The 42nd edition of the Ryder Cup is almost upon us and the U.S. and European teams are loaded with talent. Every player who’s automatically qualified is ranked inside the top-30 in the OWGR, and there are whispers the teams as already assembled are two of the best ever. On the U.S. side, you have the bash brothers Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka, and next decade players Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas. All major champions by the way.

The European team counters with the power of Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm, along with the finesse of Justin Rose and Tommy Fleetwood. These two teams may go down in history as Ryder Cup Dream Teams, but what about Dream Pairings we would like to have seen, or still see for that matter? Here are the Top 5 Ryder Cup Dream Pairings that could psychologically destroy opponents before even stepping on the first tee.

5. Colin Montgomerie and Rory McIlroy

Colin Montgomerie, Hall of Famer and winner of 8 European Tour Order of Merit titles, saves his best for the blue and gold of Team Europe – the Ryder Cup is Monty’s Manor. Rory McIlroy is a streaky player, but when he brings that cool mad swagger Americans will wonder how they’ll ever be able to defeat him.

colin montgomerie and Rory McIlroy

Pairing these two alpha-mercurial players together is a risky proposition that could result in finger pointing, clubs slamming, and profanity unleashed. If it pays off, however, it pays off in an avalanche of points. Montgomerie and McIlroy are proud to wear the European uniform, and they can produce a highlight reel of heroics – in any format against any pairing the Americans throw out against them.

4. Walter Hagen and Jordan Spieth

Walter Hagen and Jordan Spieth Ryder Cup PGAPappas

In many ways, this is a polar opposite partnership. Walter Hagen, the 11-time major winner, is a colorful showman. Jordan Spieth is a calculating tactician. When match play pressure increases, however, both Hagen and Spieth elevate their intensities to ideal states that can stagger the steeliest of European competitors. Hagen is one of the game’s greatest scramblers with a knack for coming in first. Spieth’s incredible short game and ability to get up and down from anywhere will intimidate in pressure-packed moments. The contrasts and commonalities of Hagen’s fearless fire combined with Spieth’s relentless resolve make them a formidable team who can summon greatness seemingly at will.

3. Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods

The two greatest players in the history of the game transporting their individual mastery into the team arena? It doesn’t more glorious than a Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods pairing. It also doesn’t get more legendary.

Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods Ryder Cup PGAPappas (1)

Jack and Tiger bring a clinical edge to every gamble taken off the tee, every impossible recovery shot attempted. They bring an innate competitiveness and unbreakable mental strength to every green they step on. With Nicklaus and Woods leading the way, American teams would get doused in champagne every two years for at least a decade. This is a pairing the Europeans genuinely fear and could go down as the greatest partnership in Ryder Cup history.

2. Arnold Palmer and Dustin Johnson

Hall of Famer and golfing legend Arnold Palmer was made for the tense Ryder Cup arena with his ability to mobilize and rally the crowds. Dustin Johnson’s cavalier style of play is quiet but ruthless. Put The King and the current World No. 1 player together and you’d have a perfect combination of flamboyance and toughness.


You also have a recipe to dismantle the European competition. Palmer and Johnson bring an intimidation factor off the tee, and they’re both brilliant at finishing off holes. Anywhere on the course either player can hit a surreal shot that makes excited children of us all. Arnie and D.J. is a tenacious pairing that verges on being unbeatable.

1. Ian Poulter and Seve Ballesteros


Ian Poulter’s frenzied face with eye-popping, fist-pumping emotion. Seve Ballesteros’, World No. 1 in his day, raw defiance with audacious and wildly inventive shot-making. This European pairing would have body-checked just about any American team. The Ryder Cup is the perfect canvas for a twosome that combines Ballesteros’ consummate skill and swashbuckling style with Poulter’s unquenchable spirit and assassin’s mentality. Both players shut everything out and channel their entire beings into the job at hand. They play every shot like their life depends on it. And they play every shot like madmen. That would put a lot of blue on the board for Team Europe.