Captain Zach Johnson of the United States reports that the team has been battling illness.



Captain Zach Johnson of the United States reports that the team has been battling illness.

In Guidonia Montecelio, Italy, the opening day of the 44th Ryder Cup unfolded in a rather unusual and unexpected manner for the U.S. Team. In a surprising turn of events, they failed to secure a single victory throughout the day, marking the first time in Ryder Cup history that such an outcome had occurred.

The perplexing scoreline, a 6.5-1.5 deficit, left spectators scratching their heads. However, U.S. Captain Zach Johnson offered some insight into the team’s early struggles, revealing that illness had taken its toll on the Americans.

Johnson candidly acknowledged, “Yes, we have got some congestion and some signs of unfortunate ailments.” This admission came following a morning Foursomes session that saw his team plunge into a daunting 4-0 deficit. He went on to explain, “It’s one of those situations where the energy levels may be a bit low, but the unwavering determination and desire to compete still burn brightly. That’s what we’re weighing. Every single player remains eager to participate in every match, and that’s an encouraging sign.”

The U.S. team, having triumphed with a commanding 10-point lead at the 2021 Ryder Cup held at Wisconsin’s Whistling Straits, entered this week’s competition as the favorites, although late sentiment favored Europe. Despite the initial expectations, the tournament’s unfolding narrative has defied predictions.

During the morning Foursomes, the U.S. never managed to take the lead in any match. It wasn’t until the afternoon Four-ball session, when Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth took a 1-up lead against Tyrrell Hatton and Viktor Hovland after Thomas birdied the par-4 sixth hole, that the U.S. team finally saw a glimmer of hope. Remarkably, this breakthrough occurred well into a day that had already spanned more than six hours.

At that point, nobody was aware that the American team was contending with health issues. When asked about the possibility of an illness circulating among the players, Captain Johnson confirmed its presence, saying, “It kind of has, yeah, I’m being honest, yes, it has. It has spread through my team.”

Nevertheless, he expressed confidence in the team’s depth and resilience, believing they can overcome this setback once they start feeling better. Johnson reflected on the day, saying, “What’s my biggest regret? I don’t know if I have any regrets. That’s sport. This is golf. I mean, this happens. I mean, it’s — these guys are athletes on both sides. Anybody can beat anybody at any given moment. So to say I have a regret, I’ve trusted in my process. I feel like it still works. It did not go in our favor today. It does not mean it can’t tomorrow, and certainly on Sunday.”


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