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

Ian Poulter

Ian Poulter

I don’t think this will work, do you? The bulging eyes, the high expectations of himself and his partner. It’s only going to end one way.

I’m too intrigued by the shanks not to waste this opportunity to quiz him on where they come from and he’d soon get very sick of this and my perpetual lagging of every putt.

I can’t do car chat. I’ve been thrilled by the space that our Ford S-Max gives us and I don’t think that’s going to cut the mustard.

I think I’d like to win a point alongside Poulter more than anyone just to experience the thrill of that but I think Tiger and Bryson might be too strong for us.

Rory McIlroy

Ryder Cup Shipnuck

This could be electric. Can you imagine what it would be like being alongside Rory in a Ryder Cup?

Me and Rors against their biggest guns, be it Spieth and Reed or DJ and Koepka or Rickie and JT or TW and BDC. So many initials everywhere. I can think of no greater buzz, Rory nearly taking my hand off when we high-five a birdie, getting right in my face when I make a 5-nett-4 at the 15th or just bouncing down the fairways making small talk. We might also get to hear what Harry Diamond’s voice sounds like.

Again, regrettably and it would really be something, we’re very different animals and the only ‘I can’t hear you’ shrieks would be to me when he literally can’t hear me.

Matt Wallace

Matt Wallace ace

Did you see him in the play-off in Denmark? He was like a man possessed; so much self-belief, so much determination, so much grit.

He’s a natural-born winner, he sees an opportunity and then kicks the door down. When a putt needs to drop, it drops. When he needs to smoke one 300+ over a bunker, he smokes one. He doesn’t appear to see problems, just birdie chances.

Not for me.

Sergio Garcia

Sergio Garcia

The worry here is that we might drag each other down a bit. On a good day we’d be great, me making a handful of 4-for-3s, but on a bad one I’m not sure who would be the one to take control to try and get us moving forward again.

I wonder how long I could drag out the Augusta chat, I wonder how much he’d want to talk about having a young baby, I’d worry that we’d get drawn against Tiger and it would all get a bit awkward.

I think I’d just worry too much so have pencilled in a spot of lunch on the Friday when we’re both at a loose end.

Rafa Cabrera Bello

Ryder Cup partner

Another nice guy and, as you can see, we’re old friends. The brother I never had.

I sat next to him at a dinner and couldn’t help myself when everyone started asking for pics. It was a lack of dignity on my part but I couldn’t help myself, he’d just won the Scottish Open and I wanted to try and be his friend.

I don’t really understand what the weird thing he does with his hands is which does make me wonder he might be a bit too cool for me. I also worry that he’d be disapproving about the way I’ve let myself go since we last spent some time together.

Thomas Pieters

I’ll be honest I know very little about Belgium other than being able to name pretty much all of their 1982 football team.

If he does make the team then I reckon he’ll probably be reunited with Rory and there’s no strong reason why I should get in the way of things.

Henrik Stenson

Henrik Stenson

Sign me up, skipper. Yes please, all day long. I love the bones of the man. I also love his trousers, ability to wear knitwear and his occasional industrial language.

We could be strong 3-wood brothers in arms, this is a recent thing that I’ve incorporated into my game and it’s not that strong as I’ve cranked it up to 15.5˚ but you get my drift.

We both know what it’s like to not be able to keep the ball on the planet and battle our way back to greatness; in Henrik’s case an Open Championship, in mine getting down to 7 for a brief period.

We could discuss Scandi Noir and the problems of growing old, it would be a right laugh.

Tommy Fleetwood

Tommy Fleetwood

I won’t bore you with details of how well we played together in Portugal one distant pro-am ago but, let’s just say, two points outside the prizes tells its own story. And he missed a short birdie putt on the penultimate hole.

I like a bit of gentle ribbing, not too much as I’m a sensitive soul, and Tommy found both my putting stroke and chipping technique quite amusing. If we were to play foursomes I’d like to think his Greens In Regulation heroics would mean that I wouldn’t be doing any chipping and my ability to lag everything from outside six feet would give us a great chance.

Tommy’s The One.

Captain Bjorn, give us a go. We won’t let you down.

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