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Furyk talks down idea of reuniting old foes in American pairings


Team USA captain Jim Furyk poses in between players Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson yesterday

Team USA captain Jim Furyk poses in between players Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson yesterday

Team USA captain Jim Furyk poses in between players Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson yesterday

United States Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk has dismissed suggestions he could resurrect Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson as a pairing.

The duo, then world numbers one and two, were famously put out together by Hal Sutton in 2004 at Oakland Hills and failed to win a point on the opening day - leading very quickly to the experiment being scrapped and never repeated.

On Tuesday, Mickelson suggested both players would now welcome the chance to give it a go again, but Furyk appears to have no intention of giving them the opportunity.

"Dusting down Hal Sutton's 10-gallon hat. Wow!" said the USA captain when asked about the prospect.

"I guess nothing's out of the realm. They did play some golf yesterday. I think they both mentioned it would be a lot better pairing than it was in the past.

"I'm not really from Texas, so we don't wear a lot of 10-gallon hats in Pennsylvania.

"You know, I won't ever say it wouldn't happen, but it's probably not too likely."

Furyk said many factors were involved in trying to pick the right pairings and he relied a lot on the information his vice-captains fed back to him from following the practice groups.

"I think one of the tasks for every captain, and the vice captains, is really trying to figure out not only your best pairing, but how you get your best four or your best five, your best six," he added.

"We have the analytics team in place, and they have opinions on why guys match up well together from a statistics standpoint, but we really need to understand the personality side and how guys mesh together and why that happens.

"I think it's a combination of both, but I've got a lot of experience on my side with our vice-captains. I've got a lot of guys that were world-class players themselves, played on a significant number of these teams and understand the inner workings, and there's a lot of feel that goes into it as well, and I really trust and believe in their opinions."

Despite being the holders and favourites to win in Paris, Furyk insists they are taking nothing for granted.

"The players are very well aware of the history of the event, the talent and pride on the other side," he said.

"There is not a worry on my end of any overconfidence, complacency - no one is putting the cart before the horse.

"This group of players have been fun, unique and extremely easy to work with."

Meanwhile, Rookie Justin Thomas is looking forward to playing in the Ryder Cup proper having represented the USA in the junior event in 2010.

"I've seen three in person, including the one in Wales when I played in the Junior Ryder Cup, but I'm very excited to be this side of the ropes," said the 2017 USPGA champion.

Thomas looks like being paired with friend Rickie Fowler and it is something he would welcome.

"When talking to Jim as much as I have about pairings I feel we know each others' game so well it's hard to go wrong but it could be something that could be fun," he added.