Ryder Cup: Friday foursomes staff predictions

Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker during the 2012 Ryder Cup preview day on Wednesday.

Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker during the 2012 Ryder Cup preview day on Wednesday.

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MEDINAH, Ill. – Well, we finally can get to the golf.

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. EDT.

Our crew on the ground at Medinah Country Club has studied the matches and made its bold predictions.

Take a look . . .

• • •

Match No. 1: Rory McIlroy-Graeme McDowell vs. Jim Furyk-Brandt Snedeker

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 as a team in 2010, but that was two years ago. McIlroy is now the world's No. 1 player, and McDowell also is a 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

Jose Maria Olazabal threw out his big guns in the first match for a reason: He wants blue on the board early and wants a point as quickly as possible. This should work. If it backfires, it could be a momentum shift that might 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. It won’t be easy because Snedeker is the best putter in the world 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 rookie Brandt Snedeker is the right partner to turn Jim Furyk’s fortunes around at the Ryder Cup. But Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell make too formidable a pair. I like Europe to earn the first point of the day.

• • •

Match No. 2: Luke Donald-Sergio Garcia vs. Phil Mickelson-Keegan Bradley

Jeff Babineau: Donald-Garcia def. Mickelson-Bradley, 2 and 1

For his rookie debut, Keegan Bradley stepped into a frying pan. Euros a combined 14-0-1.

Sean 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 was T-3 at the 2006 PGA, and Garcia has finished second and T-3 in the two PGAs here.

Jim McCabe: Donald-Garcia def. Mickelson-Bradley, 2 and 1

Not sure about Mickelson-Bradley in this format, but Donald-Garcia are 4-0 for a reason. Make that 5-0.

Alex Miceli: Mickelson-Bradley def. Donald-Garcia, 2 and 1

Phil Mickelson is aware of 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.

Jeff Rude: Mickelson-Bradley halve Donald-Garcia.

Mickelson and Bradley appear better suited for four-ball. Donald and Garcia have been a formidable foursomes duo in the past, but Mickelson has his mojo back and loves taking a young player such as Bradley under his wing.

Nick 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 their counterparts'. Mickelson will take control and coach Bradley around the course.

• • Adam Schupak: Mickelson-Bradley def. Donald-Garcia, 1 up

It’s true Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia have been unbeatable in foursomes. They are a combined 14-0-1 and 4-0 as a team. Throw out the numbers. I’m betting that Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson grab the USA’s first point.

• • •

Match No. 3: Lee Westwood-Edoardo Molinari vs. Jason Dufner-Zach Johnson

Jeff Babineau: Dufner-Z. Johnson d. Westwood-Molinari, 2 up

Euros will be terrific from tee to green, but they'll be outclassed on the greens.

Sean Martin: Dufner-Z. 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.

Jim McCabe: Westwood-Molinari def. Dufner-Z. 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, a seemingly foursomes machine, Matt Kuchar, sits. Westwood is 7-2-4 in this format.

Alex Miceli: Westwood-Molinari def. Dufner-Z. Johnson, 3 and 2

Dufner never has played in a foursomes match, and Westwood has played in 13 of them, winning nine points. Enough said.

Jeff Rude: Westwood-Molinari def. Dufner-Z. Johnson, 1 up

Hunch. Westwood is coming off a poor performance at the Tour Championship, but he’s a big-timer in this event. This one will come down to putting. Johnson is the best putter of the bunch, but I'm not sure it will be enough.

Nick Masuda: Westwood-Molinari def. Dufner-Z. 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.

Adam Schupak: Westwood-Molinari halve Dufner-Z. Johnson

I like the combo of Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson. Westwood hasn’t shown me much of late. Molinari is a wild card to me. Captain Ollie certainly believes in him. I think the U.S. can take a full point here, but let’s call this one all square.

• • •

Match No. 4: Ian Poulter-Justin Rose vs. Tiger Woods-Steve Stricker

Jeff Babineau: Stricker-Woods d. Poulter-Rose, 3 and 2

Experience gets the edge here, with Woods moving to 3-0 against Poulter.

Sean Martin: Stricker-Woods def. Poulter-Rose, 1 up

Tiger Woods is undefeated as a professional at Medinah. I'm thinking the streak continues.

Jim McCabe: Stricker-Woods def. Poulter-Rose, 3 and 1

Though he has 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.

Alex Miceli: Stricker-Woods def. Poulter-Rose, 2 and 1

Maybe the best U.S. pairing this week. If the best can’t win, then the U.S. is in bad shape. Expect a close match, with Stricker’s putter making the difference.

Jeff 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.

Nick 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.

Adam Schupak: Stricker-Woods def. Poulter-Rose, 2 and 1

I’m still getting over the shock of Tiger Woods and Steve 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 U.S. in a close one.

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