2016 Ryder Cup: Dream Matchups We'd Love to See This Week

Ben Alberstadt@benalberstadtFeatured ColumnistSeptember 28, 2016

2016 Ryder Cup: Dream Matchups We'd Love to See This Week

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    The 24 men who comprise the European and American Ryder Cup teams are making their preparations for Friday's first round of competition at Hazeltine.

    One of the luminaries of the DFS golf world, "The Moose" is on the ground in Minnesota and he snagged a pairing sheet for the practice round. While it could be a smokescreen, an early look at European practice Wednesday suggested that Darren Clarke intends to pair veterans with rookies. 

    On the U.S. side, captain Davis Love III seems to be reprising some pairings from Gleneagles in 2014 (Reed-Spieth), as well as deviating from script in the case of teams that didn't do well (Walker-Fowler). 

    We'll pull from these preliminary groupings for some four-ball and foursome matchups we'd like to see, as well as some Sunday singles showdowns we're hankering for.

Rory McIlroy vs. Dustin Johnson

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    The big guns. Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson were the leading points-getters for their respective squads. And if you hadn't noticed, with a FedEx Cup playoff win a piece, both have played fine golf in recent weeks. 

    McIlroy boasts a 2-0-1 singles record, while DJ is 2-0-0. 

    Two big-time talents. Both playing great golf. Both excellent in singles competition. No matchup looks better on paper than this heavyweight fight.

Phil Mickelson vs. Lee Westwood

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    The seasoned veterans. Lee Westwood has a shot at becoming the all-time leading points-earner among Ryder Cup players, and Phil Mickelson has competed in 11 straight Ryder Cups. 

    The 46-year-old Mickelson and 43-year-old Westwood are also the senior members of their respective squads. 

    Both have provided more than their fair shares of Ryder Cup excitement, and it would only be right to watch the two veterans battle head-to-head.

Phil Mickelson vs. Henrik Stenson

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    And if captains Love and Clarke don't see fit to pair Mickelson and Westwood in Sunday singles, it could be even better to see a rematch of the final round at Royal Troon in which Henrik Stenson shot 63 to Phil Mickelson's 65 to take the Claret Jug.

    The pair's brilliance separated them from the field by more than 10 shots, and we were treated to, essentially, a stroke-play match between two golfers firing on all cylinders. 

    Wouldn't it be great, then, to see the match-play variety of Mickelson-Stenson?

Patrick Reed vs. Sergio Garcia

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    The respective embodiments of pride for their teams, Patrick Reed and Sergio Garcia absolutely have to face off. 

    Garcia is a veteran of eight Ryder Cups at this point and Reed has played just one, but each player dials up the intensity for the biennial competition. Garcia's overall record in an impressive 18-9-5, while Reed went 3-1-0 at Gleneagles. 

    With Ian Poulter out, no golfers will be more fired up than these two gentlemen. Let's hope we get to see them do battle. 

Rickie Fowler, Brooks Koepka vs. Justin Rose, Andy Sullivan

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    The American bros vs. a pair of very stereotypically English-looking chaps.

    This isn't a matchup we want to see for any substantial reason. Indeed, Rickie Fowler was winless in his first Ryder Cup and Brooks Koepka is a rookie, as is Andy, so there's no reason to expect brilliant play.

    Rather, a foursomes or four-ball match featuring these parties will be much more entertaining to watch than it would purport to be on paper.

    Fowler and Koepka arriving in patriotic tank tops and snapbacks wouldn't be out of the question.

Patrick Reed, Jordan Spieth vs. Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose

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    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    We'd also like to see Rosey in this foursome featuring the players with the best records on both teams. 

    About those records...well, let's have a look.

    • Patrick Reed: 3-1-0
    • Jordan Spieth: 2-0-1
    • Justin Rose: 9-3-2
    • Sergio Garcia: 18-9-5 

    Rose and Garcia have been performing in the Ryder Cup for a high level for a long time. Reed and Garcia have only had one go in the competition, but both played brilliantly. Who wins, the experienced studs or the newly minted cup stars?

Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar vs. Rory McIlroy, Thomas Pieters

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    Dustin Johnson is basically the golfing version of the "surfer dude" typology. Matt Kuchar is the even-keeled dad from your neighborhood whose cheery disposition makes everyone wonder, "Can he really be that happy all the time?"

    Rory McIlroy has thrown his share of clubs and Thomas Pieters, well, who can forget his club-snapping-and-tossing episode at the Open Championship? (Kuchar, for his part, if he ever broke a club, would probably apologize to it.

    A showdown of similar demeanors on each side, it would be a treat to see how this played out, particularly in foursomes/alternate-shot play.

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