Can’t help myself, here. Going to have to go back to the golf for a second. Plus, outside we have tropical depression Julio blowing up some wind and rain something fierce. Not too much to do today. The pairings for the first session of the Ryder Cup have come out, and I’ve got some…issues. Jim Furyk isn’t playing. Perhaps you’ve heard of him. He just won the Tour Championship. I thought that 4 Americans would play all 5 sessions. Tiger, Phil, Stricker and Furyk. Now, with Furyk out, I have my doubts about the rest too. We’ll see. Also, no Ricky Fowler in the opening session. I thought he’d be with Bubba Watson, but instead that falls to Jeff Overton, perhaps the American’s biggest question mark and wild-card. He’s streaky…in both directions. I’m going to pick the matches, because since I can’t pick the NFL, might as well try something new…warm me up for week 4 picks tomorrow. The opening 4-ball matches:
Phil Mickelson & Dustin Johnson vs. Lee Westwood & Martin Kaymer.
Yikes. Right out of the gate, heavyweight match-up. The way the other matches break down, and just for the purposes of momentum it’ll be important that the US gets something out of this one. Mickelson hearts DJ like a younger brother, and I have a feeling DJ hearts Philly Mick, because of his aggressive predisposition to gambling. They should match-up well together. The question mark is Westwood. Kaymer’s a tough draw, but Westwood hasn’t played competitively in a while. It’s the US’s glimmer of hope. Prediction: Halved.
Stewart Cink & Matt Kuchar vs. Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy.
No Woods vs. McIlroy, yet. This is a classic example of a non-golf fan looking at a match-up and saying, “Oh my god, the US is going to get killed.” Well, McIlroy hasn’t been playing too well, McDowell is living off the fat of the US Open, and Kuchar almost won the Fed Ex Cup. Made up award or not, it’s an indication of his recent play. Everyone just assumes Rory is ready to be this dominant force ala Sergio at 19. For all the heat Sergio takes, he was made for this environment, not sure about mop top. Too easy? Go the other way…Prediction: Cink & Kuchar 3 & 2.
Steve Stricker & Tiger Woods vs. Ian Poulter and Ross Fisher.
Even with Tiger’s struggles here’s a perceived advantage for the United States. Tiger sounds a little feisty this week, which could mean he could go off on a club twirling binge. The pairing with Stricker was good for 4-0 at the President’s Cup last year. TW’s bad holes won’t be so penal in the 4-ball format, and I am actually expecting one of his best Ryder Cup showings. On the other side, Poulter has good history and his teaming with Fisher has also been successful. I think this could end up being the match of the morning (3:00 Am eastern time, set your alarms!). Prediction: Stricker & Woods 1 up.
Bubba Watson & Jeff Overton vs. Luke Donald and Padraig Harrington.
Uh, oh. This doesn’t look so good for the United States. Interesting note, I wonder if this speaks to the form of guys like Hunter Mahan and Ricky Fowler. I expected to see them in the better ball format, but they are benched. Does this mean they could miss the entire first day? I know we’ll see Furyk in the afternoon, and I’d expect Zach Johnson to slide into Overton’s spot next to Stewart Cink, but what about the other guys? Maybe they’ll replace this entire pairing. For the Euros, this is a strong side. Consistent and possibly lethal. Harrington hasn’t had the results he’d like of late, but was practicing brilliantly according to reports. Someone tweet Watson’s followers and prepare them for bad news. Prediction: Donald & Harrington 5 & 3.