Presidents Cup 2013: Ranking Best Pairings for Americans
The first part of the second day of action at the 2013 President's Cup at Muirfield Village is underway.
Headed into Friday's action, the United States led the International squad by one point, 3.5-2.5. The Americans won three matches on Thursday, and tied another.
The Americans had a few pairings that flourished, and will give them a good chance of taking home the trophy.
Who are the best pairings for the Americans? We'll break down the top three.
3. Steve Stricker and Jordan Spieth
Stricker and Spieth dominated the first day, beating Ernie Els and Brendon De Jonge 1-up. Stricker and Spieth never trailed during the entire match.
Spieth represents the future of American golf. He won at the John Deere Classic and has nine top-10 finishes. He is only the second golfer to win U.S. Junior Amateur more than once. The other? Tiger Woods.
Obviously, Spieth is not too concerned with the big stage of the President's Cup. That's where the presence of Steve Stricker is so important.
Stricker is a veteran with plenty of international experience. He's played in five President's Cups and three Ryder Cups. He also has 12 career PGA wins. He's a calming and guiding influence on the youngster.
Stricker and Spieth take on Branden Grace and Richard Sterne on Friday. Grace and Sterne lost to Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner on Thursday, by a score of 5 & 3.
It would be a surprise if Stricker and Spieth lost on Friday. They were too good on Thursday and they look to have the makings of a clutch duo.
2. Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner
As mentioned above, Johnson and Dufner dominated their Thursday opponents by a score of 5 & 3.
It was never close. Johnson won four holes on his own and five total birdies. Dufner had four outright birdies.
Making it even more impressive is the fact that Johnson is playing with the flu. U.S. captain Fred Couples was concerned, telling ESPN:
"It was bad enough that he couldn't fly and even be here. I'm going to say he'll be fine. He's doing OK. He wants to come out and chip and putt, but he'll play tomorrow and he's ready to go."
The upside for the Americans is that Johnson's symptoms should decrease over the length of the tournament, meaning he should feel a lot better by Sunday.
Johnson and Dufner go up against Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama on Friday. Scott and Matusyama halved with Bill Haas and Webb Simpson on Thursday.
Assuming Johnson can battle effectively against the flu, the duo looks to be one that the Americans can count on.
1. Tiger Woods and Matt Kuchar
This duo was dynamic on Thursday, as it beat Angel Cabrera and Marc Leishman by a score of 5 & 4. The two combined for an impressive six birdies through 13 holes.
They also seem to be enjoying great chemistry, as evidenced by this photo by Brad Galli of WXYZ-TV in Detroit:
Tiger Woods and Matt Kuchar celebrated with Fresh Prince handshake. Kuchar said Tiger was the "perfect Carlton." HA pic.twitter.com/JRy9YeIHVu— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) October 4, 2013
Besides the awesome cultural reference, the picture shows Tiger at his most relaxed. It's rare to see Tiger so relaxed on the golf course—he's usually the epitome of steely resolve.
But it may be the case that Tiger plays better when he's enjoying himself. So far, it's led to a great round of golf.
Woods and Kuchar have a tough matchup on Friday. They take on Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel, who pulled off a stunning upset on Thursday over Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley. Oosthuizen and Schwartzel were two holes down after seven. They eventually came back to win by a score of 2 & 1.
Despite that, Woods and Kuchar are much better golfers and they are playing at the top of their game. The U.S., if it is to hold on to its lead, is going to need to ride Woods and Kuchar.
By the looks of it, they are up to the task.
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