The matches have been announced for the first match of Foursomes on Friday morning at the Ryder Cup.
8:20 AM McIlory/McDowell vs. Furyk/Snedeker
8:35 AM Mickelson/Bradley vs. Donald/Garcia
8:50 AM Westwood/Molinari vs. Dufner/Z. Johnson
9:05 AM Stricker/Woods vs. Poulter/Rose
USA Team Captain Davis Love is playing three of his four Ryder Cup rookies in the first-round foursomes. He has also put his “Dynamic Duo” of Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker in the last slot.
European Team Captain Jose Maria Olazabal has put his best foursome team of Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell out in the very first match.
The bettors at Ladbrokes believe in the McIlroy/McDowell team, and are only offering 5/6 odds for them to win. The whole world is expecting Rory/GMac to win the first points for the Euros.
It would be a major statement if Ryder Cup veteran Jim Furyk, teamed with rookie Brandt Snedeker, could somehow get even a half point in this match.
This match will set the tone for the rest of the day, and possibly the rest of the week.
The second match features Phil Mickelson paired with his mentee Keegan Bradley. They have become very close friends, and enjoy playing together.
The European Team of Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia is nearly a perfect pairing for foursome play. Luke does hit the occasional stray tee shot, but Sergio is one of the best iron players in the world. Both are gritty short game specialists, and will present a formidable opponent for Phil and Keegan.
Ladbrokes is offering 11/8 odds for a Mickelson/Bradley win. I don’t see how anyone could ever bet against Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia.
The third match out features some surprises. European Captain Olazabal has paired Lee Westwood with Francesco Molinari rather than Peter Hanson or Paul Lawrie. Westwood/Molinari will face another USA rookie in Jason Dufner, paired with veteran Zach Johnson.
Ladbrokes is offering 11/10 odds for a Dufner/Johnson win. Westwood’s short game is suspect at times, and both Westwood and Molinari can occasionally struggle on the greens.
I give Dufner/Z. Johnson the edge in this match.
The final match has veteran partners Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods versus veteran European partners Ian Poulter and Justin Rose.
All of these players have played well all year, and they all play well in this partnership.
Ladbrokes has them at Even odds. You can make a case for either team to win. This is why they play the game.
These are great pairings and matches. Olazabal has left the door open for some second guessing by loading the first match with his big guns and pairing Molinari with Westwood. He also has some comfort in the fact that he has Poulter/Rose and Donald/Garcia also on the course.
Love is getting three of his rookies on the course and into the fire. Will we see a Webb Simpson/Bubba Watson Four-Ball team in the afternoon?
Look for fireworks over Medinah in the 39th Ryder Cup.