CHASKA, Minn. — It was not yet noon on the opening day of the Ryder Cup, and the American fans gathered around the 16th green were chanting, “Sweep, sweep, sweep!”
After losing three straight Cups to the Europeans, the American team got off to the strongest possible start Friday at Hazeltine National Golf Club, winning all four of the morning alternate-shot matches to take a quick and unexpected lead.
“We are really up against the eight ball big time,” said Paul McGinley, the European captain in 2014 when Europe beat the United States at Gleneagles, Scotland.
Any thoughts of a sweep were dashed early in the afternoon fourball session, when Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson grabbed Europe’s first point with a 5-and-4 victory over Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed.
The Europeans continued to put on the pressure, winning three of the four afternoon matches. The Spaniards Sergio Garcia and Rafa Cabrera Bello defeated J.B. Holmes and Ryan Moore, 3 and 2, and Rory McIlroy partnered with Thomas Pieters to close the day’s action with a 3-and-2 victory over Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar.
The lone bright spot in the afternoon for the Americans was Brandt Snedeker and Brooks Koepka, a Ryder Cup rookie, beating Martin Kaymer and Danny Willett, 5 and 4.
Momentum is critical in match play, and the Americans seized it in the morning foursomes, beginning with the high-profile opening duel that pitted Spieth and Reed against Rose and Stenson.
Spieth and Reed were frequently brilliant as rookies in a losing cause in 2014, and they provided more of the same sparkling and intuitive play Friday as they took an early lead and never relinquished it against what was expected to be Europe’s strongest pairing.
Stenson won his first major at the British Open this year, prevailing in a memorable duel with Phil Mickelson. Rose, a former United States Open champion, won the Olympic gold medal in August in Rio de Janeiro by holding off Stenson.
But the European stars, who had never lost in Ryder Cup playing together, could not quite match the intensity and precision of the two young Americans, who won, 3 and 2, to provide the first point of this Cup to the United States.
Johnson and Kuchar soon provided the second point, finishing a lopsided 5-and-4 victory over the European veteran Lee Westwood and Pieters, a Ryder Cup rookie.
Jimmy Walker and Zach Johnson made it 3-0 with a 4-and-2 victory over Garcia and Kaymer. Mickelson and Fowler completed the sweep with a 1-up victory over McIlroy and Andy Sullivan.
Mickelson and Fowler, two down with four holes to play, turned the match by winning the 15th, 16th and 17th holes.
“We showed a lot of heart those last four holes,” Mickelson said.
There was plenty of positive reinforcement from the large crowd, many of whom had arrived before sunrise at Hazeltine.
“It’s red, white and blue and loud, and they are letting you know it,” said Walker, who made his Ryder Cup debut at Gleneagles. “It was quite the crowd. I was kind of unprepared for it. It was really intense early, an amazing experience. Just look around. It’s incredible. There’s nothing like it in golf.”
There has been nothing like Friday’s opening session for the Americans in more than 40 years. Their last opening-session sweep was in 1975 at Laurel Valley Golf Club in Ligonier, Pa., when Arnold Palmer was the United States’ captain.