The WAGS have retreated to the background. Captain Colin has remained relatively Malaprop free. What's left, the sun sets in the East?
The betting houses stand to reap the largest reward with Celtic Manor hosting. The Brits will bet on how long a fly will stay on a sausage. Ladbrokes lists Europe as 4/7 to win back the Cup and the USA as 7/4 to retain it. As defenders the US would keep the trophy should this week's matches end in a tie.
Here's a look at the first fourball, (best ball), matches that start in a few hours. As much as I love the Ryder Cup I'm not playing night owl to get a glimpse.
Match 1 - Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson vs. Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer
Match 2 - Stewart Cink and Matt Kuchar vs. Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell
Match 3 - Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods vs. Ian Poulter and Ross Fisher
Match 4 - Bubba Watson and Jeff Overton vs. Luke Donald and Padraig Harrington
Not much surprise in matches 1 or 3 other than Pavin's decision to send Mickelson's group out first rather than Woods'. Westwood's injury may very well tell the story. Stricker and Woods, by all accounts, should handle Poulter and Fisher. Fourball is a birdie hunt. That's why I expect the US to win both matches, with a worst case scenario being 1 1/2 pts. grabbed by groups 1 & 3.
Groups 2 & 4 have potential disaster written all over them for the US. Cink has played well since winning the 2009 Open Championship and Kuchar, by his own admission, is exhausted. I still can't figure out how a pro golfer can become exhausted plying his trade. Geez, it ain't brick laying! McIlroy could have a birdie putt on every hole. McDowell's riding the crest of his US Open win and has played well all summer. Give this one to the Euros.
Match 4 is bewildering. Bubba and hot-head Jeff Overton, both Ryder rookies, force Furyk and Zach Johnson to sit. It's great to get the rooks out on the course, but spread it out a little Pavin and don't pair them. Watson and Overton can make a lot of birdies. Why not spread the wealth? On the downside, they can lose a lot of balls as well. Why not dilute that with a more experienced partner? Hey, if they win, Pavin's brilliant.
To finish, I see us losing matches 2 & 4 and hopefully pulling out matches 1 & 3. I think the morning will conclude Euros 2 1/2, USA 1 1/2. Stay close til' Singles Sunday.
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