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Pairings set for opening round
Davis Love III sent out his hottest player. Jose Maria Olazabal went with his strongest teams. The Ryder Cup captains had the same objectives...
MEDINAH, Ill. — Davis Love III sent out his hottest player. Jose Maria Olazabal went with his strongest teams. The Ryder Cup captains had the same objectives Thursday when they announced their teams for the opening sessions at Medinah.
Win points, the sooner the better.
"We have to go for it," Olazabal said. "I know we are playing away. The crowds are going to be on their side. They set up the course to their liking. At the end of the day, you have to make a bunch of birdies out there to win points. So just send the best players out there and see if they can perform well, and manage to win those points."
The foursomes lineup would seem to favor Europe.
Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy, the best player in golf, will lead off Friday morning against Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker, who is coming off a sterling four weeks that led to his Tour Championship win five days ago and the FedEx Cup title.
"We wanted to get Brandt going," Love said.
In doing so, he became the third straight American captain to send out a Ryder Cup rookie in the leadoff match. Dustin Johnson was in the opening match at Wales, and Anthony Kim went out first at Valhalla. Both of them played with Phil Mickelson.
Mickelson is in the second game with Keegan Bradley, and they face the tough task of trying to be the first team to beat Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia, who are 4-0 in foursomes. Garcia has never lost in alternate shot. His record is 8-0-1.
It will be the first time since 1995 that the Americans did not have either Mickelson or Tiger Woods in the leadoff match. Woods is the anchor this time with Steve Stricker, with whom he has a 6-2 record in the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup.
Woods and Stricker will play Ian Poulter and Justin Rose.
In the third slot are Lee Westwood and Francesco Molinari against Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner, the third U.S. rookie who will be in the opening session.