Practice session times announced for Ryder Cup
The practice times for the U.S. and European teams at the 2006 Ryder Cup at the K Club were announced Thursday. The practices could provide a first look at the pairings U.S. captain Tom Lehman may lean toward.
T.J. Auclair, Junior Editor
September 14, 2006
We should get a glimpse into what U.S. captain Tom Lehman has in mind for possible pairings on Tuesday when the U.S. team holds its first practice sessions for the Ryder Cup. The practice times were released Thursday for the 36th installment of the matches at the K Club in Straffan, Co. Kildare, Ireland.
Both the U.S. and Europe will practice within a team format Tuesday-Thursday beginning at 7:30 a.m. local time.
The Americans will start from the first tee on Tuesday and Thursday, while starting from the 10th tee on Wednesday. The Europeans meanwhile will start from the 10th tee on Tuesday and Thursday and from the first tee on Wednesday.
One pairing that seems all but certain for the American's is world No. 1 Tiger Woods and world No. 2 Jim Furyk. Woods and Furyk are two of the hottest golfers on the planet -- Woods enters the Ryder Cup coming off a recent five-win run on the PGA Tour, while Furyk notched his second win of the season at the Canadian Open just last week.
Furyk and Woods teamed to pick up 2.5 points for the Americans in a winning effort at the 2005 Presidents Cup.
Of course the last time the U.S. had its two highest ranked players in the world ranking paired together, things didn't exactly pan out. That was in the 2004 Ryder Cup at Oakland Hills when then-U.S. captain Hal Sutton joined Woods with Phil Mickelson. What resulted were zero points for the Americans from the seemingly dynamic duo, which got waxed in the four-ball and foursome matches on the first day and helped the Europeans jump out to an incredible 6.5-1.5 lead after day one. The U.S. never bounced back, as evidence of its historic 18.5-9.5 thumping and fourth loss in five Ryder Cups.
Another likely U.S. pairing could be Mickelson and Chris DiMarco. That twosome produced 3.5 points in the winning effort at the Presidents Cup.
Mickelson may also see some time with David Toms. The pair has a combined 2-3-1 record in international competition (Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup).
The only other pairings with a history on the U.S. side are Toms with Stewart Cink and Furyk with Chad Campbell. Toms and Cink lost 6 and 5 to Mike Weir and Trevor Immelman at the 2005 Presidents Cup, while Furyk and Campbell were defeated by David Howell and Paul Casy, 1-up at the 2004 Ryder Cup.
The last time an American team came out on top at the Ryder Cup was in 1999 at the Country Club in Brookline, when then-U.S. captain Ben Crenshaw rallied his troops to a spirited come-from-behind win in the Sunday singles.
The Official Opening Ceremony will begin at 3 p.m. local time near the practice area on Thursday with competition scheduled to tee off on Friday morning.
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