The first day of the 2012 Ryder Cup started off in dramatic fashion on Friday, with Team Europe capturing the first foursome matchup of the tournament on the last hole.
Team USA was able to win the next two foursome matchups, but Team Europe tied it up, 2-2, when Ian Poulter and Justin Rose were able to shock Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker (2 and 1).
We have four foursome matchups and four four-ball matchups slated for Saturday, and all 12 singles matches are scheduled for Sunday. Saturday's matches will be aired live in their entirety starting at 8:20 a.m. ET and Sunday's matches will start at 12 p.m. ET on RyderCup.com.
For those who aren't familiar, "foursome" play involves a duo from each team competing against each other in an 18-hole match. Each member of each team alternates shots until the pairing holes it in. Whoever finishes the hole in the fewest strokes goes "1 up." Teams continue in this fashion until the match is "halved" (a country has no mathematical chance of coming back) or the winner is decided through 18 holes. You get one point for a win and a half-point for a tie.
In "four-ball" play, it's the same except each member from each team plays every hole himself. A team takes the better score of the two players for each hole and matches it up against the better score of the other team.
When you see a final score like "2 and 1" that means the team was 2 up with one hole to play, meaning the match was stopped there and the point was awarded to that team (the other side had a zero mathematical chance of coming back).
What has always distinguished the Ryder Cup from other tournaments is that it is truly a team-based tournament. In regular golf, you are on an island by yourself. At the Ryder Cup, those teammates who feed off each other (like Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley on Friday) tend to do better.
That's why it's no surprise that Tiger Woods has had his fair share of difficulties in the tournament throughout his career, because he's always been a more solitary figure by nature (headed into the 2012 Ryder Cup, he was 4-1-1 in singles play, but 9-13-1 in team play).
One thing's for sure, the 2012 Ryder Cup has gotten off to a roaring start. You can't help but be excited about what the rest of the tournament holds as Team Europe seeks to repeat.
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