Colin Montgomerie has said that Tom Watson's decision to rest Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed in the afternoon session could cost America the Ryder Cup.
The duo made their debut in the morning and thrashed rookie Stephen Gallacher and the experienced Ian Poulter 5&4 as they tasted their first Ryder Cup action.
But U.S captain Watson took the decision to rest the pair during the afternoon denying them the chance to continue where they left off and halted their momentum.
The American side had led 2.5-1.5 after the morning session but failed to pick up a win in the afternoon and could only claim 0.5 of a point meaning they trail 5-3 after day one.
Montgomerie, who captained Europe in the 2010 Ryder Cup, feels the decision to leave Reed and Spieth out of the foursomes could cost the visitors the trophy.
“Watson will be ruing the decision not to play Reed and Spieth in the foursomes and it’s one that could cost him come Sunday afternoon,” said Montgomerie.
“These guys are young, so they weren’t tired and didn’t want a rest after the morning."
Watson decided that Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley would play both the morning and afternoon but that appeared to backfire as Mickelson seemed to tire towards the end of the day. The pair managed to beat Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia in the morning fourballs but struggled against Victor Dubuisson and Graeme McDowell losing 3 & 2.
Mongomerie questioned Watson's choice to play Keegan and Mickelson and doesn't feel they suit the foursome format.
"They wanted to play and I was amazed that they didn’t play in the afternoon and Mickelson and Keegan Bradley did.
“Phil and Keegan got out of jail first up [to beat Sergio Garcia and Rory McIlroy 1 up] but they are not a foursome pairing as they don’t hit enough fairways.”
Lack of leader
With Mickelson stuttering during the first day and the absence of Tiger Woods, Mongomerie feels that the U.S lack a leader on the course and thinks the Ryder Cup could be over by Saturday afternoon.
“I now fear for this American team without Mickelson playing his best – and I wonder who is going to be the team leader out on the course.
“With Phil struggling and no Tiger Woods, nobody is really pulling out ahead here and going: ‘Come on lads, we can do this’, and that’s why I think Europe are firmly in the driving seat.
“If America don’t win Saturday’s first session, I think Europe will win this Ryder Cup.”
Europe's Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose managed to win both their matches as they comfortably beat Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson 5&4 in the fourballs and recorded a 2&1 victory over Hunter Mahan and Zach Johnson in the foursomes.
David Howell, who played twice in the Ryder Cup for Europe thinks that the pair can intimidate opponents and hopes they continue their partnership on Saturday.
“They’ve got such stature in the game – and physically as well,” said Howell. “They are big guys and are an intimidating pairing to play against.
"Henrik is an iceman, has all the power on the world and is slightly more dynamic than Justin, but Rose makes the game look so simple nowadays.
“He has a great swing, all the self-belief after winning a Major [the 2013 US Open], and everything he does strikes of composure.”
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