JERSEY CITY, NEW JERSEY – For all the speculation, guesswork and bar talk that goes into sorting out potential pairings for the U.S. Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup teams, it’s beginning to look simple.
Put Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed together.
Put Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas together.
And let us know how that goes for the next decade or so.
Sometimes there is no magic formula. It’s obvious.
Like putting Branden Grace and Louis Oosthuizen together on the International side. All they’ve done is go 5-0 together since captain Nick Price paired them in South Korea two years ago. You know, if it ain’t broke…
Speaking of things not being broken, the U.S. built a 3½-1½ lead after the first session and now has led after every Presidents Cup session since Day Two – in 2005.
Even before the U.S. team convened in Manhattan for this Presidents Cup, there was little doubt that Spieth and Reed would be one of captain Steve Stricker’s go-to pairings. After their 5-and-4 foursomes victory over Si Woo Kim and Emiliano Grillo Thursday, Spieth and Reed are 6-1-2 together in team play.
It’s an unusual chemistry on some levels but Spieth can play with anyone, and even if Reed didn’t do his full Captain America act Thursday, they are the peanut butter and jelly of this generation of American pairings.
“We just want to beat each other,” is how Spieth explained their success. “When we’re playing alternate-shot, we want to be the ones to make the putt, not our own teammate – obviously we’re rooting for each other but it’s kind of a competition within itself that for whatever reason works for us.”
Don’t be surprised if Fowler and Thomas become a thing, too. They’re buddies who live near each other, vacation together and can probably order dinner for each other if it came to that.
“We’re very comfortable around each other,” Fowler said. “We know our limits, in a way. I can push and say stuff to him that I know may not be the best things to other people. I know his game very well and he knows mine very well, and it’s fun to put the two together.”
Little wonder that there were no surprises in the Friday four-ball pairings:
11:35 a.m.: Spieth-Reed (U.S.) vs. Matsuyama-Hadwin (Int.)
11:50 a.m.: Fowler-Thomas (U.S.) vs. Oosthuizen-Grace (Int.)
12:05 p.m.: Mickelson-Kisner (U.S.) vs. Day-Leishman (Int.)
12:20 p.m.: Chappell-Hoffman (U.S.) vs. Schwartzel-Lahiri (Int.)
12:35 p.m.: Johnson-Koepka (U.S.) vs. Scott-Vegas (Int.)