Ryder Cup: 6 Match-ups we'd love to see
CHASKA, Minn. -- When it comes to the Ryder Cup, there are always those matches fans really want to see. I mean, like really, really want to see.
The problem is, those don't always pan out. While there's certainly strategy involved in how the captains send out their respective pairings, they aren't able to match one another. Instead, the captains slip the order of their pairings into an envelope and both teams play in that order.
Sometimes we get to see the match ups we want, but more often than not that's not the case. And that isn't too say the Ryder Cup isn't still great theater -- there's nothing like it in golf. But, if you could match up the headliners all the time, how much fun would that be?
With that, we sat back, gave a good, hard look at the rosters of both teams and came up with the six match ups we'd love to see. Hopefully, some of them will play out. Either way, we can't wait to get these matches fired up.
Phil Mickelson/Rickie Fowler v. Martin Kaymer/Rory McIlroy
Why?: Mickelson and Fowler were paired together one other time in a Ryder Cup -- a fourballs match in 2010 at Celtic Manor, which the duo lost to Ian Poulter and Martin Kaymer, 2 and 1. But foursomes is an entirely different animal. With all the practice rounds the two have played together over the years, you get the feeling they know each other's game almost as well as they know their own. Kaymer and McIlroy haven't yet been paired together in a Ryder Cup, but could make for a solid team. McIlroy can do everything and, when Kaymer is on top of his game, he's as good as anyone in the world (and he's a former world No. 1).
Jordan Spieth/Patrick Reed v. Sergio Garcia/Justin Rose
Why?: This would likely be the most fiery match-up in the 2016 Ryder Cup given the personalities of the players involved. Spieth and Reed are the two most intense players on the American side. Garcia is the most animated on the European side and -- as we've seen many times over the years -- Olympic gold medalist Justin Rose can get pretty fired up out there too. There would be tons of birdies in this match up -- a best ball format -- which encourages the teams to throw caution to the wind and just go for it. It would be electric.
Jordan Spieth v. Rory McIlroy
Why?: Young studs and presumably rivals for years to come in major championships (as well as Ryder Cup stalwarts), this would have to undoubtedly be the single-most anticipated singles match at this Ryder Cup. At just 23 years old, Spieth is the youngest player on the U.S. side, but certainly one of the team's undisputed leaders. The two-time major champion is playing in just his second Ryder Cup, but is an established superstar. At 27 years old, McIlroy, meanwhile, owns four major titles with 10 other top-10 major finishes. He is the face of European golf. A showdown between these two on Sunday would be special.
Phil Mickelson v. Henrik Stenson
Why?: Please. Give it to us! This would be the sequel to the unbelievable dual at Royal Troon in the Open Championship in July, where Mickelson and Stenson treated all of us to otherworldly golf. Mickelson began the final round trailing Stenson by one shot. If you told Mickelson beforehand that he would shoot a 65 that last day, your next question might have been: So how many shots do you think you'll win by? Unfortunately for Mickelson, Stenson was two shots better that day, tying the major championship, 18-hole scoring record with a 63 to win by three shots. How cool would it be to see another match up like that with the Ryder Cup hanging in the balance?
Dustin Johnson v. Martin Kaymer
Why?: These two squared off against one another in singles in 2010 with Johnson winning a lopsided battle, 6 and 4. Kaymer is better than that result -- we saw it when he clinched the winning point for Europe in 2012. The two have history -- Johnson's gaffe at Whistling Straits in the 2010 PGA Championship that ended with Kaymer winning his first major in a playoff. The pair have each won a U.S. Open since then -- Kaymer in 2014 at Pinehurst and Johnson this past June at Oakmont. Johnson has been one of the best in the world lately, evidenced by his No. 2 World Ranking.
Brooks Koepka v. Thomas Pieters
Why?: If you dig the long ball, this would be a match-up you wouldn't want to miss. These two rookies take it deep. On a big course like Hazeltine, length is certainly an advantage. In this match, it would be a wash. If you want to see a pairing where two players are hitting further than most everyone else in the competition, this is the one. Let's just say there aren't going to be a lot of divots where these guys are hitting their approach shots from.