USA Ryder Cup Hopes Will Rest with Cink, Toms and Henry
US Ryder Cup Captain Tom Lehman is hoping to find one more super-pairing like he believes he has in Tiger Woods & Jim Furyk and Phil Mickelson & Chris DiMarco. In the 2005 Presidents Cup competition those two pairings were exceptional. While you have to believe that those two pairings will go out for all four matches during the first two days of 2-man team play, Lehman would love to have another pair that he could count on for at least 3 of the four sessions.
As things stand right now, nobody in the European side is playing any better than Stewart Cink, David Toms or JJ Henry, except perhaps Luke Donald. And Lehman’s third real strong pairing will probably come from these three. Cink is on a pretty good roll, having finished in the top 10 in 4 of his last 8 tournaments. Toms is a little more of a mystery, only because he returned from a mid-season injury to play in 3 consecutive tournaments. A 19th place finish in the International was followed by a 16th place finish in the PGA Championship and an 8th place finish at the WGC event at Firestone. That is some return! The question is if Toms is healthy enough to play more than 18 holes per day. Henry has been playing very well since making the team (top 10s in his last 2 events) and will likely go out at least twice in the twosomes regardless of whether he’s playing with Cink or Toms.
If Toms can play more than 18 holes a day, Lehman will ask him to do it, but on only one of the first 2 days to help keep him fresh for singles. With those three twosomes playing 12 of the first 16 matches, Lehman can mix and match his remaining veterans Scott Verplank & Chad Campbell with inexperienced teammates Zach Johnson, Henry, Brett Wetterich and Vaughn Taylor to get them some match experience before Sunday singles. Any halves or points they might get out of those four remaining twosome matches would be a nice bonus.
I believe this formula is what would give the US a fighting chance to win in Ireland.
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In 4 ball I would play Wetterich with Verplank. Wetterich makes birdies and eagles but has snowmen too, perfect for better ball.
What I'd like to see is the two combined, where the team who wins this year would defend the Ryder Cup the following year against the team who sits the year out - but on the challenging team's "home" course. Could you see if the Euro team were to win and then next year go to, say, Australia to take on the International team. It would be huge. Then, the year after that, the US team would play the Euro / International winner in the US. Now, that would generate world wide interest and give everybody an occasional year off.
I agree on Wetterich usually being a great fourball partner. He's one of the top birdie makers on Tour when he's on form.
Incidentally, one could make a case that Tiger is the worst paid athlete on the planet. On a very good year he makes 10 mil playing. Any above average baseball player makes that and Tiger is likely the number one athlete in the world. Sure he makes a bunch pitching products but since Woods is responsible for the purses increasing it seems he should earn a lot more playing and I have a sneaking hunch that's what he is thinking too.