We take a look at the Saturday Ryder Cup pairings in details and see how Thomas Bjorn has shaken things up in search of success
The opening day of the Ryder Cup was, to put it in footballing terms, a game of two halves. A tight but ultimately disappointing morning was followed by a whitewash in the afternoon. The Americans crumbled in the foursomes format giving Europe the momentum and the lead heading into day two. This has made for some interesting Saturday Ryder Cup pairings.
Given his position at lunchtime, Thomas Bjorn would have been delighted by the end of the opening day but the pattern of play has left him with a tactical dilemma. With such resounding foursomes success, Bjorn is almost certain to stick with the same partnerships for Saturday afternoon. But what to do with his morning pairings? Here’s how they will line up on Saturday morning:
McIlroy/Garcia vs Koepka/Finau
Casey/Hatton vs Johnson/Fowler
Molinari/Fleetwood vs Woods/Reed
Poulter/Rahm vs Thomas/Spieth
Rory McIlroy will team up with Sergio Garcia, a partnership that proved successful at Gleneagles in 2014. Casey and Hatton showed enough on Friday to warrant a second outing while it was no surprise to see Molinari and Fleetwood together again.
The major surprise from Bjorn’s Saturday Ryder Cup pairings selections was Poulter and Rahm. This illustrates just how fluid the situation at the Ryder Cup is. Plans change during the week and Rahm and Poulter will bring energy and excitement to round three.
The main European casualty looks like being Thorbjorn Olesen. The Dane was paired with McIlroy in the morning and in truth, he was let down by his senior partner, who failed to make a single birdie. The Ryder Cup can be cruel and Olesen is unlikely to feature in the afternoon foursomes tomorrow.
Whatever you think of the Saturday Ryder Cup pairings, Europe will start day two high on confidence. If they can keep the momentum from an incredible first afternoon, they might establish a formidable lead.