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These odds from Ladbrokes were correct at the time of writing.
The 2023 Ryder Cup begins tomorrow and Zach Johnson and Luke Donald have locked in their pairings and picks for the opening sessions of foursomes. Both captains have sprung a couple of surprises and some top players are being forced to sit out the opening session, however, the matchups that have been created are all mouthwatering on paper.
Once the foursomes are completed on Friday, a session of fourballs will take place where four more points will be on offer. It means that in total, eight points are on offer on Friday and although the tournament can’t be won tomorrow it certainly can be lost so a slow start won’t be tolerated by either captain.
Ahead of what looks set to be the most exciting day of golf this calendar year, we’ve compiled some free tips and predictions that you may want to consider.
Ryder Cup day one – tips and predictions
Day one foursome winner- Europe
On paper, USA have a stronger team than Europe. All 12 of their players are ranked inside the top 25 in the world and that’s despite one of them (Brooks Koepka) only being able to pick up ranking points in the majors for more than 12 months. Despite that, Zach Johnson has made a mess of his opening pairings to the point that Europe look far more likely to come out on top in the morning foursomes.
Johnson has elected to leave out both Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas – a pairing who are 7-1-0 as a duo in President and Ryder Cups. He has also elected out five-time major champion, Brooks Koepka, in a move that could backfire considering how much the 33-year-old thrives on confidence and reassurance.
Luke Donald, on the other hand, has selected four solid pairings with the only question mark surrounding his decision to leave out Justin Rose. The matchups look favourable for Europe and we believe they will take a lead into the afternoon fourballs where Johnson will be forced to recall Thomas, Spieth and Koepka.
Friday foursomes matchups.
🇺🇸 Scheffler-Burns vs. 🇪🇺 Rahm-Hatton
🇺🇸 Homa-Harman vs. 🇪🇺 Ludvig-Hovland
🇺🇸 Fowler-Morikawa vs. 🇪🇺 Lowry-Straka
🇺🇸 Xander-Cantlay vs. 🇪🇺 Rory-Tommy
— Kyle Porter (@KylePorterCBS) September 28, 2023
Fowler/Morikawa to beat Lowry/Straka
Out of the three foursome matchups, the one that looks the best for USA on paper is the one between Rickie Fowler and Collin Morikawa and Shane Lowry and Sepp Straka. Fowler has enjoyed a renaissance year on the PGA Tour and became a winner again when he won the Rocket Mortgage Classic.
On Friday morning, he will be playing alongside Collin Morikawa – another player who is back on the right path following a disappointing spell. The pair aren’t exactly a natural fit for foursomes – neither man is exactly consistent or long off the tee and both are excellent iron players. However, it still makes more sense than Lowry and Straka from a form perspective.
Shane Lowry only had one top-ten finish on the PGA Tour last season while Sepp Straka is very much a hit-or-bust type of player. This could go badly wrong for Europe and we are backing the two form players, Rickie Fowler and Collin Morikawa, to get a point on the board for USA.
McIlroy/Fleetwood to beat Schauffele/Cantlay
This matchup is the most fascinating of the morning for multiple reasons. Firstly, Schauffele and Cantlay are prolific in this format and were always going to play on Friday. They are 5-0-0 in foursomes across Ryder and Presidents Cups and they will be a formidable team in Rome once again.
Secondly, McIlroy and Fleetwood are potentially a great team. Both men have good Ryder Cup records but have both been looking for new partners with Ian Poulter and Francesco Molinari not making the squad. In theory, it could work a treat – McIlroy’s length and power combined with Fleetwood’s finesse and accuracy is a match made in heaven for Marco Simone Golf & Country Club.
We are backing the theory to be correct and for the European duo to break the stranglehold that Schauffelle and Cantlay have over everyone in this format.
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