving the Americans a 3-1 edge in Saturday four-balls and making it 9-7 entering Sunday singles.
Now the Americans are down 10-6 and need to win eight of 12 Sunday in order to retain the cup.
Johnson and Koepka went 2-0 at the Presidents Cup but didn’t team up until the final team match at Le Golf National, and the results were disappointing in a 2 and 1 loss to Justin rose and Henrik Stenson.
These were two players the Americans were counting on most and through two days they haven’t lived up to the billing. They went a combined 0-4 in Saturday’s matches as the Europeans’ lead continued to grow.
“We just haven’t made anything,” Koepka said. “I haven’t made anything, it feels like, outside six feet all week, and the frustrating part is you’re just hitting good putts and sometimes they don’t go in. You just have to keep hitting good ones and hopefully they fall.”
The duo still had a chance to turn the tide down one with two holes play, but a bogey at the par-4 17th ended their chances at salvaging a winning result for the U.S. squad in the afternoon session.
It was a rough day for the bash brothers but captain Jim Furyk gave them a vote of confidence with their placing in Sunday’s singles matches. Koepka is going out second for a 6:17 a.m. ET clash with Paul Casey and Johnson is sixth at 7:05 a.m. ET against Ian Poulter.
Johnson isn’t much of a talker, but after the matches were done Saturday he sent a message in reference to the Americans’ Sunday collapse on home soil at the 2012 Ryder Cup.
“As I recall, at Medinah, pretty sure we were down 10-6 going into Sunday and ended up losing,” Johnson said. “So I think it might be our turn to flip it around on them.”