The Ryder Cup pairings have been announced for the Friday foursomes, and there are some interesting matches that will start at 8:20 a.m. ET.
Our crew on the ground at Medinah has studied the matches and made its bold predictions.
Take a look …
Match No. 1: Rory McIlroy/Graeme McDowell (Europe) vs. Jim Furyk/Brandt Snedeker (United States)
• Jeff Babineau: McIlroy-McDowell d. Furyk-Snedeker, 3 and 1
With no rough, McIlroy’s length a real asset
• Sean Martin: McIlroy-McDowell def. Furyk-Snedeker, 2 and 1
It’s hard to bet against Rory right now. McIlroy and McDowell went 1-1-1 as a team in 2010, but now McIlroy is the world’s No. 1 player and McDowell is a more proven major champion. Furyk has a career 3-5-2 record in the format.
• Jim McCabe: McIlroy-McDowell def. Furyk-Snedeker, 2 and 1
It won’t get him revenge for having lost the FedEx Cup to Snedeker, but McIlroy gets something more important: a lead point for Europe.
• Alex Miceli: McIlroy-McDowell def. Furyk-Snedeker, 3 and 2
European captain Jose Maria Olazabal threw out his big guns in the very first match for a reason, he wants blue on the board early and wants a point as quickly as possible. This should work, but if it backfires, it could be a momentum shift that may be hard to overcome.
• Jeff Rude: McIlroy-McDowell def. Snedeker-Furyk, 2 and 1
McIlroy is the best player in the world, and he’s comfortable with partner McDowell. But it won’t be easy, because Snedeker is the world’s best putter at the moment.
• Nick Masuda: Snedeker-Furyk def. McIlroy-McDowell, 2 and 1
This will be the shocker of the day, as Snedeker is simply playing too well and Furyk has been good all season. I think the Euros look past this match, thinking they have it in the bag.
• Adam Schupak: McIlroy-McDowell d. Furyk-Snedeker, 3 and 2
Maybe Ryder Cup rookie Snedeker is the right partner to turn Furyk’s fortunes around at the event. But McIlroy and McDowell make just too formidable a pair. I like Europe to earn the first point of the day.
Match No. 2: Luke Donald/Sergio Garcia (Europe) vs. Phil Mickelson/Keegan Bradley (United States)
• Babineau: Donald-Garcia def. Mickelson-Bradley, 2 and 1
For his Ryder Cup debut, Keegan Bradley stepped into a frying pan. His European opponents are a combined 14-0-1 in Ryder Cup foursomes play.
• Martin: Donald-Garcia def. Mickelson-Bradley, 2 and 1
Donald and Garcia are 4-0 as a foursomes team. Enough said. Both have great records at Medinah, as well. Donald and Garcia both tied for third at the 2006 PGA Championship at the course, and Garcia finished second in the 1999 PGA Championship here, one stroke behind Tiger Woods.
• McCabe: Donald-Garcia def. Mickelson-Bradley, 2 and 1
Not sure about Mickelson-Bradley in this format, but Donald-Garcia is 4-0 for a reason. Make that 5-0.
• Miceli: Mickelson-Bradley def. Donald-Garcia, 2 and 1
Mickelson is aware how important an early point is. Having Bradley as his partner is as good as it gets this Ryder Cup for Lefty, and he should take full advantage of the pairing.
• Rude: Mickelson-Bradley halve Donald-Garcia
Mickelson and Bradley appear better suited for four-ball. Donald and Garcia have made for a formidable foursomes duo in past, but Mickelson has his mojo back and loves taking a young player like Bradley under his wing.
• Masuda: Mickelson-Bradley def. Donald-Garcia, 1 up
Mickelson and Bradley play together all the time, and I think that bond will be stronger than that of their counterparts. Mickelson will take control and coach Bradley around the course.
• Schupak: Mickelson-Bradley def. Donald-Garcia, 1 up
It’s true Donald and Garcia have been unbeatable in foursomes. They are a combined 14-0-1 and 4-0 as a team in foursomes. Throw out the numbers Friday. I’m betting that Bradley and Mickelson grab USA’s first point.
Match No. 3: Lee Westwood/Edoardo Molinari (Europe) vs. Jason Dufner/Zach Johnson (United States)
• Babineau: Dufner-Johnson d. Westwood-Molinari, 2 up
Euros will be terrific from tee to green, but they’ll be outclassed after that.
• Martin: Dufner-Johnson def. Westwood-Molinari, 1 up
All four players in this match are perfectly suited for this format, but I’m going to give the Americans this match because of a slight edge with the putter.
• McCabe: Westwood-Molinari def. Dufner-Johnson, 4 and 3
Curious American entry, to say the least. Dufner has never played this format, and Johnson is just 1-2-1 in it. Meanwhile, Matt Kuchar sits. Westwood is 7-2-4 in this format.
• Miceli: Westwood-Molinari def. Dufner-Johnson, 3 and 2
Dufner has never played in a foursomes match, Westwood has won nine points in 13 such matches. Enough said.
• Rude: Westwood-Molinari def. Dufner-Johnson, 1 up
Hunch: Westwood coming off poor performance at Tour Championship, but he’s a big-timer in this event. This one will come down to putting. Johnson best putter of bunch, but I’m not sure it will be enough.
• Masuda: Westwood-Molinari def. Dufner-Johnson, 3 and 2
This one will never be close. Westwood is nails, and Molinari might be one of the most underrated players in the world.
• Schupak: Westwood-Molinari halve Dufner-Johnson
I like the combo of Dufner and Johnson. Westwood hasn’t shown me much of late. Molinari is a wild card to me. Captain Ollie certainly believes in him. I think USA can take a full point here, but let’s call this one all-square.
Match No. 4: Ian Poulter/Justin Rose (Europe) vs. Tiger Woods/Steve Stricker (United States)
• Babineau: Stricker-Woods d. Poulter-Rose, 3 and 2
Experience gets the edge here, with Woods moving to 3-0 against Poulter.
• Martin: Stricker-Woods def. Poulter-Rose, 1 up
Woods is undefeated as a professional at Medinah. I’m thinking the streak continues.
• McCabe: Stricker-Woods def. Poulter-Rose, 3 and 1
Though he’s compiled an 8-3 record in three Ryder Cups, Poulter has lost both matches in which Woods has provided the opposition. It will happen again.
• Miceli: Stricker-Woods def. Poulter-Rose, 2 and 1
Maybe the best USA pairing this week — meaning if this team cannot win, then the Americans are in bad shape. Expect a close match with Stricker’s putter making the difference.
• Rude: Stricker-Woods def. Poulter-Rose, 3 and 2
Woods has won two majors at Medinah. Stricker, who lives just down the highway in Madison, Wis., has won numerous PGA Tour events in Illinois and is comfortable in Midwest conditions. They make for a strong team.
• Masuda: Stricker-Woods def. Poulter-Rose, 1 up
This one will be closer than most people think, but Tiger and Stricker are just too strong in this format. Poulter is great in the Ryder Cup, but not on Friday.
• Schupak: Stricker-Woods def. Poulter-Rose, 2 and 1
I’m still getting over the shock of Woods and Stricker being pounded by Adam Scott and K.J. Choi at last year’s Presidents Cup. Woods-Stricker won’t allow that to happen again. I like the US in a close one.