Days One of the 2010 Ryder Cup...Daze?
It took more than one day to resolve the opening fourballs (better ball in the good new USA); the afternoon foursomes (alternate shot) never broke ground. No doubt the armchair caddying and second-guessing has begun. It’s such a fun sport and inexact science (the second-guessing, along with the golf!)
–As Captain, you don’t dethrone the King. Let the opposition do that. The European Kings were the Molinari brothers. They had not won in Ryder Cup format, but they did win the world cup in 2009 in stunning fashion. From this peak, Captain Montgomerie might have led off with the Molinari Brothers or placed them somewhere in the opening four matches. In contrast, the American Kings were Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods. They made five birdies to trump the three birdies from their English counterparts Poulter and Fisher, on their way to a 2-up victory. Interestingly, despite the Euro makeup of this team, four English, three Irish islanders and a token German took to the tee on morning one. Monty playing favorites? So it would seem. Maybe that’s why he didn’t take Casey…knew that he couldn’t get away with five Englishmen on the team!
–What we know is what we don’t know. The gamblers (Mickelson and Johnson) made one birdie each; the Old Pros (Harrington and Donald) had one birdie (Donald) between them. Each team lost its match. Westwood and Kaymer should be together until they lose, given the five birdies they wrote down on a wretched opening 18. Even though Stewart Cink cooled considerably after his five birdies in nine holes midway through the round, he seemed comfortable with fellow tall Georgia Techie Matt Kuchar. Give them another shot. Ditto for Watson/Overton…the Hoosier had three birdies to one for his Twitter-deprived mate; enough to dispatch the Euro old guard of Donald and Harrington.
–It makes sense, too, to keep McDowell and McIlroy together. Five birdies as evenly split as possible between the two earned them a half-point with Cink…oh, right, and Kuchar.
–As I type, round two foursomes pairings have been released. Instead of four matches, all twelve golfers from each team will be on the course, with the American side holding a slim, one-point advantage. Here they are:
T. Woods / S. Stricker vs. M. Jimenez / P. Hanson
Z. Johnson / H. Mahan vs. E. Molinari / F. Molinari
J. Furyk / R. Fowler vs. L. Westwood / M. Kaymer
P. Mickelson / D. Johnson vs. P. Harrington / R. Fisher
B. Watson / J. Overton vs. I. Poulter / L. Donald
S. Cink / M. Kuchar vs. G. McDowell / R. McIlroy
The Mechanic, Miguel-Angel Jimenez, shepherds the young Swede Hanson against a beatable USA pair to start thing off. The Molinaris, if in form, should bring a second point to the Euros. Then, it gets REALLY interesting. How well will the 10 Million Dollar man and the MotoCross Kid play against the best the Euros offered on Days one? We’ll see if MickJohnson can rebound versus Harrington and Fisher, if WatVerton can keep its roll going against a great Poulter/Donald pairing, and the same for Cink/Kuchar versus another strong Euro pairing in McDowell/McIlroy.
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