An alternative guide to picking Ryder Cup pairings

Opinion

Mark Townsend tries to decipher the pairings that we'd love to see in France, but absolutely won't for a variety of reasons, including religion, equipment, and IQ levels

This year’s Ryder Cup has thrown up all sorts of Ryder Cup permutations in terms of who might be partnering who and even Tiger and Phil have been talked about as possible partners again. So we’ve tried to whittle away the partnerships that won’t see the light of day for a variety of reasons…

Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia

When the Ryder Cup comes around the lazy way of thinking is that everyone from the same country gets along. Which, you would think, is amazing for the Americans given it’s just one country.

So we can pair Stenson and Noren immediately given they’re both Swedes, and probably best mates and holiday buddies. Hatton and Rose? Yep, they’re almost identical characters, both reserved and very English. Fleetwood and Casey, pretty much brothers from a different mother, peas in a pod.

This is easy.

And big Jonny Rahm and Sergio. One is 23 and from the Basque country, the other 38 and a mere 400 miles away. But they’re both Spanish so that’s OK, another easy pairing.

What’s that? They don’t get on. Impossible. Apparently we can’t expect to see another Armada in France so put your castanets away.

Bryson DeChambeau and Bubba Watson

When Bryson DeChambeau was at high school he rewrote an 180-page physics textbook into a three-ring binder. He explained that he didn’t want to ask his parents for the money so he wrote every last word down to help ‘understand things on a whole comprehensive level’.

With his balls he puts them in a bowl of Epson Salts to balance each one. He will then spin the ball and the out-of-balance one will wobble to where the low point or heavy side of the ball is due to the centre of gravity not being in the exact centre. He will then put 60 milligrams of lead tape to see if the ball then flips back over. If the ball is more than 60mgs out of balance then he won’t play it. Supposedly four out of every dozen were taken out.

And these are his thoughts on swing theory.

So, quite the thinker.

These are Bubba’s thoughts on some of Paris’ most famous landmarks.

“I don’t know the names of all the things, the big tower, Eiffel Tower, an arch (Arc de Triomphe), whatever I rode around in a circle. And then what’s that – it starts with an ‘L’ – Louvre, something like that. One of those.”

Bryson DeChambeau

Webb Simpson and Dustin Johnson

Webb Simpson studied religion at Wake Forest. His Twitter handle used to read ‘a sinner loved by a saviour’.

He once likened a penalty shot to the divine.

“For me, it’s not as much the nature of the game but the fact that the Holy Spirit is prompting me to call a penalty on myself.”

Webb Simpson and Dustin Johnson

After one victory he said: “I’d be stupid not to thank my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, because it was tough out there and I was nervous.”

Of his golfing skills he says: “I don’t think about my gifting as that unique compared to other Christians. It just happens to be that my gift is golf, whereas another guy’s might be preaching, and another’s might be business…I wasn’t born to be a golfer. I was born to be a child of God.”

I might be wrong but I don’t think DJ shares the same beliefs.

Paul Casey and Tommy Fleetwood

Tommy is apparently down to his final set of Nike irons so he attempted to buy some off his team-mate Paul Casey.

Despite the probable numerous offers from other manufacturers Fleetwood still uses the VR Pro blades and Casey has a set of the clubs, untouched at his home. Not that Fleetwood is likely to be able to get his hands on them.

Fleetwood and Casey

“It stops me from breaking any, that’s for sure,” Fleetwood said. “Eventually, I’m going to have find a new set, but I’ve been using these for a long time and they’re still going. “Paul’s got a brand new set and he won’t give them to me. Shame on Paul. He’s pretty set in his ways, so I don’t think I’ll be getting those.”

Casey had a slightly different version of events: “They are as rare as rocking horse pooh. And I will not sell them to him. Or put it this way, he hasn’t offered me enough money. They look beautiful, by the way, and I haven’t used them. They’re the kind of clubs you could hang on the wall.

“I love the fact that Tommy is running around telling everybody. But I haven’t found any gifts in my locker or handwritten notes. He’s gotta try harder.”

If they were paired together Casey did add that he would bring his spare set along to Paris.

“If he’s my partner, maybe I’d loan them out to him for the week because I want him to play well. But I’ll have them right back at the end of the week.”

Which, given the fact that these two led the team off in this year’s EurAsia Cup in Malaysia and won 4&3 nicely, there’s half a chance that this might happen.

Patrick Reed and Justin Thomas

The Presidents Cup

This would be just very weird and like going out with your best mate’s ex-girlfriend given Reed’s dalliances with Spieth.

The strong likelihood is that Reed and Spieth will continue as they were – in the Ryder Cup they are W4 H2 L1 and in the Presidents Cup W4 H1 L0 – which is pretty hard to break up.

But, just say, things don’t start off as they normally do and the first day doesn’t bring any wins and Fowler and Thomas also aren’t clicking and this is a pod of four. Fowler and Spieth are keen to give it a go after dove-tailing nicely on Spring Break 2018 and that leaves Reed and Thomas thrown together.

Or maybe not…

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