Ryder Cup: Friday's morning foursomes matches

2012 Ryder Cup

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11:25:31 PM ET. 10/24/2014




PosNameTodayThruScore
1Russell Henley-7F-9
T2Brendon de Jonge-6F-8
T2Brian Harman-3F-8
T2Andrew Svoboda-4F-8
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MEDINAH, Ill. - The Ryder Cup got under way with the celebrity-filled opening ceremonies. And we’re not talking about the golfers. Michael Phelps opened the affair, Justin Timberlake co-hosted and Jordin Sparks sang the national anthem. This event is about the golf, though, and so the highlight of the hour-long affair was the revealing of the pairings for the Ryder Cup's opening session.

European captain Jose Maria Olazabal put his power pairing out first, pitting U.S. Open champions Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy against an American team that features a rookie, Brandt Snedeker, paired with Jim Furyk, who has a career 3-5-2 record in the format.

Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley will play Europe’s Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia in the second match. Donald and Garcia are 4-0 as foursomes teammates. Mickelson has a career 2-5-4 record in the format.

The United States will have a rookie in its first three matches, as Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson wil take on two of Europe’s best ballstrikers, Lee Westwood and Francesco Molinari in the third match. Westwood has a career 7-2-4 foursomes record.

The final match will feature the U.S. pairing of Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods against Ian Poulter and Justin Rose. Stricker and Woods went 1-1 as a foursomes team in 2010. Poulter and Rose were 1-1 when they were paired in 2008.

• • •

Match No. 1: Jim Furyk-Brandt Snedeker vs. Rory McIlroy-Graeme McDowell

Jim Furyk

Age: 42

Foursomes (W-L-H): 3-5-2

The skinny: Furyk, one of Davis Love’s four captain’s selections, has been on every American team since 1997. His steady play is useful in foursomes, but it seems that Love would be wise to sit him for four-balls.

Brandt Snedeker

Age: 31

Years Played: First appearance

The skinny: Snedeker’s a rookie, but also one of the hottest players on the planet. These are going to be two tiring weeks for him, though. He’s coming off an $11-million victory. Now he’s playing in an event that doesn’t offer prize money, but is unrivaled in its emotions. He finished sixth or better in three FedEx Cup playoff events.

Graeme McDowell

Age: 33

Foursomes (W-L-H): 1-1-1

The skinny: The 2010 U.S. Open champion secured Europe’s winning point last time around. McIlroy and McDowell played three sessions together in 2010, going 1-1-1. Of course, that was before they both became U.S. Open champions.

Rory McIlroy

Age: 23

Foursomes (W-L-H): 1-1-0

The skinny: McIlroy is the European player since 1993 to arrive at the Ryder Cup as the world’s top-ranked player. He’s coming off his impressive FedEx Cup playoffs, where he shot 40 under par over two weeks to claim the Deutsche Bank Championship and BMW Championship. He was 10th at last week’s Tour Championship after a 4-over 74 in the final round.

• • •

Match No. 2: Phil Mickelson-Keegan Bradley vs. Luke Donald-Sergio Garcia

Phil Mickelson

Age: 42

Foursomes (W-L-H): 2-5-4

The skinny: Mickelson seems to have found something with this “claw” grip, posting two top-5 finishes in the FedEx Cup playoffs. And no one will like Medinah’s lack of rough more than Mickelson. Mickelson was 3-1-0 in last year’s Presidents Cup.

Keegan Bradley

Age: 26

Years Played: First appearance

The skinny: Bradley, No. 11 on the PGA Tour in total driving, is well-suited for Medinah’s big ballpark. He’s a rookie, but as he’s showed several times in his brief career, he handles the nerves well.

Luke Donald

Age: 34

Foursomes (W-L-H): 6-0-0

The skinny: The European is actually a local, having attended Northwestern and living in Chicago. He’s undefeated in foursomes, going 6-0-0. Garcia and Donald are 4-0 as a foursomes team, and both have good records at Medinah. Donald was T-3 in the 2006 PGA here.

Sergio Garcia

Foursomes (W-L-H): 8-0-1

The skinny: Medinah was site of Garcia’s introduction to the United States. He also finished third here in 2006, showing that he loves this place. He’s coming off his recent win at the Wyndham Championship and third-place finish at The Barclays. Garcia and Donald seem like an unbeatable team.

• • •

Match No. 3: Jason Dufner-Zach Johnson vs. Lee Westwood-Francesco Molinari

Jason Dufner

Age: 35

Years Played: First appearance

The skinny: Dufner, another American rookie, has the ballstriking skills to be a good foursomes partner. He’s fourth on Tour in both greens in regulation and total driving. Maybe the Ryder Cup’s electric atmosphere can even elicit some emotion from this flat-liner.

Zach Johnson

Age: 36

Foursomes (W-L-H): 1-2-1

The skinny: His 3-3-1 record is worth mentioning, considering he played on two losing teams, including the 2006 team that was routed at the K Club. Johnson seems like an ideal foursomes partner.

Francesco Molinari

Age: 30

Foursomes (W-L-H): 0-1-0

The skinny: He’s back at the Ryder Cup. His brother, Edoardo, is not. They went 0-1-1- together in 2010. Francesco, who’s known for his consistent ballstriking but struggles with the putter, had back-to-back runner-up finishes earlier this summer on the European Tour, but has just one top-10 in his past five starts there.

Lee Westwood

Age: 39

Foursomes (W-L-H): 7-2-4

The skinny: Westwood thrives in team play, going a combined 14-6-6 in the two team formats. Westwood hasn’t been his usual consistent self, though. He followed a runner-up finish at the BMW Championship with a last-place finish at the Tour Championship. Which Westwood will appear this week will be important to the Europeans.

• • •

Match No. 4: Steve Stricker-Tiger Woods vs. Ian Poulter-Justin Rose

Tiger Woods

Age: 36

Foursomes (W-L-H): 4-7-1

The skinny: Woods returns to a course where he’s undefeated as a professional. He was 3-1-0 at the 2010 Ryder Cup. Woods has won three times this season, but also has struggled on the weekend of the biggest tournaments, leading one to wonder how he’ll do at golf’s most pressure-packed week.

Steve Stricker

Age: 45

Foursomes (W-L-H): 1-1-0

The skinny: Stricker’s flatstick will be an important asset for Team USA this week. He was one of Davis Love’s captain’s picks for good reason: he’s a preferred partner of Tiger Woods. He was 22nd last week in the 30-man Tour Championship, closing with three consecutive 73s. Stricker, a University of Illinois alum, will be a fan favorite this week.

Ian Poulter

Age: 36

Foursomes (W-L-H): 2-1-0

The skinny: Like Colin Montgomerie and Sergio Garcia, Poulter is a player who rises to the occasion at the Ryder Cup. Just look at his 3-0-0 singles record. Poulter was a captain’s pick, but nearly played his way onto the team by finishing third at the PGA Championship. He failed to advance to the Tour Championship, finishing 12th in his last start, at the BMW Championship. Poulter, a former club pro, always plays with a chip on his shoulder. That’s a big asset this week.

Justin Rose

Age: 32

Foursomes (W-L-H): 1-1-0

The skinny: Hard to believe this is just Rose’s second Ryder Cup appearance. The Sean Foley student, the world’s fifth-ranked player, is coming off a runner-up at the Tour Championship. He also was third at the PGA Championship, and collected the biggest win of his career, at the WGC-Cadillac Championship, earlier this year.

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