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Ryder Cup pairings: Here's an educated guess
Posted 9/26/2012 5:48 PM ET

MEDINAH, Ill. -- U.S captain Davis Love III and counterpart Jose Maria Olazabal of Europe, no matter how many times they've been asked this week, have been tight-lipped when it comes to saying how they will pair players for the opening two days of the Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club.

But hints can be gathered from the groups sent out during practice rounds, as well as past history and relationships.

For instance, there are no-brainer teams that will be seen in the fourball and foursomes sessions on Friday and Saturday in the 39th edition of the Ryder Cup. There is little doubt Love will pair Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker, who are 2-1-0 as a team in Ryder Cup action and 4-1-0 in the Presidents Cup. On the European side, good mates Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell seem to be a lock to play together. They went 1-1-1 in Wales in 2010 as Europe reclaimed the Cup with a 14½-13½ victory.

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Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia, who are 4-0-0 as teammates, seem to be another expected pairing for Europe. Another is that of Ian Poulter and Justin Rose, who played well together in 2008. As for the rest of the European squad, Ryder Cup stalwart Lee Westwood played with Francesco Molinari in Wednesday's practice round, and they form a solid mix of accuracy and power. Martin Kaymer, the 2010 PGA Championship winner whose form has not been up to par this season, could pair with Paul Lawrie. And Europe's only rookie, Nicolas Colsaerts and his power, could partner with Peter Hanson.

On the American side, frequent practice partners Phil Mickelson and rookie Keegan Bradley seem to be a perfect match of power and personality. Playing with Woods and Stricker on Wednesday were Matt Kuchar and Dustin Johnson, another solid mix of accuracy and power. Rookie Webb Simpson and Bubba Watson, who teamed so well in the USA's win in the 2011 Presidents Cup, will likely be paired. Another likely match is Zach Johnson and rookie Jason Dufner, both of whom have won twice on the PGA Tour this season and both of whom have said they would enjoy playing with the other.

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That leaves veteran Jim Furyk with rookie Brandt Snedeker, a good match as Furyk's experience and accuracy could blend well with Snedeker's recent hot form and extremely hot putter.

The pairings for Friday morning's opening session of foursomes -- alternate shot -- will be announced Thursday during the opening session. Here's one stab at who the eight teams will be:

The USA, in no particular order, will send out Woods/Stricker, Mickelson/Bradley, Snedeker/Furyk and Kuchar/Johnson. Europe will counter will Garcia/Donald, McIlroy/McDowell, Poulter/Rose and Westwood/Molinari.

Or we'll discover Love and Olazabal had other pairings in mind.

Posted 9/26/2012 5:48 PM ET
Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson of the USA walk off a tee box during a practice round Wednesday at the Ryder Cup.
Andy Lyons, Getty Images
Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson of the USA walk off a tee box during a practice round Wednesday at the Ryder Cup.