Sep
24
2014
Potential (or probable) Friday pairings for the U.S. Ryder Cup team
By Stephanie Wei under Ryder Cup

While American captain Tom Watson continues to play coy about Friday’s pairings, it appears as if they’ve already been long decided. The U.S. Ryder Cup team went out in the same three set of foursomes in Wednesday’s practice round as it did on Tuesday. Playing from the ninth tee in the morning, the first group out for the Americans included Zach Johnson, Hunter Mahan, Webb Simpson and Bubba Watson.

Simpson and Watson were paired together in 2012 and won two of their three matches 5&4. Their successful partnership is thought to have played a massive role in Simpson being selected as a captain’s pick.

The second group consisted of Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson, who were thought to be a lock to partner again after going 3-0 two years ago at Medinah. The dynamic duo played alongside Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker — who teamed up in a practice match during the Tour Championship a few weeks ago and told me that they very much wanted to be paired together.

The final American practice group teed off the first hole comprised of veteran Jim Furyk, Patrick Reed, Matt Kuchar and 21-year-old Jordan Spieth, who played on the victorious U.S. Junior Ryder Cup team at Gleneagles in 2010. Furyk, who described himself as the “utility infielder,” will likely partner with Reed, the 24-year-old rookie.

We already know Kuchar and Spieth are partners because Kuchar revealed it to the media in his press conference on Tuesday evening.

“I was told by Tom that I would be playing with Jordan,” said Kuchar when asked how the potential pairing came about.

Kuchar is looking forward to playing with Spieth, whom he didn’t even realize was a Ryder Cup rookie because he’s so mature and even-keeled.

“Jordan and I have a pretty similar game,” said Kuchar. “Distance-wise, we’re very similar. We both putt the ball well. Trying to figure out the advantage of who should approach, who should putt. It’s kind of the one thing you try to work out with a partner is in the alternate-shot, who should break it up, odds and evens, who should putt more, who should hit more approaches, who should hit more drives. We have a similar game, so it will be interesting if we play alternate-shot to try to figure that part out.

“But as a teammate, he’s fantastic. He’s young, he’s excited. He’s a fantastic player, great putter, a guy that certainly I think anybody on the team would love to play with. And I think he and I might actually be the two guys that could be easiest to pair with anybody. I think he and I kind of would be two guys that would get along with anybody and kind of nice to have a guy — just for any of us, it’s so easy. I think to be paired with a guy like Jordan is fantastic for me.”