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Pairings and Predictions: Saturday Matches

Sergio Garcia - Ryder Cup
CHASKA, MINNESOTA - SEPTEMBER 30: Rafa Cabrera Bello and Sergio Garcia of Spain talk and laugh on the sixth hole during the fourball matches for the 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Course on September 30, 2016 in Chaska, MN. (Photo by Scott Hallaren/PGA of America)

Ryder Cup Pairings and Predictions

Saturday Afternoon Four-Ball

Europe won the morning, 2.5-1.5, thanks to a tremendous rally by the Spaniards in the final match. The morning’s other winner was Sean Fairholm, who correctly predicted the outcome of three matches, including that halve between Garcia/Cabrera-Bello and Reed/Spieth. Rob only nailed one match, thank heavens for Brandt Snedeker and Brooks Koepka.

Overall, Sean has guessed 8 of 12 matches, while Rob is batting .500 at 6 of 12.


What’s in store this afternoon? Here’s the best we have to offer:

Saturday Four-Ball Match #1 (12:30 pm CST)
Sean Fairholm picks:

Rob Coleman picks:
Koepka/D. Johnson (USA) vs. McIlroy/Pieters (EUR)

The Breakdown

Sean: This is the definition of power on power. You have to be extremely impressed with both Koepka and Pieters who have showed their mettle in dazzling debuts, but the weak link — at least in this event — appears to be DJ. Give the edge to Europe.

Rob: Long bombers going for birdies and eagles. This is going to be fun. Brooks Koepka is off to a brilliant start this week and I’ve got a lot of faith in Dustin Johnson to chip in several birdies. They are facing two tough opponents, who will take them the full 18, but the Americans will get it done.

Saturday Four-Ball Match #2 (12:45 pm CST)
Sean Fairholm picks:

Rob Coleman picks:
Holmes/Moore (USA) vs. Willett/Westwood (EUR)

The Breakdown

Sean: None of these players have particularly found their groove at Hazeltine, but look for Ryan Moore to make a few key putts that prove vital down the stretch. Americans pick up a big point here.

Rob: Here’s a battle of guys who have all lost in their one and only match. Holmes and Moore never got anything going in their Friday Four-ball. Westwood and Willett are a new partnership. Coming into this Ryder Cup, Moore was at the top of his game. He will find his way today and be the difference maker.

Saturday Four-Ball Match #3 (1:00 pm CST)
Sean Fairholm picks:

Rob Coleman picks:
Mickelson/Kuchar (USA) vs. Kaymer/Garcia (EUR)

The Breakdown

Sean: Davis Love III broke up Fowler/Mickelson in favor of Matt Kuchar, who did a whole lot of nothing on Friday. The same can be said for Martin Kaymer. The difference here has to be Sergio, the Ryder Cup expert is the spark plug and a game-changer when it counts.

Rob: The fate of Europe in this match will rest on Sergio Garcia, who is playing much better than Martin Kaymer. Garcia is riding high after a huge rally in the morning to pick up a huge half point for Europe. Will he be emotionally spent? Possibly, but this is Sergio and he thrives on emotion.

Saturday Four-Ball Match #4 (1:15 pm CST)
Sean Fairholm picks:

Rob Coleman picks:
Reed/Spieth (USA) vs. Rose/Stenson (EUR)

The Breakdown

Sean: It’s a head-scratcher as to why this Stenson/Rose partnership was broken up in the first place. Your best team should play all the way through, right? After Spieth/Reed let the morning match against Garcia/Cabrera-Bello get away, they will need a big bounce back. I don’t think they can do it against Europe’s best pair.

Rob: It’s the rubber match, as these teams meet for the third time. We’ve seen some stellar play from all these players, with some occasional bobbles. I thought Stenson would be resting his knee at some point today, but his team needs him and he and Rose will reunite to win this match over a deflated pairing of Americans who let a 4-up lead slip away in the morning.

Saturday Afternoon Four-Ball Prediction EUROPE 3, USA 1 USA 2, EUROPE 2

Saturday Morning Foursomes

Could a blindfolded monkey throwing darts at a USA-Europe dartboard have done better than our prognosticators? Probably not.

Could anyone have predicted such a wild roller coaster ride Friday at Hazeltine? That monkey would have a better chance than any human.

Friday was strangely bizarre. A perfect 4-0 morning for Team USA went south in the afternoon, when Europe dominated three matches and USA dominated the other. No four-ball match went past hole 16. Europe’s 3-1 four-ball record tightened the overall score at USA 5, EUROPE 3.

