HAVEN, Wis. – The 43rd Ryder Cup is here. Due to the COVID pandemic, golf fans have had to wait three years instead of the normal two for this intercontinental clash.
Captains Steve Stricker (USA) and Padraig Harrington (EUR) have announced their opening line-ups for the Foursomes session on Friday morning, making it during the opening ceremony on Thursday in Whistling Straits.
There are four groups on the way out, so the captains had to make some hard calls to whom they should sit. For Stricker, it’s Bryson DeChambeau, Harris English, Tony Finau and Scottie Scheffler. Harrington sits Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton, Shane Lowry and Bernd Weisberger.
Friday afternoon there will be Four-Balls, but before we get there, let’s take a look at some predictions from Friday Foursomes.
Friday morning Foursomes
Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia (EUR) vs. Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth (USA)
Steve DiMeglio: In this powerhouse meeting, world number 1 Rahm and Garcia, the all-time leaders on points in Ryder Cup history, will get better from Thomas and Spieth, who were 3-1-0 as partners in Paris in 2018. Rahm and Garcia have shown a bit more kind of late and that makes the difference.
Adam Schupak: Where’s Michael Buffer when you need him? Let’s get ready to rumble! These are four heavyweights opening the Ryder Cup. That is exactly what we have been waiting for for the last three years. Spieth has a 2-1-2 record in foursomes and 1-1 with Thomas. Sergio is 10-4-3 all the time in the format. If he wins, he will be the all-time point winner in the format. Now he has the world number 1 as a partner in a new version of the Spanish Armada. I think Sergio rises to the occasion, Rahm plays with passion and Team Europe takes a point from Team USA in the lead match.
Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa (USA) v Paul Casey AND Viktor Hovland (EUR)
Steve DiMeglio: Johnson and Morikawa seem to form a perfect fit – Johnson’s power and Morikawa’s work with his irons. Casey and Hovland also look like a good fit as both are superb ball attackers and are strong off the tee. The match goes to 18 and all square, good for a ½ point for each team.
Adam Schupak: I really like this pairing of DJ and Collin. We’re talking about the most straight driver and the best iron player in the game. It’s a winning combination for me. However, I am concerned that none of them will be in top form this week. This is a match Casey and Hovland, who I think have the potential to be the Francesco Molinari character in this Ryder Cup, can steal if one of the Americans has not found their mojo. But I choose Team USA to get a full point here.
Lee Westwood and Matt Fitzpatrick (EUR) v Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger (USA)
Steve DiMeglio: Florida State teammates Berger and Koepka will head European veterans Westwood and Fitzpatrick. Koepka said his health is fine, he is a four times bigger champion and Berger has played very well too late. Westwood has been out of his best form since March. A victory for Team USA.
Adam Schupak: I like what Stricker did here, pairing two former Florida State Seminole teammates together. Berger is a birdie machine, and as he said earlier in the day, team golf produced “another side of me that I didn’t really know I had.” He will bring the energy and Koepka will deliver. Westwood and Fitzpatrick could kill them. I have my concerns about their laying. Team USA wins this one.
Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele (USA) v Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter (EUR)
Steve DiMeglio: The anchor fight is also filled with gold medalist Schauffele and FedEx Cup champion Cantlay meeting European stars McIlroy and Poulter. The recent good form of Schauffele and Cantlay, who won the last two tournaments of the PGA Tour season, shows too much for McIlroy and Poulter, who have not been at their best in some time. Tense match, for sure, and Poulter can wake up like he has before in the Ryder Cup, but Schauffele and Cantlay, who were 2-2-0 as partners in the 2019 Presidents Cup in Australia, win in the end. That would give the United States, which has lost four of its last five games but wins at home the last time the Ryder Cup was in the United States, a 2½-1½ lead.
Adam Schupak: This anchor fight is, as the kids say these days, on. This match alone is worth the entrance fee. Patty Ice and X-Man won two matches in foursomes format at the Presidents Cup, so this is right in their wheelhouse. But Rory and Poults? It is a big hill to climb. These two won a memorable Fourball match in 2012 in Medinah on Saturday that turned the entire match around. Will Poulter go into Poulter-geist mode? That may be the difference. Team Europe is going to need this point and I think Rory-Poulter will get this one out and the 43rd Ryder Cup will be a 2-2 draw at the end of the morning session.