Ryder Cup Foursome match-ups decided
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2012 The 38th Ryder Cup | Preview | 28 Sep 2012
The selections for the opening Foursome matches at this year’s Ryder Cup were made following the opening ceremony yesterday.
The first match out will see Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy up against Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker.
When questioned as to the wisdom of sending rookie Snedeker out in the first pairing USA Captain David Love 111 responded. "As I said, I think yesterday, these guys are not really rookies. Brandt Snedeker has been playing as well as anybody since The Open Championship, and he’s hot. Got him with a guy that’s got a lot of experience.
“So I think we just felt like where guys would be most comfortable; obviously the first tee Friday morning of The Ryder Cup is going to be a pretty exciting, loud place, and we wanted some guys that we felt like could handle that situation and that wanted to get out of the gate and get going. Those are two guys we felt like were perfect for the first tee.”
“Well, I wanted to have my strongest foursome pairings tomorrow for the first session, said European Captain Jose Maria Olazabal when asked to give an overview of his morning selections. “And that’s the logic behind these pairings here.”
Snedeker was excited with the prospect of playing first and with Furyk. “It’s great, Jim is a straight down the middle kind of guy, been playing really, really well and obviously driving it pretty straight and a lot of quality iron shots. Look for us to go out there and have a lot of fun out there and I think we’ll do really well and I think we’ll team up perfectly for each other.”
The second match-up sees Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia up against Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley.
“I’m really excited to play with Keegan, said Mickelson. “We have been wanting to play together for a while. We have a very difficult match against Luke and Sergio. Luke has I don’t think ever lost in foursomes and we are hopefully going to change that. But we are really excited about the matchup tomorrow and we are excited to get the matches started.”
Garcia was delighted to be playing with someone who he gets along with so well. “He’s my best friend on Tour. We get on great in Foursomes together. We are very comfortable together. It’s going to be a tough match against two very good players but we are looking forward to the challenge and we are going to try as hard as we can to bring back a point for the European Team. Obviously we both have a great record in Foursomes and we are unbeaten but we aren’t concentrating on that – we are just looking to win a point for Europe.”
The third match out has Lee Westwood and Francesco Molinari pitted against Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson.
“Francesco brings a lot accuracy to the partnership,” said Westwood. "We are going to be very steady and consistent and hopefully very hard to beat. You can give holes away very easily in foursomes. Momentum can go your way or against you and it is important to get off to a nice steady start, get some holes up early and build some momentum.
“I think we gelled well on Wednesday. Both of us are recognised for accuracy off the tee and hitting lots of greens in regulation and in foursomes that’s important your games parallel each other as you have the same strengths.”
Dufner will be playing his first Ryder Cup. “We played a lot in the Playoffs because we were matched up close with the points as it was kind of situated,” said Dufner referring to the pairing. “So we played Deutsche Bank, BMW, TOUR Championship. We played together at Colonial two days earlier in the year, so we’ve played a lot of golf together, and we were just chatting, and we felt like it would be a good pairing and a good match up, so we told that to the captain, and he stuck us together going out early tomorrow.”
The final match of Friday morning has Ian Poulter and Justin Rose against the tried and true combination of Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods.
“Yeah, Strick and I are very comfortable together,” said Woods. "We’ve had some pretty good success over the years, and we both have been playing well. Our captain said that would be a good fit, and he wanted us out there to anchor. We’ve got a great match up in Rosey and Poults.
“The thing is we know each other’s game, and we practice a lot together at tournaments. We play practice rounds together. We’re very comfortable out there. We know what to expect from each other. There are no hidden surprises out there for us. We’ve been through a lot of matches together and have played a lot together, so we’re fine.”
Both captain’s were keen to see the contest played in a tough but fair manner and crowd support along similar lines.
“We know Chicago is going to be loud,” said Olazabal. "Chicago is a great sporting city. They love the game of golf, and I’m pretty sure they are very strong in their support for the U.S. Team, without a doubt. But I felt that I needed to just make that point clear. Actually, Davis did it, also, in a similar way; that saying that we are not here this is not a war; this is a sport.
“You know, I think we are both of us, we think the same way. We have been here more than 25 years. We have known each other, both teams know each other very well. They play week out, week in, and it’s going to be a lot of respect between the two teams.
“Even though we are going to try to beat each other, obviously, but the spirit of The Ryder Cup is what it is. We are here just to compete for the Samuel Ryder Cup in a friendly way. I mean, there is no need for any harsh words or bad comments at the wrong time.”
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