How the Ryder Cup Can Be Won or Lost

Peter HughesSenior Analyst ISeptember 13, 2008

The acid test will be on the first two days of Foursomes and Fourballs. The overall score at that time will probably give a clear indication whether the trophy will be retained or regained.

History indicates if either team has a substantial lead going into the final day's singles, inevitably, it wins the most coveted honour in world golf.

Both captains, therefore, must give specific attention to the pairings they select and how they position them in the draw.

Foursomes and Fourballs, seldom, if ever, are played on the professional tours in world golf, although both, in particular the latter, dominate with club golfers throughout the year.

The two modes require players of differing temperaments, with Foursomes demanding most from any pairing. It is so easy to lose if one partner does not have complete empathy with his partner throughout the match.

This is an element which has been extremely strong in the European camp in recent years. Paul Azinger must study it closely before next Thursday.

Nick Faldo would do well to cogitate upon his failings in 1971 at Kiawah Island, when paired with David Gilford, a rookie, whom he ignored from the first tee. Consequently they were hammered 7&6 by Paul Azinger and Mark O'Meara.

So how may the teams line up on Thursday?

The United States could select any four from five:

Mickelson/Kim.  Furyk/Curtis.  Cink/Stricker.  Leonard/Mahan.  Perry/Holmes.


Europe's partnerships:

Harrington/Westwood.  Karlssonn/Stenson. Casey/Poulter. Jimenez/Garcia. Rose/Hansen.


With the same order on the draw sheet (excluding one pairing)


Forecast :         Anybody's guess !!!