Sep 29, 2012; Medinah, IL, USA; European golfer Ian Poulter tries to line a putt up for Rory McIlroy on the 18th green during the afternoon session of the 39th Ryder Cup on day two at Medinah Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Featured Pairing For 1st Round of Valero Texas Open

After going over the pairings for the first two rounds of The Valero Texas Open that begins on Thursday morning, I found a couple that peaked my interest. By the way…not sure why they call it pairings when they are teeing off threesomes but ..oh well!! Anyway, the one that caught my eye right off the get go was 23-year-old Rory McIlroy playing with 19-year-old Jordan Spieth. Matt Kuchar is the third wheel here, and they go off at 8:50 Eastern Time on Thursday,and 1:50 on Friday.

Rory McIlroy made a decision during last week’s Shell Open to include this stop which is a scheduling anomaly caused by the calender. McIlroy struggled again, all four days in Houston, and decided he probably should squeeze another tournament in before he goes to Augusta for next week’s Masters. His ball striking is getting a little better, but his short game, and putter basically suck. He did put up two birdies in a row at 17, and 18 on Sunday, but finished at -4 under par, a dozen shots behind the winner.

Matt Kuchar hasn’t played since mid March when he finished in a tie for 14th place at The Tampa Bay Championship Presented by EverBank. The Kuch picked up a win at The Accenture Match Play Championships, and a couple of top 10’s earlier in the year in Hawaii where finished T 5 at The Sony Open, and a T 9 in the winds on Kapalua. Spieth has split his season between the PGA TOUR and Tour but played well with a couple of top 10s on each, including a runner-up in Puerto Rico.

Another nice matchup is Ian Poulter, Charl Schwartzel, and Jim Furyk. This will be Poulter and Schwartzel’s first ever, appearance in San Antonio. Furyk hasn’t teed it up at the Valero in over a decade. Poulter hasn’t missed a cut anywhere in his last 33 starts, while Schwartzel hasn’t finished worse than 16th in his last 11 stroke-play starts. They tee off at 1:50 p.m. ET Thursday and 8:50 a.m. Friday.

The last one to watch for is D.A. Points, John Merrick, and Brian Gay. All have been winners on the tour this year, with Points getting his on Sunday in Houston. Maybe his luck in the state of Texas will continue this week, and he can get two in a row. Merrick won the Northern Trust Open earlier in the year at Riverside, and Brian Gay won the Dessert Classic in Palm Springs. They tee off 2 p.m. ET Thursday and 9 a.m. Friday.

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Tags: Golf Greg Norman Ian Poulter Jim Furyk PGA Rory McIlroy

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