Zach Johnson tried his best Friday evening to squash any notion he was disappointed in his team’s showing during the opening day of matches at the 2023 Ryder Cup.
The United States captain said he was proud of how his team fought, even considering the Americans are in a 6½-1½ hole against the Europeans at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome, Italy. The U.S. didn’t win one match on Friday and was swept in the morning session of foursomes but managed to halve three fourball matches in the afternoon.
However, Johnson hinted the Americans may not be 100 percent in the health department. He was asked whether the afternoon lineup was scripted and answered there were things they could and couldn’t control, and then he said this to a follow-up question.
“The bottom line is there’s been some unforeseen things that we’ve had to navigate around, which is really unfortunate, in the sense of health,” Johnson said. “It’s not an excuse, because we have depth, but I’ll just say, I’m grateful we have a team doctor.
“We’re just fighting things, I mean, internally. It’s kind of passed around a little bit, caddies, players. It is what it is. But it’s nothing more than that. Guys are fighting and playing regardless. I mean, it’s not anything that’s kind of weighed us down because of the depth we have and because of the many options we think we have.”
That’s certainly not anything American fans want to hear after what transpired on the course Friday. Some may view it as the U.S. making excuses. Others may look at it as an actual crutch to the limping American team after the first day of play.
Later in his press conference, Johnson elaborated more on the illness.
“We have got some congestion and some just signs of things that are unfortunate,” Johnson said. “It’s one of those where sometimes the energy is probably a little low, but the ability and desire to go out and play is still there. That’s what we are weighing. Every one of them still wants to play every match, which is encouraging.
“It kind of has, yeah, I’m being honest, yes, it has. It has spread through my team.”
Sounds like the Americans need some Benadryl and NyQuil before Saturday’s play begins.