Topgolfgears Morning 9: More pairings speculation | Mickelson: Tiger’s never swung better | No love for Jacklin?

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GolfWRX Morning 9: More pairings speculation | Mickelson: Tiger’s never swung better | No love for Jacklin?

1. Pairings speculation, redux
A tweet from the PGA Tour…
“Today’s practice pairings:
Reed, Spieth, JT, Woods
DeChambeau, Mickelson, Simpson, Watson
Finau, Fowler, DJ, Koepka
Casey, Hatton, Olesen, Stenson
Fleetwood, Molinari, Noren, Poulter
Garcia, McIlroy, Rahm, Rose”
Golfweek’s Kevin Casey offered this
  • “A lot has been made (obviously) of who Tiger Woods’ partner will be. Interesting that Patrick Reed has been in his foursome both days. Yes, Jordan Spieth/Reed has been a killer pairing, but it seems more and more possible that duo could be split up.”
  • “Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau have also been paired together both days. A Woods/DeChambeau pairing has been much discussed, but Mickelson and DeChambeau do have similar analytical styles.”
  • “On the European side, Tommy Fleetwood and Ian Poulter were in the same pairing both days. That all-English duo could be formidable if the thinking went that way…You’d believe, too, that captain Thomas Bjorn will look to pair 28-year-old rookie Thorbjorn Olesen with a grizzled Ryder Cup vet. To wit, Paul Casey has been in both practice pairings with Olesen.”
2. Bjorn was once critical of the strategy he eventually employed in his captain’s picks?
Our Stuart Bell makes some interesting points…”And for that reason, Thomas Bjorn did not need to load the team with experience, something that Darren Clarke got badly wrong last time out. Of course, with the benefit of hindsight it’s easy to point the finger at the out-of-form veterans Westwood and Kaymer-had they come to the fore it would have been seen as a stroke of genius. But they didn’t and were shown to be just that: out-of-form veterans.”
  • “So in that regard, it’s very surprising that Bjorn has gone the same way. Particularly given his own comments on Ian Woosnam’s team in the 2006 edition, when Clarke and Lee Westwood were selected.”
  • “I haven’t heard a word off him for half a year, and I’ve spoken to several players who are on the team, and have been for a long time, and they haven’t either. What sort of captaincy is that? I have lost all respect for him.”
  • “My relationship with him is completely dead and will remain so. This will be the first time I don’t even watch the Ryder Cup on television, and you don’t know how sad that is, given how much I care for that tournament I desperately want the 12 players to be a success, but I want them to do it in spite of the captain.”
  • “If the decision was based on competitive results, then I could go along with it. But it seems there’s other reasons. He’s based his decision on results which happened five years ago.”
  • “Parallels are certainly evident with his own selections of Paul Casey, and more so Sergio Garcia-deemed lucky by many to selected by the captain. Henrik Stenson caused a little concern with his injury; it’s contributed to his lack of points, and he’d have almost certainly qualified on merit if fit.”

 

3. Tiger-Phil pairing? Probably not
Captain Furyk threw cold water on the idea.
“I guess nothing’s out of the realm. They did play some golf yesterday. I think they both mentioned it would be a lot better pairing than it was in the past. You know, I won’t ever say it wouldn’t happen, but it’s probably not too likely.”
4. Mickelson: Tiger is swinging the club as well as he ever has

Mickelson…”It was evident last week when he won, to see the response and the way the people responded to him and the way that people responded to the game, and the excitement level, the energy that he brings. You know, he’s been playing some remarkable golf.”

