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US Ryder Cup team smacked with illness to start sluggish Ryder Cup

The U.S. Ryder Cup team is off to a sluggish start in Rome, and it could be due to an illness spreading across the team.

Captain Zach Johnson, whose 12-man squad went winless on the first day against Europe, wishes not to make excuses for the U.S. but did say an illness has been affecting the team thus far.

Though, regarding the actual nature of the illness, he wasn’t a man of specifics.

“There’s been some unforeseen things that we’ve had to navigate around, which is really unfortunate, in the sense of health,” Johnson said, according to Reuters.

“It’s not an excuse, because we have depth, but I’ll just say I’m grateful we have a team doctor.”

Johnson added that the illness is disturbing the health of both players and caddies in and around the team.

“We have got some congestion and some just signs of things that are unfortunate. 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,” said Johnson, who has been a U.S. Ryder Cup mainstay, making five appearances as a player and three as a vice-captain.

“That’s what we are weighing. Every one of them still wants to play every match, which is encouraging.”

Europe swept the U.S., 4-0, on Friday morning, a session where Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Brooks Koepka did not play, raising eyebrows across social media.

The illness could be partially to blame.

“We have contingencies and things of that nature based on a lot of things,” Johnson said.

“You know, I would say that we’d love to have everything drawn out way, way ahead of time but there’s certain things you cannot control and we are trying to control the controllables in our team room, and I’ll leave it at that.”

The Ryder Cup, which is played every other year, ends on Oct. 1.

The Americans, who have only won two Ryder Cups since 2008, won the most recent edition played in 2021, dominating Europe, 19-9, at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.