Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy are first up for Europe in Friday morning's foursomes at the Ryder Cup
Last Updated: 28/09/12 11:12am
Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy will lead out for Europe on Friday morning
Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy will lead out Europe's defence of the Ryder Cup in the Friday morning foursomes, live on Sky Sports.
They will face Brandt Snedeker and Jim Furyk in the opening match at the Medinah Country Club in Chicago, teeing off at 13.20 BST.
European captain Jose Maria Olazabal will send out Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia - who are unbeaten in four appearances together in the Ryder Cup - as his second pairing; they face rookie Keegan Bradley and veteran Phil Mickelson.
Lee Westwood has been given Italian Francesco Molinari as his partner and they will tackle Zach Johnson and another debutant in Jason Dufner.
Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker are in the final pairing, taking on English duo Ian Poulter and Justin Rose.
Opening pairings announced
Olazabal said: "When I look at foursomes, I want to have players who are consistent and are steady from tee to green. There were no surprises from Davis Love, they are all strong pairings and some of those have played before.
"The way my players are playing is the most important thing. They believe we can win here even though the US have the crowd advantage and the experience of playing here. I will tell my players to remember it is a special event and will leave moments that are unique to this event and ones that will last a lifetime."
Olazabal also paid tribute to his former partner and Cup icon Seve Ballesteros, who died in May last year following a long battle with a brain tumour.
13.20: Furyk and Snedeker v Mcilroy and McDowell
13.35: Mickelson and Bradley v Garcia and Donald
13.50: Dufner and Z Johnson v Westwood and Molinari
14.05: Stricker and Woods v Poulter and Rose
"He was a special man," he said. "I believe Seve reflected the core of Ryder Cup values - no quitting and be prepared to chase any adversity. From him I learnt what true passion is all about. Seve, we miss you."
Woods and Stricker boast a 6-2 winning record together, but their last two games were the 6&5 drubbing by Westwood and Donald in Wales two years ago and then a 7&6 hammering by Adam Scott and KJ Choi at the start of last November's Presidents Cup.
"Strick and I are very comfortable together," said Woods. "We've had some pretty good success over the years and we both have been playing well.
"Our captain said that would be a good fit and he wanted us out there to anchor. We know each other's game and we practice a lot together at tournaments. We know what to expect from each other."
In Donald, Garcia and Westwood Europe can call on three players with outstanding foursomes records in the event.
Donald will be looking to make it a perfect seven out of seven. His first four wins in 2004 and 2006 came with Garcia as his partner and two years ago he won with Poulter and then with Westwood.
Garcia is unbeaten in nine foursomes, eight of them victories, while Westwood has not lost any of his last 10 games in the format going back to 1999.
The four left out by Olazabal, who cracked up during the opening ceremony at the first mention of the late Seve Ballesteros, were Scot Paul Lawrie, Germany's former world number one Martin Kaymer, Swede Peter Hanson and Belgian newcomer Nicolas Colsaerts.
The quartet kept waiting to play by Love were his two major winners this year - Masters champion Bubba Watson and US Open champion Webb Simpson - plus Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar.
Love is expected to give all his players a taste of the action on day one although it remains to be seen whether each of Olazabal's dozen will play.