Here are the matchups for tomorrow’s singles at Hazeltine Natonal as the 2016 Ryder Cup turns towards the Sunday Singles.
1. PATRICK REED (USA) V. RORY MCILROY (EUR)
Ohhhh, grab your popcorn. We finally get the marquis matchup we wanted to see at a Sunday singles. You KNEW Reed had to lead off, and you KNEW Europe had to front load, and for once, the stars aligned. Rory is more seasoned than Patrick, whose emotion might lead to a gaffe. Then again, he lives for singles. If he does knock off Rory, it’ll be the biggest win of his well-decorated match play career.
Quote of the day from a writer pal: “It’s like what they said about him when he was in college. ‘We didn’t love him, but we loved having him on our team.'” Still, Rory is one guy who won’t back down.
2. JORDAN SPIETH (USA) V. HENRIK STENSON (EUR)
Spieth’s been leaking oil of late; he rode Reed like Nyquist today. Stens is our generation’s Iron Byron, and Hazeltine rewards great iron play.
3. JB HOLMES (USA) V. THOMAS PIETERS (EUR)
Pieters looked petrified during his opening match loss, but has rallied nicely to make a claim to rookie of the tournament, especially for Europe. JB Holmes is right at home at the Ryder Cup, cheery and lighthearted. He’ll not crack under the pressure.
4. RICKIE FOWLER (USA) V. JUSTIN ROSE (EUR)
Which Rickie Fowler is going to show up? The one that wins 4&3 or flames out 5&4? Rose is far more consistent.
5. JIMMY WALKER (USA) V. RAFA CABRERA-BELLO (EUR)
Walker has been rock steady with Zach Johnson, but Cabrera-Bello’s performance this morning with Garcia was “Stop the Presses” good. Give the nod to Walker based on experience.
6. PHIL MICKELSON (USA) V. SERGIO GARCIA (EUR)
If it had been a bomber against Phil, I’d have been worried. But Sergio’s putter abandoned him late yesterday, and Phil scrambles better than Sergio.
7. RYAN MOORE (USA) V. LEE WESTWOOD (USA)
Two players who look like they should be in the Interlachen vs. White Bear Yacht Club friendship matches rather than at Hazeltine. What a joke if it happens that one of them clinches the Cup for his team, because they’ve been gaffe-tastic otherwise.
8. BRANDT SNEDEKER (USA) V. ANDY SULLIVAN (EUR)
Sneds, like Koepka and Walker, is another player quietly and reliably racking points for this team. Sullivan will have his hands full with the reigning PGA Champion.
9. DUSTIN JOHNSON (USA) V. CHRIS WOOD (EUR)
Wood has been on my radar ever since his amateur days when he made noise in various Open Championships. He’s a threat to battle Willett as heir apparent to the throne of Justin Rose and the title of England’s favorite son. He happens to draw the short straw, however, in DJ. Dustin is on a World Domination Tour right now, and should make short work of Wood, who sometimes finds the chamber with the bullet in it down the stretch in big moments.
10. BROOKS KOEPKA (USA) V. DANNY WILLETT (EUR)
Reek! Reek! His name is Reeeeeeeeeeek! And he;s playing like it. He and Westwood threw away a critical point. Make any one of four putts and they win that match instead, and it’s 8-1/2 to 7-1/2…much better odds. Koepka has been reliable all weekend.
11. MATT KUCHAR (USA) V. MARTIN KAYMER (EUR)
Kaymer has shown us absolutely nothing since winning the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst. He’s been devoid of any energy or flair this week, and the UK press are hammering him for his lack-luster effort and goose egg on the scoreboard. Kuchar will feeed off the energy and continue his precision play.
12. ZACH JOHNSON (USA) V. MATT FITZPATRICK
Can we accept Zach Johnson as an elite player now? He has a Green Jacket and Claret Jug. Fitzpatrick is rather green to be an anchor on the Ryder cup team, having played just one match.
Projected Singles Score: 8-4 USA
Projected Final Score: 17-1/2 to 10-1/2