The European banker: Garcia/Kaymer at evens vs Walker/Johnson
In my head, I had many American pairings combinations but Jimmy Walker and Zach Johnson wasn’t one of them. I think Davis Love III is trying to replicate the steady-eddy duo of Johnson and Jason Dufner that proved so effective at Medinah – until they ran into Ian Poulter on Saturday afternoon.
So even though Sergio Garcia and Martin Kaymer are the favourites with the bookies, I still think even money is a good enough price to warrant a little foursomes poke.
The Americans are going to hit a lot of fairways and greens but they are also going to have to do it from a long way out.
Johnson’s record in Presidents Cup foursomes is brilliant but in Ryder Cups, despite his reputation, it’s a bit more mixed (3 wins, 4 losses and one half).
If there is a format where Garcia utterly excels then it is Ryder Cup foursomes. He’s experienced just two losses in 13 encounters and has had four different partners in that time (Parnevik, Westwood, Donald and McIlroy).
He can play foursomes with anyone and I think Kaymer’s steely determination makes him an ideal foil for Garcia’s flair.
The value bet: McIlroy/Sullivan to beat Mickelson/Fowler at 10/11
I think they match up well against Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler. Rickie has yet to pick up a full point going into his third Ryder Cup and can you really rely on Phil in foursomes in a match that may need to go down the 18th?
Mickelson is under tremendous pressure. He hammered Tom Watson at Gleneagles, has been part of the fabled Ryder Cup task force and then spouted off about Hal Sutton this week. If he doesn’t start well – and there’s some bang average rounds in his recent PGA Tour form – how will he react?
At some point, I think this pairing will give the Europeans a chance. If McIlroy continues the hot form with the putter that saw him scoop the FedEx Cup, and if Sullivan can banish the nerves he is surely going to be feeling, then 10/11 could be a steal.
The American triumph: Johnson/Kuchar to beat Pieters and Westwood at 8/13
I’d have preferred to see Danny Willett with Lee Westwood and Thomas Pieters paired with Martin Kaymer and I think this European twosome are going to have their hands full against Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar.
The two admittedly only played in fourballs together at Medinah but won both their games and they feel like a good combination – DJ’s devastatingly long driving combined with Kuchar’s scrambling ability and putting.
Pieters was in hot form before a reaction to a bee string forced him out of action for a couple of weeks.
Now Westwood may not only need to nursemaid him through the early stages but hole a couple of important putts – and that’s never been his strong point.
The halved game: Rose/Stenson vs Spieth and Reed at 6/1
The oddsmakers can’t split them and, to be honest, neither can I. You can easily make an argument for either of these pairings getting their respective continents’ Ryder Cup campaigns off to a brilliant start.
Whoever starts the faster can also set the tone for those further down the order.
If I had to have a stab at it, I’d shade Rose and Stenson given their stellar recent form but, if you go on previous Ryder Cup showings, it should be a dead heat. I think 6/1 for a half is a massive price in this encounter.