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Saturday, December 14, 2019

Round 5 Singles Pairings

Team USA didn't pull off the big comeback they would have liked -- that fact gave the Internationals something to hold onto -- but they did win three of the four points and cut their deficit to a more manageable two points. Since it takes 15.5 points to win the Cup, Team USA will need 7.5 while the Internationals need only 5.5.

Here is the singles line-up for the final round today.
  • Match 19: Abraham Ancer VS Tiger Woods
  • Match 20: Hideki Matsuyama VS Tony Finau
  • Match 21: C.T. Pan VS Patrick Reed
  • Match 22: Haotong Li VS Dustin Johnson
  • Match 23: Adam Hadwin VS Bryson DeChambeau
  • Match 24: Sungjae Im VS Gary Woodland
  • Match 25: Joaquin Niemann VS Patrick Cantlay
  • Match 26: Adam Scott VS Xander Schauffele
  • Match 27: Byeong Hun An VS Webb Simpson
  • Match 28: Cameron Smith Vs Justin Thomas
  • Match 29: Louis Oosthuizen VS Matt Kuchar
  • Match 30: Marc Leishman VS Rickie Fowler
The thing that stands out to me is that the captains seem to have chosen their players less for their current form and more for their skillsets. Long hitters are pitted against long hitters, accuracy players against accuracy players, strong short games and/or weak putters against the same. This is a bit different from the norm, but it makes sense given each captain's leaning toward statistics.

Bear in mind that traditionally -- at least, when we talk about Ryder Cups -- the winning point most often comes from match 26 or 27, occasionally 28. Both teams have followed this traditional bit of wisdom, placing strong players in these matches as well.

Finally, a number of speculations concern Tiger putting himself up against Abraham Ancer, but I think it's pretty simple to understand. While Tiger probably wants to be available to supervise late matches himself if they're super close, and while he possibly heard that, way back in November, Ancer said he wanted to play him, I think the primary reason is that Abraham Ancer is arguably the International Team's top player this week and Tiger has been the American Team's best. What other choice would you expect from Tiger?

GC's coverage of the singles starts at 6pm ET today, just a little over an hour from now (that is, as I post this). I expect nothing less than a Ryder Cup-esque finish to this one!

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