  • “This is the best I think I’ve ever seen him swing the club, even going back to 2000, when I thought he was at his best. He’s striking it so solidly that nobody was surprised that has played with him that he won, and I think that now that that first win is out of the way, I think he’s going to start rattling off some more.”
5. The perils of pairing with Tiger
It’s never easy…Cameron Morfit looks at Woods’ past Ryder Cup pairings–and some rotten results.
  • “Tiger Woods and Mark Calcavecchia were never supposed to play in Foursomes (alternate-shot) at the 2002 Ryder Cup at The Belfry. Birdie-machine Calcavecchia seemed more appropriate for Four-ball play, but two things led to the Tiger-Calcavecchia pairing. First of all, they were friends, having played practice rounds together, and “Calc” wouldn’t be intimidated by Woods’ aura. And secondly, there was something Calcavecchia knew that U.S. Captain Curtis Strange didn’t, or at least didn’t seem to take into account: Playing with Ken Green and Payne Stewart, Calcavecchia had gone 4-0 in previous Ryder Cup Foursomes.”
  • “I actually had to talk Curtis into it,” Calcavecchia said recently. “I brought it to his attention. I said, ‘Let me play with Tiger, I’ll get you a win.’…”I would have thought, teeing off, that there was no way we could lose.”
  • “Woods has had 12 partners in Foursomes and Four-ball play, going 4-8-1 and 5-8-0 respectively, for an un-Tiger-like 9-16-1 record in the matches that make up the first two days (and 16 of 28 points) of the competition.”
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6. Rich Hunt on the Ryder Cup
GolfWRX Featured Writer and statistician to PGA Tour pros Rich Hunt joined the TG2 podcast to discuss a variety of subjects, including the upcoming action at Le Golf National.
  • A few takes…”For alternate shot…I would keep Webb Simpson away from the four-ball format. And it’s very important for captains to get all 12 players playing on day one…the teams that get all 12 players playing on day one do the best…somebody like Rickie Fowler would be a really good pairing for Webb Simpson. Rickie’s been…very accurate off the tee. Webb Simpson’s biggest weakness is shots from the rough. He needs a partner who can find a lot of fairways so that they can capitalize on Webb’s play on the approach shots.”
  • “I also like…Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods together, and also Tiger and Bryson DeChambeau as well. They pair up really well. When Tiger’s driver is a little bit off…Bryson is really good out of the rough this year. Conversely, Bryson has been one the best drivers on Tour, and then you’ve got Tiger’s iron play. So it’s a really good match.”
7. Bubba blue glove
Bubba Watson, in what was apparently not a coordinated marketing stunt for his glove sponsor, did his Ryder Cup press conference yesterday with a blue golf glove on his hand.
  • Golfweek’s Kevin Casey...”Watson responded by noting that American players like to challenge each other to do silly things during team events, so …  “I said I’ve got to wear my glove the whole interviews. So I’m doing it.”
  • “Got to have something to do. Golf gets boring after awhile. A lot like Justin (Thomas) said, a long year, we’re all pretty tired….”(It’s) just being dumb with the team. It’s like there’s a certain guy, I’m not going to say who, had to say certain words in their interviews. Who knows if they said ’em.”
  • “So that sort of makes sense, in an odd way. That is until, per Golf Digest, you factor in Jordan Spieth’s responses when he was asked about Watson’s glove as part of some team joke….”I don’t even know anything about it,” Spieth said. “He just was in the locker room and said, ‘I think I’m going to wear my glove in media.’ Is there something else?”
8. Stats of note
Golf Channel’s Justin Ray looks at a few key numbers…”Since 2006, the Americans have been outscored by a combined 15 points in the three Ryder Cups contested in Europe. Each side’s star players are the chief reason why. In those three Ryder Cups (2006, 2010 and 2014), European players ranked in the top-ten in the World Ranking have a combined match record of 25-8-9, good for 0.70 points per match. The Americans in the top-ten are 14-27-5 (0.36 points per match) in that same span. Contrast that to 2016 at Hazeltine, where the American top-ten players (9-6-2) outplayed their European counterparts (5-8-0).”
And this on the quality of the squads…”The 2018 Ryder Cup features each of the top-ten in the World Ranking for the first time (the Ranking began in 1986). The average World Ranking of the two teams is 15.1 – the best in this event’s history. The U.S. team is especially stout, with a roster featuring an average World Ranking of 11.2 – best of any team in the event’s history. Eleven of the top-17 players in the world are on the American side, and the lowest-ranked player, Mickelson (25), is the most experienced player in U.S. Ryder Cup history.”
9. Why doesn’t Jacklin get credit?
John Huggan thinks we’d be right to remember Tony Jacklin more in remembering the history of the Ryder Cup.
“Not without justification, Seve Ballesteros has been credited with having more than a little influence in the resurrection of the Ryder Cup. Before 1979, when the continental Europeans became eligible to compete for the Old World side, Great Britain & Ireland’s increasingly futile efforts had reduced the biennial clash to little more than a gentile garden party. Yes, everyone had a jolly nice time. But the Americans always won. Invariably comfortably. That all changed in 1983 at PGA National in Florida when Seve-significantly backed-up by the likes of Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer, Ian Woosnam and Sandy Lyle-made the matches consistently competitive for the first time. Motivated by an agonizing single-point loss that year, Europe didn’t finish second again in the Ryder Cup until 1991.”
“But we are getting ahead of ourselves. The start of the transformation from 1981 at Walton Heath-when Seve did not play because of an on-going appearance money dispute with the European Tour-and two years later in Palm Beach Gardens was not actually initiated by the endlessly charismatic Spaniard. That honor must go to another man controversially omitted from the playing on the ’81 squad. Step forward Tony Jacklin. Without the presence and influence of the former British Open and U.S. Open champion, there might not have been a Seve and, in turn, the Ryder Cup as we know it today.”
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GolfWRX Morning 9: More pairings speculation | Mickelson: Tiger’s never swung better | No love for Jacklin?

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