Alternate shot, or foursomes as it is properly called, is the hardest format in golf. A team of two golfers hit every other shot.
Imagine you and your buddy having to play each other’s tee shots or sand shots or hacking out of something unmentionable where he/she put your ball. It’s just plain impossible for most normal humans. And yet, both the Internationals and the U.S. made it look easy.
What was also surprising is that although the Internationals were rated lower on paper, they challenged the U.S. team all day.
Ernie Els and Brendon de Jonge had four birdies and an eagle through 12 holes. They won 4 and 3.
“It’s been a ton of fun,” de Jonge said.
"I think we were something like seven under when we finished our match,” Els said. “It’s going to be competitive in most matches, so that was nice.”
Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley went eagle-birdie-birdie-birdie starting at the fifth hole and finished their match with a 4 and 3 victory.
“I was worried with the way Jason Day and Graham DeLaet birdied the first two holes,” Mickelson said. “But boy on five, we just turned it on and played some of our best golf, shot 30 on the front nine and made a couple more birdies on the back, and it was really a fun stretch.” Bradley hit a second shot on the par five that gave Mickelson a chance for eagle, which he converted.
“We get in this alternate shot and we just feed off each other,” Bradley added. “We seemed to feed off each other. I love showing off in front of him (Phil), and I think he likes showing off in front of me. It’s a lot of fun.”
However, best of all, so far, Tiger Woods and Matt Kuchar had six birdies in a seven-hole stretch on the front nine, at the first, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh, and they added another one at the 13th. And they aren’t even done.
“I hit a couple loose iron shots this afternoon but made a couple good putts and just kind of put the heat on these guys,” Woods said after his match concluded. “Seven under through 11 holes, that’s not bad, alternate shot.”
“We had a great day,” Kuchar added. “Seven under through 11 holes was just incredible golf. Hard to believe that these guys are really giving us a great match. They are playing good as well.”
Their opponents, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel, had four birdies on the front nine and were three down when darkness halted play.
More birdies flew as Steve Stricker and Jordan Spieth had four in 12 holes. Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama had three in nine holes.
The total for the end of the day, which was called for darkness, was U.S. 4.5 points and Internationals 3.5 points. Two matches were completed and four will conclude Saturday morning.
In unbelievable stats: U.S. wives had matching rubber boots in red. It was a great fashion call, given the rain.
Kathy Bissell is a Golf Writer for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand or from official interview materials from the USGA, PGA Tour or PGA of America.