Ryder Cup: (an alternative) guide to the Saturday foursomesOctober 1, 2016 Latest news
Following our abject failu- sorry, partial success, yesterday, let's have another go at interpreting the matches, in the case the Ryder Cup Saturday foursomes
Ryder Cup Saturday foursomes match 1:
Rickie Fowler & Phil Mickelson v Rory McIlroy & Thomas Pieters
So, we open up with a match between two pairings eyeing up greatness.
Both of them won yesterday in their first Ryder Cup outing as a duo. Which means they automatically get another go today.
Win and we’ll be describing them as the new Seve and Olly, get turned over and they’ll never be seen again.
Success in the Saturday morning series, especially if your team is behind, also tends to earn you another go in the afternoon.
In a sense, it’s remarkable Phil is getting another go at foursomes because I can’t remember a tee shot he hit yesterday finding short grass (unless you are qualifying the Hazeltine rough in those terms, which would be fair enough).
But they did get it done in the end, turning their match around against none other than Rory McIlroy. Today, he has another rookie beside him but as long as Pieters doesn’t run out of gas it might be a different story. Never say never with Phil though.
Prediction: Phil can’t get another foursomes point playing like that. Europe squeeze home.
Ryder Cup Saturday foursomes match 2:
Brandt Snedeker & Brooks Koepka v Henrik Stenson & Matt Fitzpatrick
Two classic Ryder Cup captaincy pairing techniques here. Exhibit A is the American duo, the new pair who went so well in the previous session that the skipper claps them on the back and points towards the 1st tee. Exhibit B is illustrated by the Stenson/Fitzpatrick and Rose/Wood combinations.
Captain Clarke would dearly love to have kept his best pairing together but he had to get the two English rookies into the action and both would seem to be better suited to foursomes than fourballs. It makes sense, but if both pairs struggle then not only have you created a weakness, you’ve also nullified a strength.
Snedeker’s putting was silly yesterday while Koepka, like Cabrera-Bello for Europe, looked like he had been waiting all his life to get stuck into the Ryder Cup.
In form and in time, Fitzpatrick will be a great Ryder Cup foursomes player. Can he be one today?
Prediction: I have a feeling this won’t be close, but I’m not sure in which direction. Let’s back Europe on the basis that Stenson is immense.
Ryder Cup Saturday foursomes match 3:
Jimmy Walker & Zach Johnson v Justin Rose & Chris Wood
Could be trouble here for Europe. After a dodgy start, Walker and Johnson were excellent yesterday morning and both men holed putts, which is ever so helpful in a tight foursomes game.
They are a classic under-rated duo, quietly doing the business while everyone is cooing at the top match and laughing at Phil trying to play right-handed.
I know Rose holed the decisive putt yesterday but Stenson was much the stronger half of their partnership.
It’s asking a lot to expect him to help Chris Wood around and if they get behind early while settling down, they will struggle to turn it around. Because Walker and Johnson will give them very little for free, you sense.
Prediction: Sorry Chris Wood fans but this feels like a routine USA win to me
Ryder Cup Saturday foursomes match 4:
Patrick Reed & Jordan Spieth v Sergio Garcia & Rafa Cabrera-Bello
This one could be epic. Reed and Spieth looked unbeatable for much of yesterday but were actually quite ragged for the last eight holes of their fourball, making only one birdie between them. Then again, that was against Stenson in Royal Troon mode.
The Spaniards played with emotion and true camaraderie yesterday, their respective roles in the partnership clearly defined.
In fact, this will be an emotional match all round and don’t be surprised if it spills over into something a little spiky.
It’s such a tough one to predict because you feel that if Rafa gets going Sergio will play better and better.
But equally the Sergio who starts missing fairways and greens and doesn’t look like holing a putt is never too far away.
Prediction: The closest game. America to nick it
Session score: USA 2 – 2 Europe