The practice pods for the United States have historically provided a hint of what combos are on the weekend horizon. If Tuesday’s practice round at Le Golf National are any indication, the Ryder Cup docket boasts some interesting pairings.
The Americans went out in foursomes overnight, Australian time, broken up accordingly:
— Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed.
— Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler.
— Brooks Koepka, Tony Finau, Webb Simpson and Bubba Watson.
While a handful of dynamic duos stick out, it’s the splitting of the US power couple – Spieth and Reed – that drew attention. The two young guns have played seven matches together in the past two Ryder Cups, along with four matches together at last year’s Presidents Cup, racking up 3.5 points in the process.
“It’s going to come down to what Captain thinks and what we all think is best for the team,” Reed said on his coupling with Spieth. “You know, it’s just going to really all depend on what we think are the best people we can put out and best teams we can put out since some guys are going to sit at some point, and who we feel can go out and get us the most points possible.”
So, is it possible the Reed-Spieth pairing is kaput? Not so fast, according to US captain Jim Furyk, who said he configured the pairings to make sure every group had two players that had seen the course before.
“Today is really about trying to learn the golf course and hit some solid golf shots. There may be some pairings out there and [in] some groups there isn’t,” Furyk said. “Just want them concentrating on their own game right now. They are very aware of who they will be playing with this week and they are very aware of some of the options they have, and they will work on that a lot in the team room and they will work on that a lot in the next couple days.”
Still, with other pods displaying seemingly simpatico squads – Thomas with Fowler, Simpson and Watson, Woods and DeChambeau – one is forgiven for reading the tea leaves.
“It would be awesome to play with (Tiger). Is it going to happen? We’re still working on it,” DeChambeau said. “We’re still trying to figure out who is going to best fit with each other, not me personally but for everyone that’s going out that day.”
Sticking with Tiger, according to Mickelson, don’t be surprised if the two Hall of Famers join forces for at least one match.
“I think we would both welcome it. I think we would both welcome it,” Mickelson said. And when asked if he knew if it would happen, Mickelson smiled, “I do have an idea of what Captain Furyk is thinking, yeah.”