Team USA are already in a party mood in the Whistling Straits as they approach an emphatic Ryder Cup victory, with the impressive Justin Thomas and Daniel Berger lowering beer on the first tee ahead of Saturday’s fourballs.
Thomas teamed up with close friend Jordan Spieth to win a point for the U.S. in foursomes earlier in the day and celebrated it by swallowing a can of beer and spraying the rest over the first tee to the delight of home fans.
The former USPGA champion was joined by Ryder Cup debutant Berger, who previously shared a loss with Brooks Koepka against Team Europe’s one shining light, the Spanish team Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia.
Thomas and Berger both got free for Saturday’s fourballs session, but they raised the home crowd on the first tee, threw beer to the fans and even dropped some.
The United States has won all three sessions to open up a leading 9-3 lead over Europe and needs 14 and a half points to win the Ryder Cup. Europe needs 14 points to regain the trophy.
Thomas and Spieth were three down against Team Europe’s Viktor Hovland and Bernd Wiesberge, but fought back excellently to claim the point.
Spieth said: ‘Getting to three down is difficult, at two down you can run fast, but three down goes the percentage far down.
‘Luckily it was only through six we knew we would have a chance in this wind, the guys had a couple of putts they missed which Sergio (Garcia) and (Jon) Rahm hit yesterday.
“We felt like we were playing good golf in two rounds and deserved at least one point.”
Thomas added: ‘I do not think any of us expected anything, just to go out and play well. [USA captain Steve Stricker] Stricks deserves a lot of credit.
‘We have a lot of talented opportunities, we are all good friends, our team is playing well and I am happy to be able to cheer on them this afternoon.’
Prior to fourballs, the United States’ six-point lead is the largest any side has had after three sessions since 1975, when the United States played Great Britain and Ireland.
Team Europe captain Padraig Harrington said: ‘We tried to get something out of it, the USA played very well and did the right things at the right time, but the game could have gone both ways in many of these matches.
“There’s no ‘must’ in this match, we want to win 4-0, there is no safety. The guys are pumped and ready to go, they know what to do, so let’s get started.
‘If you fight overall … individually in each match they have to make a decision we have led out with Sergio and Jon Rahm to try to get some momentum, get early blue and let the boys follow it. Anything can happen in the singles. ‘
US captain Stricker added: ‘Our boys came here and played well, we came to a training round a week and a half ago and they put a lot of time and energy into it.
‘We got off to a good start and have a lot to do. It’s not over, we go out this afternoon and try to do it again.
‘It showed a lot of courage that they will play well and continue to play well. That’s not my message [that it’s over] we have all seen what can happen in this event, it is not over.
“Our mindset is to continue the way we have played, there are 12 points on offer tomorrow.”
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