RYDER CUP: Potential European pairingsSeptember, 2012
Who we think will and won't play together at Medinah
Partners: Garcia is a possibility but Donald might have something to say about that. Then again Donald is a possibility (they were superb in 2010) but Sergio might then have to step in. We’ve got a sneaky feeling for Molinari but don’t tell the others.
Won’t play with: McIlroy and by extension McDowell. Who knows how friendly they are now but would certainly be a very odd alliance.
Partners: It’s Rose all the way in the foursomes. Might get a run out with previous partners Kaymer or GMac, relationships which have gone well in previous matches.
Won’t play with: In 2010 he opened up with Ross Fisher, then enjoyed some time with Donald and Kaymer. Likes the limelight so will likely not be seen with Sergio or Westwood.
Partners: With a pairs record like his, the queue will stretch to downtown Chicago. Donald is nailed on for the foursomes. Westwood is a possibility for the fourballs. Whatever, will be friends reunited.
Won’t play with: Sergio and Rory were like naughty little school boys in the final round at Augusta. Headmaster Olazabal will not want to see that kind of behaviour repeated.
Partners: The proverbial Pierre Fulke of the side. A year ago, would have been at the top of everyone’s list. Now, interest will have cooled off. Unlikely to be seen in the foursomes, maybe one outing with Poults ahead of the singles.
Won’t play with: With just one rookie in the side highly unlikely the German will be asked to hold Colsaerts’ hand.
Partners: It has to be Poults. Their three games together yielded two points and they should have won the other. These long-time friends are nailed on to play foursomes twice.
Won’t play with: Another captain’s dream – Rose is well liked and won’t offend or niggle anyone. Is such a strong team you wonder if he’ll only get a little slice of the fourball action.
Partners: GMac. All day long. Only ever had one Ryder Cup partner and that’s GMac. And this time, you just know he is going to want to dominate the partnership, in a good way; at Celtic Manor it was his mate who hit the good shots.
Won’t play with: Former stablemate Westwood. Think Woods and Mickelson – rivalry gets in the way of friendship.
The proverbial Pierre Fulke of the side, a year ago Martin Kaymer would have been at the top of everyone’s list. Now, interest will have cooled off.
Partners: Strong, calm and consistent, so well suited to foursomes. Think of him as part of a pod outside of the star names which includes the likes of Lawrie and Colsaerts. Could form a very annoying/majestic pairing with the Scot.
Won’t play with: Last time spent most of the week with Jimenez though difficult to see a further Spanish pairing with Sergio.
Partners: As a rookie, it’s hard to see him playing in the opening series so look out for him in the fourballs. Will do well alongside someone steady like the other three members of his possible pod (see Hanson).
Won’t play with: Rory, GMac, Poulter, Kaymer, Rose, Garcia, Donald or Molinari (see Hanson). Won’t be a weak link at all.
Partners: Interesting. He’s part-rookie and part-veteran in Ryder Cup terms. Was brilliant at Brookline in 1999 and might have a bigger role to play than some imagine. Hanson, and Colsaerts are both good options and they could end up being Europe’s surprise pair.
Won’t play with: Can’t see him fist-pumping or chest-bumping with Poults or Sergio. Even a modest high five might be pushing things.
Partners: In his adopted home state, sure to be a big player for Europe. Sergio will have his eyes on him after they paired up in past matches. So will Poulter. And, indeed, so will more or less anyone else on the team.
Won’t play with: Easy-going Luke is everyone’s friend, partly due to being able to chip and putt like nobody else on the side.
Partners: Rory. It’s the match’s most obvious pairing and you’ll see it on the first morning.
Won’t play with: Anyone else. Unless something goes strangely wrong. Olazabal will surely see these two as the nearest he has to the Spanish Armada though they fell on some shaky ground in Wales. Did play with Poults at Valhalla, so if Rory fancies a sleep in, that’s an option.
Partners: Interesting – with brother Edoardo nowhere to be seen, lacks an obvious accomplice. Would be a brilliant foursomes partner as he’s so straight. Might team up with Westwood. Or anyone really.
Won’t play with: Softly spoken, understated, modest and almost angelic. Difficult to see him alongside Poulter.