That successful Jordan Spieth-Patrick Reed four-ball pairing? Thank Steve Stricker
GLENEAGLES, Scotland -- Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed were the unlikely American heroes Friday morning at Gleneagles, and not simply because the two rookies knocked off European Ryder Cup stalwart Ian Poulter and his partner, Stephen Gallacher, 5 and 4, in four-ball. Rather, it was the fact they were paired together in the first place.
But midweek, says Spieth, vice captain Steve Stricker made the suggestion that Spieth and Reed might be a good fit, particularly in four-ball. Stricker looked at their tour stats and saw both players ranked well in total birdies for the 2013-14 season (Spieth T-2, Reed 43rd). He also pointed out that their driving accuracies were both only fair. (Spieth T-139, Reed 158th).
"That speaks perfectly to best ball," Spieth said.
Spieth said that Tom Watson told them on Wednesday about the change in plan, with Spieth and Reed practicing together on Thursday with that in mind.
The partnership worked so well that Spieth was "100 percent" confident they'd be going back out in Friday afternoon's foursomes matches. "Captain Watson had said we'd have our the other two pairings in the afternoon [the four Americans who sat out the morning matches were always going to play in the foursomes session] based on how the morning played out. Well, we went out and won 5 and 4, so I figured that was pretty good.
"[Watson] said it was a tough call between Jimmy and Rickie and Phil and Keegan."
What won't be a tough call is seeing Reed and Spieth back again at least once on Saturday.