Tiger Woods and Fred Couples slumped to a 4&3 defeat to Retief Goosen and Adam Scott as the International team took a 3½-2½ lead in the Presidents Cup.
US captain Jack Nicklaus put his top pairing out first but the duo struggled badly on the opening day in Virginia.
US Open champion Michael Campbell of New Zealand and Argentina's Angel Cabrera beat Kenny Perry and Davis Love 2&1 in the last match of the day.
Trevor Immelman and Mike Weir also won for Gary Player's International side.
The South African and the Canadian easily beat Stewart Cink and David Toms, who was making his return after collapsing with chest pains during last week's Lumber Classic, 6&5.
Fiji's Vijay Singh and Australian Mark Hensby rallied on the back nine to halve with Fred Funk and Jim Furyk.
The other American points came from Justin Leonard and Scott Verplank, who beat Australians Peter Lonard and Stuart Appleby 4&2 and Phil Mickelson and Chris DiMarco, who got the better of Australian Nick O'Hern and South African Tim Clark at the 18th.
Couples had consistent problems finding the fairway on the front nine and shouldered the blame for his and Woods' loss.
Scott and Goosen led by two at the turn and a bogey by the Americans at the 15th gave them the match.
"I was mediocre and I put Tiger in some tough spots," said Couples. "I enjoyed playing with Tiger and Retief and Adam but I just didn't play well.
"Your shortcomings show in the alternate shot format and playing with the best player in the world it showed today. I couldn't help Tiger at all."
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But Scott and Goosen were understandably delighted with their result.
"We did a good job out there, we got the job done," Scott said.
"I think it was important playing Tiger and Freddy to take control early because it's hard to come back against those guys."
Goosen added: "We made the putts at the right time. The pressure was always on them."
Angel Cabrera-Michael Campbell (ARG/NZL) vs Phil Mickelson-Chris DiMarco (USA)
Adam Scott-Retief Goosen (AUS/RSA) vs Fred Couples-Davis Toms (USA)
Mike Weir-Trevor Immelman (CAN/RSA) vs Justin Leonard-Scott Verplank (USA)
Vijay Singh-Tim Clark (FIJ/RSA) vs Fred Funk-Stewart Cink (USA)
Peter Lonard-Nick O'Hern (AUS/AUS) vs Davis Love-Kenny Perry (USA)
Stuart Appleby-Mark Hensby (AUS/AUS) vs Tiger Woods-Jim Furyk (USA)