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The Ryder Cup is finally upon us and after a thrilling Solheim Cup, excitement for the event is at an all-time high. The two captains, Luke Donald and Zach Johnson, have locked in their respective rosters and Team Europe and Team USA are now ready to do battle over three days in Rome.
The event will be played at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club which is an exciting golf course that will throw up plenty of challenges for players on both teams. As per the Ryder Cup format, the opening two days will consist of two sessions of fourballs and two sessions of foursomes. Within all four sessions, four separate matches will take place before all 12 players compete in singles action on Sunday.
One of the most exciting facets of Ryder Cup golf is the team dynamic. Over the years various pairings, such as Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari for Europe and Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth for the USA, have excelled. Meanwhile, some pairings for whatever reason don’t seem to work out.
Picking the right pairings is often the biggest job for Ryder Cup captains and as they finalise their plans ahead of Friday, here are some potential pairings that we’d like to see in Rome.
Potential Europe Ryder Cup pairings
The 2023 Ryder Cup represents a changing of the guard for Team Europe. Legends such as Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia are absent from the event which means plenty of fresh faces have been selected by Luke Donald, including the exciting Ludvig Aberg.
Donald could elect to pair the likes of Aberg, Sepp Straka, and Nicolai Hojgaard with more experienced Ryder Cup players such as Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and Tommy Fleetwood.
One pairing that seems nailed is the partnership of Jon Rahm and Tyrell Hatton. The pair played together in fourballs two years ago in the USA and with Rahm’s usual partner, Sergio Garcia, absent it makes most sense for Donald to pair him with Hatton.
Is a Tyrrell Hatton and Jon Rahm pairing at the Ryder Cup a fiery match made in heaven or a total disaster waiting to happen? 🇪🇺🤩🤬👀 pic.twitter.com/himnDz30A6
— Andy Roberts (@AndyRobertsGolf) September 19, 2023
One man who is almost certain to play in every session is Viktor Hovland. After winning the Tour Championship, he is the form man in golf and Europe will need him to be at his best if they are to overcome a strong American outfit.
Hovland could be paired with Matt Fitzpatrick if Donald wants to balance Hovland’s impulsiveness with some percentage play, while he could be put with McIlroy or Rahm if Donald wants to attack the US with both barrels.
Potential USA Ryder Cup pairings
With Patrick Reed out of the team, Jordan Spieth will almost certainly be playing alongside Justin Thomas at the Ryder Cup. The two of them are best friends off the course and seem to bring the best out of each other on it. Thomas’ form this season may be a concern but he comes alive at the Ryder Cup and he will feature heavily.
Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas are only 30 years old, but they’re just one match away from tying the record for most frequent U.S. partnership in Ryder Cup history.
The current record-holders? Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed (7).
— Sean Martin (@PGATOURSMartin) September 25, 2023
Another nailed on pairing for USA is Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay. The pair have featured heavily together in past team events. They’ve contributed 6/9 points in the past three Ryder and Presidents Cups together and will be one of the pairings that Zach Johnson will have no doubts about.
One of the most interesting subplots within Team USA relates to Brooks Koepka and who the five-time major champion will be paired with. Koepka’s selection was controversial due to his participation on the LIV Tour and is very much a man who lives for individual achievements so he will be on to watch this week.
Given how much the 33-year-old loves the big occasion, Zach Johnson may elect to pair his ace in the pack with world number one Scottie Scheffler to try and bring the very best out of him.
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