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Friday, September 28, 2012

When You Look at the Pairings...

Well, the professional referees are finally back on the field for the NFL... and the professional golfers are finally on the course for the Ryder Cup.

We're in a really good spot right now. In the past, if teams had 6 or 7 good players, they felt they were lucky. The good players needed to play all 5 matches to give their side the best chance to win. Now we find ourselves looking at teams that are easily 12 deep -- the only exception being if a player gets injured or a virus after making the team -- and the only real problem is who will have to sit.

And as I've said before, I think the home team always has the advantage -- not just because they can set up the course (that's less of an advantage these days, at least for the US team) and because they have the home crowd.

Yet, I have to admit the first session pairings (foursomes or alternate shot, whichever you prefer to call it) give me pause:
  1. Furyk-Snedeker vs McIlroy-McDowell
  2. Mickelson-Bradley vs Donald-Garcia
  3. ZJohnson-Dufner vs Westwood-Molinari
  4. Woods-Stricker vs Poulter-Rose
I'm not questioning the strength of the US team. It's just that when you look at the names... well, the star power certainly seems to be on the Euro side. This is simply a matter of experience, of course; the big names on the Euro side are younger than the US stars. And the US has 4 rookies -- 3 playing the morning session -- while the Euros have one and he's sitting this session. The rookies playing this morning have a major, a FedExCup title, and 5 PGA Tour wins just during this calendar year.

But still... it's going to take some time before Snedeker or Bradley strikes the same fear into competitors as McIlroy or McDowell!

Welcome to golf's new generation. I can't wait to see if we have some new "big dogs" come Sunday night.

And remember that the Ryder Cup is being carried by ESPN today.

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