SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France — Decisions have been made.
Pairing for Friday’s morning fourball matches at the Ryder Cup were announced here Thursday, and Team USA captain Jim Furyk didn’t shock the world with his choices.
Ryder Cup 2018 Friday fourball pairings
Brooks Koepka/Tony Finau
vs. Justin Rose/Jon Rahm
Quick take: Europe will try out arguably it’s strongest pair first thing Friday against a sneaky-good U.S. duo of Koepka and Finau — who will be lucky to snag a half-point to start the three-day event.
What Furyk said: “I think we love the chemistry there. Both guys, really talk about team, really talk about the energy of their partner. Both explosive, as you mentioned, without a doubt, but just they are excited with the opportunity to go No. 1 in that first group. They both really jumped on it, saw me out in practice today and made a beeline for me and said they would like that opportunity. I had mentioned it to Brooks early in the day.”
Dustin Johnson/Rickie Fowler
vs. Rory McIlroy/Thorbjorn Olesen
Quick take: It’s tough not to like Team USA’s chances in this one as Johnson recently reclaimed the top spot in the world rankings and has a Ryder Cup veteran in Fowler by his side.
What Furyk said: “(I) mentioned (the pairing) to the two of those folks weeks and weeks and weeks ago, had them talk about it, think about it. Golf balls, mannerisms, what they like in their partner, personalities. There’s significant — again, they work together in a lot of different ways. Both have that kind of laid-back mannerism that they both like and I think they pair up real well.
Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas
vs. Paul Casey/Tyrrell Hatton
Quick take: Expect a lot of high fives. Spieth and Thomas have such a close friendship that it makes it OK for Furyk to split the wildly successful pair of Spieth and Patrick Reed. That chemistry has a point for the U.S. written all over it.
What Furyk said: “I think the closeness and the number of rounds that they have played together is surely going to help. I think there’s some other signs between their two games, different styles of games, different ball flights. There’s a lot of reasons why I think they match up, but surely the fact that they are good friends, and they have that relationship and bond and have played a lot of golf together is always key.”
Tiger Woods/Patrick Reed
vs. Francesco Molinari/Tommy Fleetwood
Quick take: Wow. Woods has looked great in recent weeks and Reed is dubbed “Captain America” for a reason — he shines at this event. This match is a must-see.
What Furyk said: “ I think the fact that Tiger spent so much time with Jordan (Spieth) and Patrick (Reed) the last couple years; their knowledge of each other’s games, surely of Tiger knowing Patrick’s game, helped a significant amount. … Patrick’s a guy that really enjoys that moment and enjoys that big stage, and Tiger’s the one that brings it. We thought it would be a good pair.”
Team USA members not playing: Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson
Quick take: DeChambeau is really the only member of this group many expected to play Friday morning, but with a team this loaded someone had to be left out. He’ll get his shot in the afternoon foursomes.
What Furyk said: “The hard part is, you know, calling guys and telling them they are not captain’s picks, and hard part is telling guys, ‘We’re going to rest you tomorrow morning.’
“We have 12 players, as Europe does, and only eight can play. You’ll see on both sides, guys really want to be a part of that team atmosphere and will do whatever it takes.”
Fourball matches begin at 8:10 a.m. local time (2:10 a.m. ET) Friday.