How to pick your ideal Ryder Cup partner

The Scoop

Have you ever thought who you might play with if you qualified for a Ryder Cup? Mark Townsend has. Far too much. He breaks down his options in this week's Notebook

I spend far too long thinking about the Ryder Cup and all that goes with it. So, if I was to be given my Ryder Cup reins, I’ve tried to outline who might get the best out of me. I’ll play off 8 with a couple of courtesy shots if we’re playing off the same tees…

Francesco Molinari

Masters gallery

The slight worry here would be that neither of us would be able to hear one another. I’m a mumbler and, while Frankie is slightly more audible, his voice does follow a slightly similar trend. It’s not a criticism, particularly given that English isn’t his first language etc etc, more an observation.

He is also fluent in Spanish, which doesn’t tally with my A Levels in French and German, and he and his caddie chat in Spanish. Which makes sense given that Pello Iguarán is Spanish, as his name slightly suggests.

So unless they’re ordering a jamon y queso bocadillo that would rule me out of most chats.

Jon Rahm

Jon Rahm

I’m not very good around angry people, I get on edge very quickly and spend my whole time trying to placate them. After a while I’d end up resenting big Jon and his little hissy fits, it’s my Ryder Cup debut too, and I don’t think we’d gel particularly well.

I’d love to be the one who could calm him but I suspect that he doesn’t really need that and he’s fine the way he is. Maybe we could be table tennis pals instead.

Alex Noren

My pre-shot routine is now down to a four-inch waft of just my wrists. This is down to a screaming back problem and some self-consciousness issues.

I’d feel a bit overawed by Noren’s muscular intent before even hitting a ball and that my lack of effort to warm up and stretch will have disappointed my prospective playing partner.

I like Noren, he might have the second shiniest forearms behind Martin Kaymer and he seems particularly genuine. I just worry that my body – and mind – will let him down.

Thorbjorn Olesen

Two rookies together? Are you mad? Old Thunder Bear and I are cut from a different cloth. He’s young, good looking and hopeful. And I’m not.

He lives in London, I grew up in London. But I suspect our lifestyle choices are slightly different unless he also enjoys playing too much darts in horrific back-street boozers.

He supports Manchester United, I support Leeds. We’re probably best just being breakfast buddies.

Justin Rose

Justin Rose

A bit closer to my age range though I’d still be the senior partner. This might work. Justin’s an all-round nice guy, he’s got a couple of kids, and he’s pretty much the ultimate Ryder Cup partner.

And you know, when I’m continually letting him down on the course, he won’t show it when he really should be playing the role of Sir Nick to my David Gilford at Kiawah. He should be calling me all sorts and blanking me at every opportunity but, Justin being Justin, he’ll have my back.

He’s too nice, we’d never get along. 

Tyrrell Hatton

Tyrrell Hatton temper

I quite like Hatton and, while big Jonny Rahm terrifies me a bit, I find Tyrrell’s outbursts more amusing than scary.

Again, though, we’re worlds apart. He’s 26, likes computer games and cars. I’m none of those things.

I think my time would be best spent trying to persuade Captain Bjorn to pair Hatton and Rahm on the Saturday morning. Send them out first, tell them that anything goes and then stand back a safe distance.

Paul Casey

Paul Casey

Probably not, if that’s OK.

Can Mark settle on a Ryder Cup partner? Find out on the next page…

Previous article
Next article
Top