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Devil Ball Golf

Watson-Simpson pairing proving rookie pressure no longer exists

Jonathan Wall
Devil Ball Golf

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Fred Couples doesn't have a degree in theoretical physics from MIT, but based on the way he's captained the Presidents Cup team recently, you'd be hard pressed to convince someone that Couples isn't a flippin' genius.

Two years after he paired Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker together and watched them run the table in the team portion, Couples has found a new pair that, through two matches, seem well on their way to doing the exact same thing.

One day after Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson led things off for the United States and grabbed the first point of the Presidents Cup, the duo went out on Friday and did the exact same thing, disposing of Ernie Els and Ryo Ishikawa, 2 and 1, to pick up the first four-ball point of the day.

There's a good chance Couples will have them go out first on Saturday, and if that ends up being the case, could you really blame him? Watson and Simpson may be Presidents Cup rookies, but neither has looked the part of a wide-eyed newbie playing in a pressure-packed event behind enemy lines.

Quite honestly, the pressure of being a rookie in the Presidents Cup has been non-existent with these two. Sure, this is the first go for Watson and Simpson in the event, but in today's jet-setting age, where players play events abroad all the time, going to play in an international event doesn't seem nearly as daunting.

It used to be that players would play on the PGA Tour and rarely venture abroad (the only exception was to play in the British Open). But all that's changed. These guys are used to playing in big-time international events, and playing courses they don't normally see on the PGA Tour.

It's part of being a world-class player these days. If you want to be the best, you have to go abroad and play against the best in the world. To be honest, the international power shift has been a good thing.

It's allowed players like Bubba Watson to feel more at home in international events like the Presidents Cup -- even if the stroke format isn't the same. Sure, Watson and Simpson will continue to be called "rookies" for the rest of this week.

But based on the way they've played so far, the tag definitely doesn't suit them. If anything, they're showing that the best duo at this year's Presidents Cup could be the guys with the least amount of experience.

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