By Mark Lamport-Stokes
CHASKA, Minnesota (Reuters) – United States captain Davis Love III gave an indication of his pairings for this week’s Ryder Cup by sending out his players for practice on Wednesday in almost identical groups for a second day in a row.
Twice major winner Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed, who formed an unbeaten partnership at the 2014 Ryder Cup in Scotland, teed off together on a chilly morning at Hazeltine, along with U.S. Open champion Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar.
That quartet had also been grouped together on Tuesday for the first day of official practice.
The power-hitting Johnson and ultra-consistent Kuchar would pair up well in the fourball format, though the 2016 Ryder Cup will start on Friday morning with the opening foursomes (alternate shot) matches.
Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker, who recorded three halves and one loss in tandem at Gleneagles in 2014, played with Phil Mickelson and Cup rookie Brooks Koepka on Wednesday.
Fowler and Walker had also been paired together the previous day, suggesting that their partnership will continue at Hazeltine.
JB Holmes, Zach Johnson, Brandt Snedeker and debutant Ryan Moore went out in the third group, Johnson having replaced Koepka in that quartet as the only tweak from Tuesday.
“You’ll see friends out there playing together in our pairings, you’ll see guys that have done it before,” Love told reporters when all his players were out on the course.
“I think comfortable and confident and trusting is the way to make those pairings. These are guys that get along well and have played a lot together.
“We’re having a good day. Everybody seems to be hitting the ball well and playing well and having fun. Getting a lot of work done.”
Love, who is bidding to end a run of eight losses by the U.S. in the last 10 editions, on Thursday will announce his pairings for Friday’s opening foursomes.
“I’m not exactly sure what’s going to happen,” Spieth said about the likely combinations. “I know we have a great pod with Kuch and D.J. and Patrick and things could adjust.
“I’m in wherever Captain puts me. They (Love and his assistants) say that they have done with the homework behind it to create the best scenario for this team.”
(Editing by Andrew Both)