Thursday, 18 September 2008

Note confirmed- Azingers had all night knowing half of our foursomes. He reacts by using the same pairs as yesterday. Wait, that's not a story...

Sandwichgate- that's what they're calling it. Nick Faldo's boob off making a note of his plans for a canny photographer to snap and show to the world has taken off in some style. The main story on every golfing website, including mine... But further to my comments earlier it's real unimportance has been shown today as Faldo sent out his players in pairs which included the two snapped in that photo. It's likely that he would have sent them out like that anyway and as the pairings for the first round are announced this evening, Azinger could have reacted to it in time even without yesterdays big reveal. He's been sending the same groups out together all week, so it's not like he's been playing his cards particularly close to his chest. What a load of fuss about nothing...

So, the pairings Faldo's looking at are
  • Sergio Garcia & Lee Westwood
  • Padraig Harrington & Robert Karlsson
  • Henrik Stenson & Paul Casey
  • Miguel Angel Jimenez & Graeme McDowell
  • Ian Poulter & Justin Rose
  • Oliver Wilson & Soren Hansen
They went out in groups of four, in that order and it is likely that the first four pairs listed will be the pairings that Faldo goes with for the morning. They on paper look like the strongest groupings, in terms of form and experience, unless one the other pairs is looking much better today. As it is Faldo's expressed intention to play all 12 players on the first day, you would imagine Poulter and Rose, Wilson and Hansen would come in for Stenson and Casey, Jimenez and Hansen in a straight swap should all go to plan, though it's not uncommon for the Captain to completely switch it up or have specific pairings planned for the foursomes and fourballs, so it may be a wholesale change.

On the yankee side, Azinger has done nothing to acknowldege that Faldo's note made a blind bit of difference. The pairings have been the same for the last few days, Azinger not mixing anything up, probably looking to build up some chemistry in the pairings he's decided on. Kentucky pair Kenny Perry and JB Holmes have been rumoured for a long time to be the opening pairing to get the crowd pumped. They played with Jim Furyk and Boo Weekley a pair of baldies united. In what looks a very solid pairing Stewart Cink and Steve Stricker played alongside Ben Curtis and Chad Campbell.

The big man in the team, Phil Mickelson was placed along with newbie Anthony Kim which could be a very formidable pair for anyone to face, expect birdies galore there and they have been getting along very well on all accounts. Then it's rounded out with Hunter Mahan and Justin Leonard. Somewhat surprising that the Mahan Stricker combo which had President's cup success was split up, if these are indeed the pairings Azinger goes with, but perhaps it is a good ploy of his to team each of his six rookies with a man who's been here before. Those who have been here before, haven't had great success, but at least they've tasted the atmosphere and know what to expect. It's hard to pick the groups that Azinger will select for sure, but the best bet is that, Curtis and Campbell, Mahan and Leonard will sit out the morning session. That'll give Mahan some time to recover from those big dinners he was so worried about.

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