Are Woods and Mickelson locks for the Ryder Cup?August 17, 2018 The Scoop
Who will Jim Furyk pick for the Ryder Cup? The curious case of Paul Casey, and is Europe's fine home form coming to an end? The Fourball team fast forward to Le Golf National
James: If you were Thomas Bjorn who would you be sending out as your opening pair on Friday? I’d be going big with a Rose/Fleetwood or McIlroy/Rahm.
Steve: I want fire and brimstone from the opening pair and I can’t think of a better player to get us going off all guns blazing than Jon Rahm. Pairing him is an interesting task but I think I’d opt for a ball-striking machine in Francesco Molinari. The latter has now proved he’s up to the big occasion and can be the steadying never-miss-a-fairway partner to allow Rahm to get on a birdie blitz.
Alex: If Pieters makes it, then I’d be sending out a serious statement of intent by putting the Belgian and Rory McIlroy out first. I don’t need to remind you they won three from three as a pair in 2016, including a 3&1 roasting of DJ and Koepka. Whichever American pair is put out first is not going to want to see those two standing on the tee with them.
Dan: Stenson and Noren for me. I want to give the home crowd something to feed off and in the absence of a Frenchman, a pairing of two Continental Europeans is the next best thing. They will also get behind Noren as a rookie. Most importantly, I think these two Swedes will be very, very hard to beat. There will be plenty of strength behind them too.
Steve: Europe haven’t lost at home since The Belfry in 1993. After 25 years, is this the time our colours are finally lowered on our soil?
Alex: Nope. I’ve always been an optimist when it comes to Europe winning the Ryder Cup – home or away – and this year is no different. I know we like playing the role of the underdog, and I’m OK with that, but the way people go on you’d think it was Manchester City vs. Torquay United. Need I remind you that, since that win in ‘93, the US have lifted the Ryder Cup on just three occasions.
Dan: I fear as much, yes. I know the world rankings say otherwise but it just seems to me that they have a lot of world-class performers who are sure to rise to the occasion. We are asking a lot from our rookies, even though they are an exceptionally strong bunch. Our big guns are not quite as reliable right now as theirs.
James: Probably. We’ve seen a new team spirit about Team USA since Gleneagles and they have the best team on paper in my opinion. I can’t see there being a ‘hostile’ crowd like we had at Hazeltine which clearly had worn the likes of Rory McIlroy out by the back nine on Sunday. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was close but I think USA will just edge this one.