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What practice round groupings say about U.S. Ryder Cup strategy

CHASKA, Minn. -- U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III has insisted his team won't be broken into pods in the traditional sense, but we still might be able to read something into his Tuesday practice round groupings.

In the first foursome: Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed, Matt Kuchar and Dustin Johnson. Next up: Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Moore, Brooks Koepka and J.B. Holmes. And the last group: Phil Mickelson, Zach Johnson, Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker.

"We had groups of guys that we've kind of been looking at for a while just to get out and practice in, and we'll probably mix it up tomorrow," Love explained. "But this was guys that get along well and have played a lot together and obviously spend a lot of time together. So we just felt like the first day, especially on a windy, cold day, just let everybody get out there and have some fun and play golf."

While Love doesn't want to show his cards so early in the week, it's certainly feasible that the team might be broken into three foursomes, with each player having only the other three in his group as potential partners.

This strategy was popularized during the 2008 edition of this event, when then-U.S. captain Paul Azinger grouped his players this way. That was, of course, the last time the U.S. team won the Ryder Cup.

The European side might be more difficult to figure out.

The three foursomes that played together on Tuesday were: Martin Kaymer, Rafael Cabrera Bello, Danny Willett and Lee Westwood; Matthew Fitzpatrick, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson and Thomas Pieters; and Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Andy Sullivan and Chris Wood.

Each team will have two more days to figure out potential pairings, as Wednesday and Thursday are practice days, with the competition starting Friday morning.