As things stand the European Ryder Cup team is going to look quite different from the one that played under Darren Clarke at Hazeltine. Which new pairings would you like to see thrown together at Le Golf National and which of the usual suspects, do you think, have had their day?
Dan Murphy: We’re all looking forward to the next Spanish Armada© – Sergio Garcia and Jon Rahm. Spanish pairings are contractually obliged to win at least three-quarters of their matches. The ratio is possibly even a little higher if it’s foursomes. It’s also OK if the passion gets to levels that briefly upsets their opponents.
James Savage: Fleetwood-Rory, Noren-Stenson, Rose-Fitzpatrick and Hatton-Beef. That should get us a couple of points in the morning fourballs.
Then Rahm-Garcia, Rose-Stenson, Rory-Fleetwood and Levy-Dubuisson. That should take care of business in the afternoon foursomes. You might as well hand over the trophy now.
Joe Urquhart: I just want to see Rory and Thomas Pieters back together again. They were a pretty dreamy pairing at Hazeltine…
Dan Murphy: Pieters is yesterday’s man. Keep up.
James Savage: I’ve changed my stance on the Frenchmen issue after talking to an insider (someone who lives in Paris). He thinks there will be little to no interest among the bourgeoisies without a decent representation from the home country.
Mark Townsend: Hatton and his good friend Fisher? Beef as a vice-captain? Rose and Poults? Dunne and…. someone who sounds like Dusted?
If more than one Frenchman gets in the team then I’ll eat my beret (which I bought in Australia to watch France v Ireland in the Rugby World Cup in 2003).
Dan Murphy: Dunne is a very good shout to make our team. I am also certain Shane Lowry will be there too. So there will be a very well-supported Irish pairing permed from those two and Rory at some point, I predict. Send them out in the last match of the day for maximum inebriation. The fans, not the players.
Then again, I had Manassero down as our record points-scorer by 2022.
James Savage: If we’re going all Irish then why not McDowell – a former French Open champion at Le Golf National?
Dan Murphy: Yep, he’ll be there too.
Mark Townsend: Bizarre as this sounds I think there’s a slim chance that Fleetwood won’t make it, hangover to 2017 and all that. Then again he might be in the team by the end of the Desert Swing.
Given Frankie Molinari, Casey and Cabrera Bello will all likely be in it we seem to have around 20 people making the team for Paris. Do either of Westwood or Poulter make it?
James Savage: No-one wants Casey in the team. And no thanks to Westwood and Postman Poulter.
Dan Murphy: I want Casey in the team. I could see Noren missing out. What if he’s somehow had the hot spell of his career, climbing into the world top 10, basically between two Ryder Cup qualifying periods?
If you picked the Europe team off the current world rankings, which you wouldn’t, because the match is 10 months away, and you don’t anyway, this is what it looks like:
10 Cabrera Bello
James Savage: Wouldn’t be a bad way of deciding it to be fair.
Joe Urquhart: Is Thomas Pieters at least first reserve?
Dan Murphy: No. The reserve list is as follows (I’ve still got the page open):
Interestingly, looking at the Hazeltine team, that still leaves Wood, Willett and Sullivan unaccounted for.
Joe Urquhart: Fitzpatrick really doesn’t do it for me.
Steve Carroll: That’s just because he blanked you at the British Masters…
Mark Townsend: Oh, hello Steve..
Joe Urquhart: He didn’t blank me. He said he HAD to have lunch at that particular moment…
Steve Carroll: I see ‘Fitzy’ as the silent assassin.
Mark Townsend: The modern-day David Gilford.
Dan Murphy: And arguably the best putter on our long list of contenders.
James Savage: He’s not exactly going to strike fear into the oppo is he?
Joe Urquhart: It’s exactly that. He’s just all just a bit meh… I reckon I could beat him with mind games in a match play situation.
Mark Townsend: In which case you should give the US Amateur a go..
Joe Urquhart: It’s on my to-do list…