McIlroy/Garcia pairing looks formidable: Jacklin

Thu Sep 25, 2014 2:23pm EDT
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By Tony Jimenez

GLENEAGLES Scotland (Reuters) - The U.S. will deserve to win the Ryder Cup if they can topple the formidable fourballs pairing of Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia on Friday, according to Europe's most decorated captain Tony Jacklin.

The 70-year-old Englishman believes the new Northern Irish-Spanish combination, which takes on American powerhouses Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley in the opening-day fourballs, can turn into one of the most powerful partnerships of all time.

"If anyone beats Rory and Sergio they deserve to win the Ryder Cup," Jacklin told Reuters as he peered down the running order on a windswept driving range at Gleneagles.

"Those two have got to be one of the strongest pairings there has ever been. They can match Seve Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal -- and they were the best."

The decision by Europe captain Paul McGinley to pair McIlroy with Garcia brings to an end, albeit perhaps temporarily, the Northern Irishman's partnership with his fellow countryman Graeme McDowell.

McIlroy and McDowell played together six times in 2010 and 2012, registering two wins, one half and three defeats.

"Rory's the world number one while Sergio is number three and a guy that rises to the occasion in Ryder Cups. He is in his absolute element in this environment," said Jacklin who led Europe to two wins and one tie in four matches in charge in the 1980s.

"If Phil and Keegan win it will be a huge scalp for U.S. captain Tom Watson and he will be able to capitalize on that."   Continued...