Friday, September 28, 2012
McIlroy and McDowell to lead off for Europe
By Mark Lamport-Stokes
MEDINAH, Illinois (Reuters) - European Ryder Cup captain Jose Maria Olazabal will send out Rory McIlroy and fellow Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell first in Friday's opening foursomes in a bid to give the holders a fast start.
World number one McIlroy and McDowell, who clinched one-and-a-half points from a possible two at Celtic Manor two years ago, will face Americans Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker in the first match out at Medinah Country Club.
Olazabal also opted for strength and past form in his final match, pairing Englishmen Ian Poulter and Justin Rose together to take on the potent U.S. duo of Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker.
"They know each other very well and Europe will have to face a huge opponent," Olazabal said after the pairings were formally announced at the Ryder Cup opening ceremony on Thursday.
"They are ready for it."
Good friends Poulter and Rose dovetailed superbly at Valhalla four years ago where they clinched two-and-a-half points from a possible three and had been widely expected to be re-united.
In the second match out, Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley will take on Britain's Luke Donald and Spaniard Sergio Garcia with Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson next out against Britain's Lee Westwood and Italy's Francesco Molinari.
Europe have triumphed eight times in the last 13 Ryder Cups and regained the trophy with a nail-biting victory by 14-1/2 points to 13-1/2 two years ago.