The 44th edition of the Ryder Cup got under way at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club on Friday, with Team Europe taking a 6.5-1.5 lead over Team USA into the second day.
The Americans, who will retain their title with a 14-14 draw, lost the morning foursomes 4-0 though threatened to claw back the home advantage in the afternoon fourballs. However, a late European surge meant that Luke Donald’s men claimed a half-point in three of the four matches – winning the other – denying America a win in any match on day one.
It is now a very long way back for America, who are seeking to win in Europe for the first time in 30 years, since their triumph at the Belfry in England in 1993.
The previous edition of the biennial contest saw the Europeans suffer a record defeat as they went down 19-9 to the hosts in Wisconsin. That means USA need only 14 points to retain the Ryder Cup, but that now means taking another 12.5 points from a remaining 20 left on days two and three.
This year’s competition is being staged in Italy for the first time. The venue is the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club near Rome, which has previously hosted the Italian Open.
Telegraph Sport has produced a hole-by-hole guide to the course.
Nine of the US team made a scouting trip to the course recently as they seek to overturn the pattern of seven of the last eight contests being won by the host team.