The United States of America has a proud golfing tradition, with the world’s top players representing the country. In 2018, Team USA will be led by two of the best players in history: Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth.
Jordan Spieth is one of the best golfers in the world. He has been on a tear this year and was recently crowned The World’s Top Golfer. This article will discuss how to build an unstoppable day 1 lineup for Team USA, headlined by Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth.
The 2021 Ryder Cup is almost here, and U.S. team captain Steve Stricker will reveal his Day 1 pairings at the opening ceremony on Thursday night. At Whistling Straits this weekend, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas are expected to be called upon early and frequently, but the rest of the lineup is more unclear. Let’s see if we can put together an unbeatable Day 1 squad to help Team USA get off to a good start on Friday.
Steve, get your notebook out.
Team USA’s Ryder Cup 2021 storylines
Before the 43rd Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits, Team USA poses for a picture | Andrew Redington/Getty Images
The Americans are heavy favorites to win the Ryder Cup in 2021, with the Europeans a distant second. The average Official World Golf Ranking for Team USA’s 12-man squad is 8.9, while Team Europe’s is just 30.8.
However, in recent years, better rankings haven’t translated into Ryder Cup success for the red, white, and blue. Despite having a more skilled lineup for most of the past decade, Team USA has only won the tournament once in the previous five years.
On the American side, the ongoing feud between Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka is the most intriguing subplot. DeChambeau and Koepka aren’t friends, but they’ll have to work together this weekend for the sake of patriotism.
Rookies make up half of Team USA’s star-studded lineup this year, but as three of the top ten players in the world, Collin Morikawa, Patrick Cantlay, and Xander Schauffele should see plenty of action. Stricker will have to rely on the expertise of veterans like Thomas, Spieth, and Dustin Johnson to keep the squad on track.
It’s time to return the cup to its rightful owner.
In the Friday foursomes, Steve Stricker should use Bryson DeChambeau.
During the Ryder Cup opening ceremony on Thursday night, Stricker will reveal his Day 1 pairings. The captain of the US team must choose four duos for Friday morning foursomes and four duos for afternoon fourballs.
The morning wave will play alternative shot (foursomes), and Team USA has a couple of intriguing possibilities for the unusual format. Let’s attempt to put together the ideal squad to put the Americans up early.
Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas
For Stricker, the first team out should be a no-brainer. Thomas and Spieth have been buddies since before they ever became pro, and they’ve also competed in team tournaments together. During the 2018 Ryder Cup in Paris, the pairing went 3-1 as a team. This time around, don’t be shocked if they participate in all four team waves.
Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay
This will be Cantlay and Schauffele’s first Ryder Cup appearances, but it will not be the first time they have worn the red, white, and blue as colleagues. Cantlay and Schauffele won 2-0 in foursomes matches together at the 2019 Presidents Cup in Australia, and they formed a unique relationship along the road. On Friday morning, lock them in for the second place.
Collin Morikawa and Bryson DeChambeau
This is when things start to get interesting. I’m going to make the case for DeChambeau and Morikawa to play together at the Ryder Cup this weekend.
Different abilities complement each other well in the ideal alternative shot pair. DeChambeau is a top-20 putter on the PGA Tour and the greatest driver in the world. Morikawa is the greatest iron player on the planet, as well as a tough competitor who can match his partner’s vigor. With Whistling Straits playing 7,355 yards this weekend, DeChambeau can give Team USA a huge edge off the tee, and Morikawa’s laser-like long irons can position him up for short putts.
In the alternative shot system, these would be a lethal pair.
Scottie Scheffler and Dustin Johnson
Johnson, as the most experienced player on Team USA’s squad this year, should see action on Friday morning. What better way to ease Scheffler into the competition than by pairing him with a seasoned pro? These two have similar personalities and golf skills, and as partners, they may surprise some people.
Afternoon fourballs with Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth
So, on Friday morning, we set out the ideal foursomes pairings for Team USA, but what about the afternoon fourball format? Let’s get started.
Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth
Rinse and repeat with Thomas and Spieth. At Whistling Straits, these two will enjoy a jam-packed weekend.
Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay
This week, I anticipate Cantlay and Schauffele to be dominant. Cantlay is the hottest player in the world after winning the TOUR Championship and winning the FedEx Cup for the first time in his career. He makes a lot of birdies, makes few errors, and sinks every putt he sees. On the greens, Schauffele is extremely consistent and as tough as they come.
In the afternoon, rerun it.
Brooks Koepka and Tony Finau are two of the best golfers in the world.
After DeChambeau had his shot in the morning, it will be Koepka’s time in the afternoon. Stricker is likely to give Koepka and Finau another chance on Friday after their fourball win on Day 1 of the 2018 Ryder Cup.
Daniel Berger and Harris English
The rookie bowl, of course! The two greatest question marks on Team USA’s squad this year are English and Berger, so why not team them together and see what they can do? On the PGA Tour, these two are incredible birdie machines, so if they can manage the pressure and feed off one other’s enthusiasm on the course, this could be a very deadly combination this weekend.
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