Paul McGinley and Tom Watson have announced their fourball pairings ahead on the start of the Ryder Cup on Friday morning.
The main talking point to come out of the pairings was Watson's decision to put debutants Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed together, whilst Europe went for a strong finish with Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia paired together.
McGinley has also chosen to give Stephen Gallacher his debut and sensibly paired him with Ian Poulter, who is one of the most successful players on the European side. The pair will face Spieth and Reed, meaning Poulter has the opportunity to exert his competition experience as he hopes to improve his excellent Ryder Cup record even further.
Watson explained his decision to use the rookies early in the morning and believes they can get his team off to a good start.
“Furyk and Kuchar – you can probably bank on them playing in the afternoon,” said Watson. “The three rookies in the morning fourballs, I think that’s a good place for them to get their feet wet, playing every shot. I have all the confidence in the world of them getting out and doing very well," Watson said.
McGinley has decided to leave out Victor Dubuisson and Jamie Donaldson, who will have to wait a bit longer to taste some Ryder Cup action for the first time.
Plenty of options
However Europe's captains believes that any of his 12 players could have played with each other and admitted he had plenty of options.
“We’ve got 12 strong players I could have gone with any number of permutations,” said McGinley.
McGinley also spoke about the reception Scotlands Gallacher is going to receive at Gleneagles. Gallacher lives just 35 miles away from the course and thinks he and Poulter will relish the atmosphere.
“We've got Stephen Gallacher out there with a guy who's going to enjoy the atmosphere that Stephen is going to have. The Scottish crowd are going to be vociferous and we all know who likes to rise to the occasion. Ian is looking forward to that role.”
Watson & Simpson remain
With Poulter playing with Gallacher, it means McGinley has decided to split up the partnership of Justin Rose and Poulter, choosing to pair Rose with Swede Henrik Stenson as Europe's lead-off pair.
The first shot of this year's Ryder Cup will be hit be either Bubba Watson or Webb Simpson as Watson opted to keep their partnership from two years ago.
Denmark's Thomas Bjorn will play with this year's US Open champion Martin Kaymer and they will match-up against Rickie Fowler and debutant Jimmy Walker.
The final match of Friday's first session looks exciting with Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson doing battle against world number one Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia. Bradley and Mickelson were unbeaten at Medinah two years ago and will look to preserve that record.
To add even more to that clash, Mickelson made a comment yesterday regarding McIlroy's current court case with McDowell's management company.
U.S captain Tom Watson believes that the clash between the four heavyweights could be one to watch.
“The match everyone’s looking at is the Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley one at the end of the fourballs - that ought to be a barn burner as well," Watson concluded.
Opening fourballs and tee times:
7.35am: Justin Rose/Henrik Stenson v Bubba Watson/Webb Simpson
7.50am: Thomas Bjorn/Martin Kaymer v Rickie Fowler/Jimmy Walker
8.05am: Stephen Gallacher/Ian Poulter v Jordan Spieth/Patrick Reid
8.20am: Sergio Garcia/Rory McIlroy v Keegan Bradley/Phil Mickelson
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