What is the real story behind the Ryder Cup pairings? There are no less that 1 million possible scenarios and probably 100 times more opinions on what Captains Furyk and Bjorn should do during the first two days. I have watched the Ryder Cup for years and I can say without a doubt that no matter how much brain power one puts into selecting a pairing, the results can never be determined. In my humble opinion, the pairing results come down to one thing only: chemistry!
The FEDEX Cup is a perfect example of why chemistry is the key to winning. During the last three tournaments, especially at the Tour Championship, any player, on any day could shoot very low or very high. There really was no rhyme or reason, it just happened. All the players at the FEDEX Cup are considered elite players, but I can assure you that by using my 2/6/2 rule, the results will be show that playing ability is not a factor at the Ryder Cup.
In case you are wondering, my 2/6/2 rules is like this: on any given day, 2 players will be on fire and cannot miss; 6 players will meet their expectations or at least slightly above or below; and 2 will play so poorly that they wonder why they play golf. This happens all the time and I expect to see the same this weekend.
Therefore, it comes back to chemistry. My experience over years of playing team sports is that players that enjoying playing together and genuinely care about their teammates produce greater results. In this case, the sum of the parts is greater than the individual. Team chemistry softens poor play and accentuates great play.
Looking back at all the Ryder Cup teams, pairing chemistry prevailed more often than not. I think back to the year that Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson were paired together. On paper, they were unstoppable. All the analysis afterwards resulted in many reasons on why in 2004 Woods and Mickelson lost two at Oakland Hills Country Club. Personally, I believe it was chemistry. They did not like playing with each other and it was evident by their body language. Although they almost won, I think that this pairing was ill-fated. I hope that Captain Furyk does not try to pair them together tomorrow, I think it will be another failed experiment.
Chemistry is everything in a team competition. The pairings over the next two days will be a subset of the great team chemistry. Over the years, the European Team had the greater chemistry and as a result have dominate since 1995. Starting tomorrow, we shall see if Team USA can be as good on the course as they are on paper or will Team Europe pull together as a team to win yet another Ryder Cup. It is all about chemistry!
What do you think? Is chemistry enough to win a team competition?
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!