As I hoped yesterday, Phil Mickelson has been paired with Dustin Johnson for at least the first series. The two are leading off for the US against Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer. The second group is Stewart Cink and Matt Kuchar against Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell. Third is Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker against Ian Poulter and Ross Fisher. Following up is Bubba Watson and Jeff Overton against Luke Donald and Padraig Harrington.
I see a couple of interesting trends. First, I see that Monty is leading with what is arguably his strongest team. On the other hand, Pavin is leading with what I think is his second best. And the first isn’t Stricker and Woods. While Stricker and Woods were 4-0 in last year’s President’s Cup, that was before the Great Meltdown. So I think the strongest pairing for the Americans might be Stewart Cink and Matt Kuchar.
Still, I think Phil and Dustin could be a killer pair. With Dustin’s length, Phil might be able to restrain himself. And Phil’s experience could be the missing piece for the prone-to-self-destruction Dustin. Heh. On the other hand, Phil is also prone to self-destruction, so this pairing could be a disaster.
I think that Donald and Harrington will handle Watson and Overton. Woods and Stricker should be able to beat Poulter and Fisher. So the key matches in my mind are the first two.
I’m wondering why Jim Furyk didn’t get into the opening rounds. He’s coming off some terrific play and I believe that the US has to get off to the bet start possible. I would have paired him with Watson. Or how about a more radical pairing: Furyk and Stricker. That would have been as strong a team as Pavin could field. Then he could have paired Woods with Watson.