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Olazabal defends player rotation

ESPN staff
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Nicolas Colsaerts earned Europe a point in the afternoon © PA Photos
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The Ryder Cup gets underway at Medinah Country Club on September 28. ESPN will have extensive coverage of the event - including interactive text commentary, reports and reaction - for all three days.

Jose Maria Olazabal defended his fourballs selections as Europe slipped to a 5-3 deficit against the United States on the opening day of the Ryder Cup.

Olazabal surprisingly sent out Paul Lawrie and Peter Hanson in the opening fourballs match, which resulted in American duo Webb Simpson and Bubba Watson claiming a comfortable 5&4 victory. Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia and Luke Donald, meanwhile, were all rested during the afternoon session, but Olazabal believes it will benefit his team come the weekend.

"I wanted to have every player play during the first day," Olazabal said. "And obviously in order to do that, you have to drop some of those players that have played in the morning. That was the reason behind it.

"At the same time, this is a long week. 36 holes today, 36 holes tomorrow, and single matches on Sunday; I don't want to wear down my top players before Sunday. So to have them rested one session, I think was a pretty good idea."

Olazabal, though, admitted it was a disappointing result for his team, who appeared to be headed for an early lead during an impressive start to the morning session. Europe went into the fourballs all square with the US, with the play of Nicolas Colsaerts the only highlight after the interval.

"Well, obviously not the day we were expecting, especially in the afternoon. I think we did okay in the morning session. Foursomes is not an easy format, and to go 2‑2, I think we were pretty happy about it.

"In the afternoon session things didn't go our way. I think we faced two really hot pairings the first two matches. Bubba and Webb played extraordinary well. I think they were like 10‑under par if I'm not mistaken. And then in the second group, I think Keegan (Bradley) was really hot today.

"I would like to mention that Nicola I think did something really special today. If the information that I got was correct, I think it's been the best scoring for a rookie in the history of The Ryder Cup. So it was quite an impressive performance, and it was a huge point for us. The way the session went, losing the first three matches, to win that last point, it made a big difference for the afternoon.

"And for tomorrow, well, again, we are going to have the first two matches are going to be really tough. We have, again, Webb and Bubba, and Keegan and Phil (Mickelson) in those first two matches.

"I've tried to put all the guns for tomorrow morning. We do have to change the momentum. We need to have a great day tomorrow, both morning and afternoon sessions. And that's what we are aiming for."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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