British Open 2012 Pairings: Notable Matchups for Round 4
Sunday at Royal Lytham and St. Annes, Adam Scott will begin the day with a four shot lead (-11). The leaderboard wreaks of familiar players and several players who have done big things in major championships.
Among those of course are the world's most famous golfer Tiger Woods, one of the world's hottest players— Zach Johnson, and one of the game's all-time great players— Ernie Els.
That doesn't even include Graeme McDowell— a guy who has been outstanding in major championships in recent years. Then there are relative unknowns Brandt Snedeker and Thorbjorn Olesen, who is the great unknown of the championship and anonymous in comparison to all the other players on the front of the leaderboard, including Snedeker.
With those players in the mix, there are some very intriguing and interesting final round pairings.
Group 34: Vijay Singh and Jason Dufner
By now most people know Jason Dufner started the 2012 golf season as hot as any player on tour. He was a favorite to win at Augusta and at the Olympic Club. In between it all, Dufner was getting married and learning how to handle the most success he's had as a pro.
He is yet to win a major but his time seems to be coming soon, just not this week.
On the other hand, Vijay Singh is a former world No. 1 who has seen his better days. Every now and then he sneaks back up into contention at a major.
The two are almost antithetical to one another in background, experience and success on tour. What an interesting grouping that ought to be.
Group 36: Matt Kuchar and Dustin Johnson
Though neither Matt Kuchar or Dustin Johnson figures to make their way up the leaderboard Sunday (Johnson is at one under-par, Kuchar at two-under) the combination of these two players could be very fun to watch.
Kuchar is a player who relies on precision in his golf swing and accuracy with a mix of a decent short game and putting. Johnson on the other hand is one of the thickest, most powerful players on tour. He is to all extent, the Hulk of the PGA Tour.
Both are among the top 15 players in the world, yet neither has won a major championship. It seems neither will win tomorrow, but a strong finish could help give each the necessary confidence to win here or in another major in the near future.
Group 37: Mark Calcavecchia and Louis Oosthuizen
Mark Calcavecchia and Louis Oosthuizen would both have to be on the PGA Tour's all-name team, if there were such a thing.
Neither figures to be in serious contention on Sunday, which is probably a good thing for any announcer who may struggle pronouncing names with a hundred vowels and crazy sounds in them.
Of course Oosthuizen has won a major and knows how to play on Sunday. Calcavecchia also provides the amazing story of having his wife carry his bag (she must really love him!).
This is an odd pairing to say the least, but could be one of the most fun too, for oh so many reasons.
Group 38: Bubba Watson and Thomas Aiken
No one really knows who Thomas Aiken is, nor does anyone truly care (no offense Thomas, or to your parents, family and friends).
The truth is this pairing is a noticeable one because Bubba Watson has become one of the most indelible figures in golf. Between his pink driver and shades of pink attire to his quirky personality to his almost-overdone lack of analytic approach to golf, Bubba is the layman golfer's hero.
For that reason alone, group 38 has intrigue on Sunday.
Group 40: Ernie Els and Zach Johnson
Between the almost identical persona and mannerisms to the style of their games, Zach Johnson and Ernie Els are a pairing which exhibits symmetry to a tee.
While many of the pairings on the top of the leaderboard are intriguing because of the dissimilarities, this particular coupling is intriguing for the exact opposite reason.
Both players enter the day six shots back at five-under par. Can either make a run? Can both?
Because they are so similar it is the ideal pairing to see each make a run, or for that matter to see each fall back from the pack.
Group 41: Tiger Woods and Brandt Snedeker
Perhaps I'm the only one alive who is happy Tiger Woods did not end paired with Adam Scott so we don't have to hear the dribbling nauseating Woods-Williams controversy rhetoric storyline for a whole four hours Sunday.
As much as I have hated on Woods in major articles this year, there is little doubt he's playing as well as he has at any point post-scandal, post-injury. But he remains the antithesis of his Sunday playing partner.
Brandt Snedeker is really everything Woods is not. He is full of personality, a likeable character who laughs at himself as often as others. His lack of success in majors is as easily attributable to his youth as it is to his game.
Another interesting difference: Woods went to Stanford, Snedeker to Georgia. Not to rake on a school such as Georgia, but it's not Stanford. The point is less though about academics and more about upbringing.
Clearly it's made both men who they are today. Woods is serious, Snedeker fun-loving. Does any of that matter as the two play golf? Probably not. But it could affect which player you root for Sunday.
Group 42: Graeme McDowell and Adam Scott
Prior to Thursday's opening round I made a plethora of futile predictions for the tournament. Among them— two Europeans would play in the final pairing and a European would win in a playoff. I wasn't too far off, as Graeme McDowell is a native of Northern Ireland and Adam Scott is from Australia— a country still under British rule.
But the playoff projection seems unlikely unless Scott comes back a few shots and Graeme is able to muster a couple shots under-par round similar to his play at the U.S. Open a month ago.
Scott has been on a tear all week and looks poised to capture the claret jug with minimal opposition. The only player who could realistically challenge Scott would seem to be McDowell.
For that reason the pairing ought to be intense. Those tend to be the best pairings, especially on Sunday at a major championship.