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Friday, September 26, 2014

The Patrick Reed-Jordan Spieth Pairing

I'm writing this before the first session of Ryder Cup matches begins. The weather has turned in Scotland -- it appears the teams may be facing 30mph winds and sideways rain, just what we tend to expect for a European Ryder Cup. (That's not a slam against Europe, just a matter of geography.)

The first four matches were named hours ago and, although I'm posting this a little earlier than normal, by the time you read this post those matches may be mostly in the books. But I couldn't help but make some observations about one particular team, perhaps the most controversial of US Captain Tom Watson's pairings.

Namely, the Patrick Reed-Jordan Spieth pairing which will face off against Euro rookie Stephen Gallacher and "the Match Play Ninja," Ian Poulter.

Patrick Reed and wifeJordan Spieth and girlfriend

This one seems to have caught everybody off-guard and the general impression is that their play will either make Tom Watson look like a genius or start the barrage of criticism. But this is why Watson was chosen as Captain; he has the ability to do whatever he thinks will work and not worry about the consequences. In this case, Watson liked the way the two played in the practice rounds.

But Spieth reportedly asked to play with Reed. PGATOUR.com quotes Spieth as saying, “I’ve played a lot of golf with (Reed), not only as a professional golfer, but junior and amateur golf. I think it’s a comforting factor for us and I think we’ll go out there and kill it.”

For his part, Watson told the media, “I told them today, I said, ‘I'm going to throw you in the ocean without a life preserver. You're on your own. You get out there and you get it done."

No doubt you've heard the pluses this team brings to the event. Golf.com did an article that focused on the pairing which lists some of them (it's a good read, though it did fail to mention all the Monday qualifying Patrick did to become a PGA Tour member or how well Jordan did in his first Masters this year) but they missed something I think is very important to the success of this duo. Let me tell you about it.

You may not have heard Patrick's media presser but one of the interesting things that came out of it was that Patrick's dream foursome -- you know, one of those "get to know the players" questions that they all get asked -- included Ian Poulter. When asked why, Patrick said that he had been able to play some with Poults in a tournament and had enjoyed it immensely. Patrick said he was a blast to play with, and that he'd like to play with him again.

I know a Ryder Cup confrontation is different from playing in a stroke play tourney, but it means that Patrick Reed won't be intimidated by Ian Poulter. And since neither Patrick nor Jordan has proven to be intimidated by very much anyway...

That, my friends, could make for a very interesting match indeed.

2 comments:

  1. Maybe the key, though they're not in foursomes

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  2. Foursomes are always the tricky pairing, aren't they? Four-balls and singles are basically just course management. Foursomes is where chemistry matters.

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