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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Potential Presidents Cup Pairings

Later today we'll find out who the two captains have chosen to pair for the foursomes on Thursday. However, we've gotten little hints and glimpses, and here are a few of the possibles.

Nick Price has played it pretty close to the vest, in part because his players haven't had much time to practice together until this week. However, certain pairings seem likely and the practice rounds Tuesday did nothing to suggest they won't happen:
  • Sterne and Grace: These two rookies have been good friends for the last 7 years and practice together often. With 7 rookies on the roster, Price will have to pair at least 2 rookies together. These two seem to be the most likely.
  • Oosthuizen and Schwartzel: A no-brainer. These two are not only good friends but have played as a World Cup team.
  • Scott and Matsuyama: This one was rumored as a likely pairing even before this week. The belief is that Scott needs to begin acting as a mentor, and Matsuyama's play would look to be a nice complement to Scott's.
  • Day and DeLaet: This one showed up during Tuesday's practice and seems to have potential.
Fred Couples, on the other hand, has specifically mentioned some of his pairings.
  • Spieth and Stricker: This one seemed likely when the two played some matches against Phil and Keegan at the Tour Championship, and Freddie has specifically mentioned it several times since.
  • Mickelson and Bradley: After that performance at the last Ryder Cup, did anybody ever doubt this one?
  • Johnson and Dufner: Another successful pairing from the last Ryder Cup.
  • Woods and Kuchar: This one became a rumor after Stricker and Spieth became a possibility. Then on Tuesday, the two were seen practicing with each other's golf balls -- a likely indication that the two will at least play some foursomes together.
Dufner has also made no secret that he'd like to pair with Tiger, and the two have spent a fair amount of time practicing together. When you consider the fact that one of Tuesday's practice groups included Woods, Kuchar, Dufner, and assistant captain Davis Love III -- standing in for Zach Johnson, who arrived late after recovering from a stomach bug -- it's possible that Freddie may consider these four interchangeable. (In fact, Zach apparently played a few holes with Tiger Tuesday afternoon.)

Of course, each captain has good reasons to be a bit misleading about his pairings, perhaps in hopes of making it a bit harder for the other side to prepare. But since everybody has to play each session on Thursday, Friday, and Sunday (there's an opportunity for a few guys to sit during the double session on Saturday), I don't think either side has much to gain by doing so. And even if they did, the practice groupings on Tuesday and Wednesday would tip their hands.

At any rate, we'll get our answers later today. I think they're supposed to announce the Thursday pairings at noon.

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