Why we're excited for the Tiger Woods and Patrick Reed pairing at the Ryder Cup
We finally know the 2018 Ryder Cup pairings for the Friday morning four-ball matches and Tiger Woods and Patrick Reed will play in the fourth and final match.
The buzz for a potential Tiger/Reed pairing begain earlier in the week when the two played practice rounds together. It built each day and culminated during the opening ceremony Thursday when American Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk announced the two would be paired in the morning's final four-ball match against Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood.
Here are three reasons we can't wait to watch:
No one, including Tiger himself, knew if he would win again on the PGA Tour after he suffered the injuries that have ailed him for the last half-decade. But he enters the 2018 Ryder Cup as arguably the hottest player in the world after his win at THE TOUR Championship at East Lake Golf Club. Tiger is currently ranked 13th in the OWGR. For reference, he was 650th after last December's Hero World Challenge.
Tiger winning on the PGA Tour is a huge deal (obviously) but the fact that he did so in the final PGA Tour event of the season in the week before his first time competing in the Ryder Cup in six years only magnifies his recent win and how he plays at Le Golf National.
Can you imagine how fired up Captain America, 6-1-2 in his Ryder Cup career, will be on the first tee? He'll thrive on the pressure and attention of playing alongside Tiger. There's a strong chance he elevates his game back to the level we saw in that all-time classic against Rory McIlroy in the 2016 Ryder Cup.
He was booed during his practice round and during the opening ceremony. So what? He's embraced the role of the heel. During the opening ceremony, he cupped his ear to the crowd, encouraging the European fans to boo even louder:
Reed, lest we forget, won the 2018 Masters and finished fourth in the 2018 U.S. Open. Add in the match play record from his college career, and he's an incredible 12-1-2 in match play. Tiger has a partner who has the skill, experience and the mental makeup to handle such a big moment on an international stage.
This is the Ryder Cup so every Friday four-ball match will feature four of the best players in the world but Tiger and Reed's opponents create an especially intriguing matchup. Francesco Molinari (5th in OWGR) won The Open Championship and Tommy Fleetwood (12th) finished second at the U.S. Open.
Fleetwood could receive as much of a home-course advantage as any player in the Ryder Cup after his victory in the 2017 French Open at Le Golf National. He's 5th on the PGA Tour in birdie average and 23rd in average driving distance, while Molinari is seventh in strokes gained off-the-tee and 12th in greens-in-regulation percentage. Both are the kind of steely, accurate players who give Americans fits at the Ryder Cup. We can't wait to see how this match plays out.