Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia slumped to their first ever foursomes defeat in the Ryder Cup as the United States drew first blood at Medinah.
The European pair had won all four of their foursomes outings together, winning twice in the record nine-point victory at Oakland Hills in 2004 and repeating the trick when the same winning margin was achieved two years later at the K Club.
Garcia was also unbeaten in nine foursomes appearances overall - winning eight and halving the other - while Donald had won six out of six, but one of captain Jose Maria Olazabal's key pairings lost 4&3 to Phil Mickelson and rookie Keegan Bradley in Chicago.
After losing the second hole to a birdie two, Donald and Garcia got back on level terms with a birdie on the fifth and won the sixth with a par, but were pegged back on the ninth and then lost four holes in a row from the 12th - two of them to birdies but two to par.
That meant the second match out had been decided first, with the top match between Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy and Brandt Snedeker and Jim Furyk all square with two to play. The Northern Irish pair had been three up after 12 but lost three of the next four holes, including the 15th where McDowell's drive on the reachable par-four found the water.
In match three, Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson were one up on Lee Westwood and Francesco Molinari after 13 holes, while Ian Poulter and Justin Rose were three up after 12 against an off-form Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker.
McIlroy and McDowell, who had talked confidently about getting European blue "on the board early", breathed a massive sigh of relief after a par on the 18th was enough to win the hole and the match.
Snedeker, who on Sunday held his nerve to win the FedEx Cup and more than USD11million, carved his tee shot way off line into a hospitality area to leave Furyk only able to pitch through the trees onto the fairway.
That eventually led to a bogey five but McIlroy was fortunate to see his drive clip some trees and bounce back to the edge of the fairway, from where McDowell dragged his approach into a greenside bunker.
McIlroy hit a good recovery shot to five feet and McDowell held his nerve to seal the win and make the overall match score level.