US Open Pairings for Thursday and Friday’s Rounds

Posted in Chazerai, Professional Sports on June 12th, 2011 by Ian Paregol

The Pairings for the first two rounds of play at the US Open at Congressional in Bethesda, Maryland have been posted and there are quite a few alluring threesomes.  Undoubtedly, purposeful player selections have been made by the USGA for the Open which will be without its top spectator draw, Tiger Woods – out with an Achilles injury.  Wasn’t it Achilles who was invulnerable to any weakness except an injury to his heel which was held by his mother, Thetis, as she dipped him into the river Styx to make him immortal?  Clearly, there are other parallels and some alternative body part references which unite this Greek myth to the post-modern allegory of Tiger Woods, but I digress…

As is the custom with the Open, “super pairings” are sprinkled about the 156-man playing field to create buzz, keep spectator traffic under control, ease operational needs for televised coverage, and of course, to prove to golf fans just how very clever the USGA pairing committee really is.  Although lacking an American presence, the marquee grouping of Read more »

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A Tradition Like No Other

Posted in Professional Sports on April 7th, 2011 by Ian Paregol

April 7 – The Masters begins today with an array of tasty pairings.  Unlike many of the tournaments on the Tour, which pair players based upon a random draw, the pairings at Augusta National are purposeful and deliberate.  The club committee tasked with developing the pairings for the 1st two rounds of play has complete discretion to group players as it sees fit.  The only exception to their unfettered sovereignty is the one traditional pairing:  the current US Amateur Champ (Peter Uihlein) is paired with the defending Masters champion (Phil Mickelson).  And no one messes with tradition at the Masters.

The Masters offers only 19 ways to recieve an invitation to compete for the Green Jacket.  Unlike many PGA Tour events, the many of the qualifications involve world play performance which promotes a more well-rounded international field.  (See the Fast Facts below for qualifications.)   The committee typically ties the high profile players together into super pairings with the lesser-followed players and many internationals grouped into the time slots between these all-star threesomes.  In this manner, the Committee can control the gallery so that players are able to move though the course, limit noise so that the fan-base is spread throughout the 365-acre grounds, and most importantly for ESPN, assure that television coverage in the morning and afternoon features players who will draw viewership.

Some of the more interesting or comment-worthy pairings are detailed below:

  • 8:18 AM – Ben Crenshaw, Brandt Snedeker, Kevin Na – How did Gentle Ben get paired with these two schmos?
  • 8:40 AM – Dustin Johnson, Adam Scott, Nick Watney – Maybe the handsomest pairing in the field.
  • 8:51 AM – Vijay Singh, Tim Clark, Aaron Baddeley – I am hoping that Bads and the ill-tempered Vijay start fighting and Bads lays VJ out before they reach Amen Corner.  South African Tim Clark is a perfect referee for this fracas.
  • 9:24 AM – Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day – great pairing of 21 to 23 year old players representing “the next wave.”
  • 10:19 AM – Martin Kaymer, Lee Westwood, Matt Kuchar – The Germanator and Westy, the world’s top two players, paired together.  Look for both of them to be in contention on Sunday even though Kaymer has had zero success at the Masters.  Oh, Kuch, we know you will be playing over the weekend but you’ll need to stand next to Lee to get some air-time in this pairing.
  • 10:41 AM – Tiger Woods, Graeme McDowell, Robert Allenby – Tiger and Graeme have dueled recently.  In December, Graeme won the Chevron World Challenge with a birdie during the first hole of a sudden-death playoff to beat Tiger who had blown a four-shot lead on the final day of the tourney.
  • 11:25 AM – Craig Stadler, Kevin Streelman, a-Nathan Smith – I fully expect the Walrus to quit before the end of the day on Friday.  Not really an ideal pairing for mild-mannered uber-Am Smith.
  • 12:53 PM – Fred Couples, Luke Donald, Steve Stricker – Freddie is simply the most enjoyable golfer to watch play in the last three decades.
  • 1:04 PM – Anthony Kim, Henrik Stenson, Steve Marino – Fans, keep your eyes open for flying objects – the Patented Burgess Putter-Chuck is a given with this brutish group.
  •  1:15 PM – Bubba Watson, Paul Casey, Eduardo Molinari – This may well be the most well-rounded of the three player pairings.  I would take these three guys in a best-ball any day.
  • 1:48 PM – Phil Mickelson, Geoff Ogilvy, a-Peter Uihlein – Coming off of a win in Houston, can Lefty repeat?

The complete pairing list can be found at

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