Usually before we get to a Team Match Play event such as The Ryder Cup, or The President’s Cup the most popular question that comes up, is who will be paired with Tiger Woods during the Fourballs, and Foresomes competition? Team USA Captain Fred Couples will have another problem when they tee it up at Muirfield Village on Thursday, who will play with PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, Jordan Spieth? It will be the easiest to solve, everyone wants to play alongside the new guy.
I’ve browsed around the internet, and found some interesting pairing possibilities at Golf.com from Senior writers at Golf.com, Sports Illustrated and GolfMagazine.com, who have given us their two cents on the subject.
The common theme that seems to run through all the writers, is that it’s time to break up the Tiger Woods, Steve Stricker team. Not only has this team wore out it’s welcome with Stricker, it didn’t work out so well at Medinah last year. In Stricker’s defense, after the John Deere Classic in 2012, Steve looked tired, and was not his usual self at the Ryder Cup. Had he been on his game, the Ryder Cup would be residing at the USGA Headquarters instead of somewhere in Scotland.
It’s pretty obvious right now, that if Stricker does not play with Tiger, he will need someone who is putting well right now. Brandt Snedeker sounds like a good fit. Gary Van Sickle at Sports Illustrated had this to say:
With Tiger’s short game, it would be nice to have Brandt Snedeker (like Stricker, a great putter) backing him up in alternate shot. Seriously, who doesn’t want to be paired with the best putter on the team?
Michael Walker at Golf.com trumped the selection, but also added this:
At this point in his career, Tiger should be ready to play the mentor. Pair him with Jordan Spieth. If not Spieth, then Matt Kuchar is the kind of steady pro’s pro that Tiger has always favored.
I like half of Michael’s idea, it is time for Tiger to step up and mentor some of these youngsters. He has taken on the role around the PGA Tour, and it appears to have worked. He played a mentor round of golf with Billy Horschel during the off-season last year, and after spending two and a half rounds with Horschel at the Farmers Insurance Open, Horschel came along well this year.
The beauty of this problem comes in the fact that Fred Couples has four pairings he can work with. Why not let Tiger mentor Jordan Spieth for a round or two. Based on the youngsters current game, and Tiger’s, Woods may be able to pick up some tips from Jordan.
I would like to see at least one pairing that included Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods, also maybe pair the youngster with Phil Mickelson for a session. He could pick up some tips on how to treat fans as well as provide a safety valve for Phil if he starts to spray his driver around the course.
One thing for sure! Team USA has dominated this tournament for the lion’s share of its existance, so it is a great training ground for next year’s Ryder Cup where Captain Tom Watson will need some seasoned players if he intends to go into Scotland and bring the Ryder Cup home. I’m guessing he will be watching this event with great interest.
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