The U.S. and Europe are tied 2-2 after this morning’s foursome matches at the Ryder Cup, golf’s top international team competition.
American pairs of Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley and Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson were victorious this morning as were European duos of Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell and Ian Poulter and Justin Rose at Medinah Country Club outside Chicago.
Mickelson and Bradley gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead when they defeated Luke Donald of England and Sergio Garcia of Spain 4 and 3, meaning they had an insurmountable four-hole lead with three remaining.
McIlroy and McDowell, both of Northern Ireland, then tied the matches by defeating Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker 1-up with a par on the final hole.
Dufner and Johnson put the U.S. back on top with a 3-and-2 win over Lee Westwood of England and Francisco Molinari of Italy before Europe tied it again when Englishmen Ian Poulter and Justin Rose beat Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker 2 and 1.
In foursome matches, players in each two-man team take alternate shots with the same ball. The lower score wins the hole.
The afternoon session will feature fourballs, in which each golfer in the two-man teams plays his own ball. The hole goes to the lowest individual score.
Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson of the U.S. play Paul Lawrie of Scotland and Peter Hanson of Sweden; Mickelson and Bradley play McIlroy and McDowell; Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar of the U.S. meet Rose and Martin Kaymer of Germany; and Stricker and Woods play Westwood and Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium.
The U.S. team features five of the top 10 players in the Official World Golf Ranking, while four of the European golfers are ranked among the top five.
Europe has won three of the past four editions of the Ryder Cup, including a one-point victory in 2010 at Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, Wales. There will be another day of foursomes and fourballs tomorrow before the final 12 singles matches on Sept. 30. The U.S. needs 14 1/2 of the possible 28 points to win back the cup, while Europe needs 14 points to retain it.