Charles Schwab Challenge

Colonial Country Club

The Loop

Strategizing for Merion's quirks

September 12, 2009

ARDMORE, Pa. -- There is always a fair amount of strategy in picking foursomes (alternate shot) pairings at the Walker Cup. Do you match-up golfers with similar playing styles? Do you pair a good putter with a good ball striker? What about their pace of play?

Such analysis might be even more critical this weekend given the way Merion GC's East Course is laid out. With all four par 3s odd-numbered holes, how you choose the order of play becomes even more important.

"On this course, the ball-striker tees off on the first hole," said U.S. captain Buddy Marucci.

Additionally, the person who doesn't tee off first on the opening hole needs to be a good putter as he'll be putting for birdie on 11 of the 18 holes (should a pairing play each hole in regulation) including nine of the final 11 holes.

In the Saturday morning matches, Marucci had Morgan Hoffmann, Peter Uihlein, Bud Cauley and Adam Mitchell tee off on the first hole in their pairings, with Brian Harman, Nathan Smith, Rickie Fowler and Cameron Tringale being the "designated putters."

-- Ryan Herrington