Global Golf Post’s Sean Fairholm and Rob Coleman each correctly predicted 5 of the 8 matches, which is almost certainly better than that dart-throwing monkey unless it was an incredibly lucky monkey.

Never mind. Here are the Saturday morning foursome predictions:

Saturday Foursome Match #1 (7:35 am CST)
Sean Fairholm picks:

Rob Coleman picks:
Fowler/Mickelson (USA) vs. McIlroy/Pieters (EUR) HALVE

The Breakdown

Sean: After watching the clinic Thomas Pieters put on Friday afternoon in the brilliant Minnesota sunshine, Darren Clarke is now looking a whole lot better for skipping over Russell Knox. Yes, foursomes is a different game, but Mickelson’s erratic play off the tee probably should have cost he and Fowler the match they won against McIlroy/Sullivan. Look for the Europeans to do more damage early on Saturday.

Rob: Rickie Fowler and Phil Mickelson found magic in Friday’s foursome session. Rory McIlroy and Thomas Pieters found it in four-ball. Both these partnerships work, but who is most likely to build on that Saturday? Well, this is foursomes, and I’d like to go with the guys who made six birdies together in their foursome match to beat McIlroy/Sullivan. But Rory has a new partner whose game I really like. I picked against Fowler/Mickelson yesterday and I was wrong. Today, I choose no losers. They will halve.

Saturday Foursome Match #2 (7:50 am CST)
Sean Fairholm picks:

Rob Coleman picks:
Snedeker/Koepka (USA) vs. Stenson/Fitzpatrick (EUR)

The Breakdown

Sean: Stenson’s remarkable ball-striking could be cause for choosing Europe in and of itself, but the outstanding play of Brooks Koepka coupled with the total question mark of Matthew Fitzpatrick — a shorter hitter in a big ballpark — gives this match a different feel. And can Stenson’s knee continue to hold up even after playing 36? The Americans narrowly come away victorious.

Rob: We saw what Snedeker and Koepka can do together. They destroyed Kaymer/Willett in four-ball. And we saw Henrik Stenson play inspired golf paired with Justin Rose. If he was still with Rose, he’d get my pick. But he’s with a rookie who didn’t even get to tee it up Friday. The Americans are riding a wave of confidence and I choose them.

Saturday Foursome Match #3 (8:05 am CST)
Sean Fairholm picks:

Rob Coleman picks:
Walker/Z. Johnson (USA) vs. Rose/Wood (EUR)

The Breakdown

Sean: Chris Wood is 171st in driving accuracy on the European Tour, a stat that is absolutely critical when playing alternate shot. Rose’s putter came alive late on day one, but his partner’s ball-striking is a little suspect. Give the edge to the American tandem that won the last five holes against Garcia and Kaymer before getting the afternoon off.

Rob: Jimmy Walker and Zach Johnson proved to be a strong foursome team Friday morning, and were able to rest in the afternoon. Justin Rose played both matches Friday and is paired with Chris Wood who played neither. Wood’s results since winning the BMW PGA Championship in May have been fair-to-middling (no top-10s since June). This is the only morning match that I didn’t struggle to decide. I’m picking the USA and I feel great about it.

Saturday Foursome Match #4 (8:20 am CST)
Sean Fairholm picks:

Rob Coleman picks:
Reed/Spieth (USA) vs. Garcia/Cabrera-Bello (EUR) HALVE

The Breakdown

Sean: For reasons unknown, Sergio Garcia’s usually frustrating and at times pedestrian putting makes a complete 180 in the Ryder Cup. Garcia has a 9-3-2 record in foursomes and has a powerful partner who shines brightest when the spotlight is on him. Having said that, the duo of Reed and Spieth go together like peanut butter and jelly in alternate shot. Mark it down as a tie.

Rob: The Patrick Reed-Jordan Spieth pairing is tough to pick against, but I’m doing it. They are great putters, yet I saw a few chinks in the armor off the tee yesterday and it causes some concern. On the other hand, Sergio Garcia and Rafa Cabrera-Bello were magnificent together in four-ball. Like certain Spaniards before them, Sergio was born for the Ryder Cup, and Rafa may be, too.

Saturday Morning Foursome Prediction USA 2.5, EUROPE 1.5 USA 2.5, EUROPE 1.5

 

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