Saturday, June 11, 2011

U.S. Open Pairings -- A Good Way To Start

   So much for the idea that the USGA lacks a sense of humor.

   If the first and second-round pairings for next week's U.S. Open aren't knee-slapping funny, they're at least amusing in the way bossman Mike Davis and his colleagues put threesomes together for the first 36 holes. It's something the organization began quietly doing a few years back, inserting a handful of pairings that made you go hmmmm.

   Now it's part of the Open

   This year, there's the obvious 1-2-3 pairing of Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer, based on the world rankings. Maybe it's not as sexy as Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott together a couple of years ago but pretty good nonetheless.

   There's an international theme to this year's pairings, which fits with the current state of professional golf, which has its power base outside the United States at the moment.

   There's the Spanish grouping: Miguel Angel Jimenez, Sergio Garcia and Alvaro Quiros, pulling together the Mechanic, the Brooder and the Bomber.

   There's the all-Sweden pairing of Johan Edfors, Henrik Stenson and Fredrik Jacobson. Wonder how that makes Robert Karlsson, the highest-ranked Swede feel? Of course, he's paired with Bubba Watson and Adam Scott, in what could resemble a long drive contest.

   The Italian pairing features the Molinari brothers -- Eduardo and Francesco -- along with Matteo Manassero. Bellisimo.
   The Marty Hackel threesome has Rickie Fowler, Ian Poulter and Hunter Mahan together in the fashion-forward grouping. Big hats, big shades, big ego. You can figure which goes with which.

   The best pairing, though, has Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson together. If you need me, that's where I'll be Thursday and Friday.