Ryder Cup: (an alternative) guide to the Friday foursomes

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The inside line on what to expect from the Friday foursomes in the opening session of the Ryder Cup

Ryder Cup Friday foursomes

Ryder Cup Friday foursomes match 1:

Jordan Spieth & Patrick Reed v Justin Rose & Henrik Stenson

An enormous first match. Captain Clarke is working on the basis that writing ‘Rose/Stenson’ on a bit of paper is like playing his joker and being automatically awarded a point. They won three out of three together at Gleneagles so that makes it impossible they could ever get beat, right? Well, never say never, but these two are even better players now than they were two years ago.

The only problem is, the Spieth/Reed pairing was pretty good at Gleneagles too. They got 2 1/2 out of three. This is a really bad draw for someone, in the sense that they are going to see their strongest pair downed and the other team handed a huge early advantage. Unless of course it’s a half.

Prediction: Half

 

Ryder Cup Friday foursomes match 2:

Phil Mickelson & Rickie Fowler v Rory McIlroy & Andy Sullivan

Now, we expected to see this Californian pairing… six years ago in Wales when Rickie was making his debut. Quite why it has been resurrected now is anyone’s guess. As for the Europeans, we’ll all be happier when Sullivan gets his cap back on and becomes a cheeky chappie once more. He and Rory get on exceptionally well, which led us to believe they would be put out together at some point… namely in the afternoon fourballs. Truth told, I’m not convinced about either pair. The in-form Rory factor gives Europe the edge. Apparently he is bouncing like never before this week. That’s good. We like it when Rory is bouncy.

Prediction: Half Europe but not by much

 

Ryder Cup Friday foursomes

Ryder Cup Friday foursomes match 3:

Jimmy Walker & Zach Johnson v Sergio Garcia & Martin Kaymer

Not a lot of humour in this match. Zach is contractually obliged to play foursomes because he doesn’t hit it very far. But he only gets wheeled out in the fourballs at times of panic. Jimmy Walker has only played with Rickie previously in both Ryder and Presidents Cups so no real idea whether he’ll enjoy Zach’s brand of low drives and stellar wedge play. Kaymer is still without a defined Ryder Cup partner but gets on well with Garcia. Then again, even if he didn’t, he’d pretend to in Ryder Cup week, as would we all, because the Spaniard is a fairly ideal partner. You would have to say it looks like a strong European pairing, even if we haven’t seen them together in the Ryder Cup before.

Prediction: Europe with a little to spare

Ryder Cup Friday foursomes 1

Ryder Cup Friday foursomes

Ryder Cup Friday foursomes match 4:

Dustin Johnson & Matt Kuchar v Thomas Pieters & Lee Westwood

We knew this one was coming last from Captain Love. It’s not as though he was likely to go with JB and Koepka, for example, at this stage. DJ and Kuchar won twice together at Medinah with Dustin adding the ying to Kuch’s yang. Or it might have been the other way round. As for Europe, we knew Westwood would be wheeled out in the opening foursomes. We suspected the in-form Pieters might get a game too. Not many of us were teaming them up though. And especially not in the anchor match. It feels like they were put together rather than being an obvious choice. I’m not saying they can’t win. Just that they won’t. Not against these two.

Prediction: America home and hosed with at least two of the other matches still out on the course

 

Lunchtime score: USA 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 Europe

 

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