by Jeff Skinner
Finally, the rhetoric is over and it’s time to tee it up at The Ryder Cup. And right out of the box we are treated to a very exciting match.
American Captain Davis Love III sent out one of his stalwarts in Jim Furyk and paired him with the hottest putter on the planet, Brandt Snedeker. European Captain Jose Maria Olazabal went right to the bug guns with his Irish Eyes paring of 2010 hero Graeme McDowell and the hottest golfer on the planet, Rory McIlroy. This grouping is worth the price of admission all by itself.
The next group is just as exciting as Phil “The Thrill” Mickelson will mentor his protégé, rookie Keegan Bradley around Medinah for his first taste of Ryder Cup pressure. The Americans won’t have an easy task as they face Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia who have a 4-0 record in foursomes. This time of year Garcia bleeds European Blue and is the emotional engine that drives the European team.
Veteran Zach Johnson is teamed with rookie Jason Dufner as Captain Love gets three of his four rookies right in the action. Dufner has had a very consistent season and Johnson wields one of the best putters in the game. They will have their work cut out for them as the British Bulldog Lee Westwood pairs with the ever consistent Francesco Molinari. These four might not miss a fairway all day.
The final group of the morning has Tiger Woods playing with his most trusted partner, Steve Stricker. The greatest golfer of his generation has struggled in foursomes and has a 4-7-1 record. But Love is hoping that Tiger’s game is on form. He’s comfortable with Stricker who can sink a putt from anywhere. The European team of Ian Poulter and Justin Rose will do their best to take down the American heavyweights. Rose’s game is as good as any (short of Rory) on the Euro team and Poulter lives for the Ryder Cup. No matter how he is playing prior to the Cup he always pulls his weight for the Europeans.
These morning matches are stacked with some heavy duty players and I can’t see the U.S. team getting more than a point or a point and a half in the morning. Let the game begin!