Ryder Cup Release – 28 September 2018: The pairings for the morning fourballs on day one the Ryder Cup are out and we are in for some explosive matches at Le Golf National.
When those 16 men tee off from 08.10am, they will have a grandstand of over 6000 fans around them, tens of thousands more lining the fairways and the eyes of millions of golf fans watching from all around the world.
Here, we take a look at the four match-ups that will set the tone for three days of fantastic golf.
08.10 Jon Rahm/Justin Rose v Tony Finau/Brooks Koepka
Justin Rose knows a thing or two about being out in the very first group at the Ryder Cup as he did it in 2014 and 2016 alongside Henrik Stenson. In fact, Rose has gone out in the opening session of every Ryder Cup he has played since his debut in 2008.
After a defeat alongside Ian Poulter at Valhalla, the duo were victorious four years later at Medinah before he teamed up with Henrik Stenson for a win at Gleneagles but lost at Hazeltine.
The World Number Two will have Spaniard Rahm for company and they could dovetail beautifully, with the World Number Eight’s big-hitting style going alongside Rose’s punishing consistency.
America have a big-hitting, swashbuckling debutant of their own in Tony Finau, and he and reigning US Open and US PGA Champion Koepka will provide one of the most powerful duos we will see all week.
08.25 Rory McIlroy/Thorbjørn Olesen v Rickie Fowler/Dustin Johnson
Rory McIlroy has never missed a Ryder Cup session since making his debut in 2010 and the four-time Major Champion has won 1½ of his 11 points when going out on Friday morning.
Captain Thomas Bjørn revealed McIlroy and rookie Olesen wanted to play together and they got their wish, with the Dane likely to give his Northern Irish team-mate licence to take some risks off the tee.
World Number One Dustin Johnson provides similar driving power to McIlroy but has won only two of his six fourball matches, with two of those defeats coming to a pair containing McIlroy two years ago.
Fowler has never won a four-ball match in three attempts at the Ryder Cup but arrives with extra confidence in the biennial spectacular after claiming his first full points in his third appearance at Hazeltine.
08.40 Paul Casey/Tyrrell Hatton v Jordan Spieth/Justin Thomas
There is no Ryder Cup head-to-head in match three with all four men playing in the same contest for the very first time.
Casey is making his fourth Ryder Cup appearance but first since 2008, with just one point from his four fourballs appearances. His experience could be vital alongside fiery rookie Hatton, who will relish the big occasion going up against two former World Number Ones.
Thomas is just the third player in history to make his Ryder Cup debut after getting to World Number One and he plays alongside a formidable fourballs player in great friend Spieth.
Spieth has played all of his previous non-singles matches at the Ryder Cup alongside Patrick Reed, taking three points from four in fourballs and five from seven overall.
08.55 Francesco Molinari/Tommy Fleetwood v Patrick Reed/Tiger Woods
Molinari arrives at Le Golf National looking for a first full point in his third Ryder Cup but is in the form of his life after winning the Open Championship and BMW PGA Championship. He also knows a thing or two about facing Woods after taking him on in both his previous singles matches and playing alongside him in the final round at Carnoustie in July.
Alongside Molinari, Fleetwood could be part of one of Europe’s most consistent pairings, with the Race to Dubai champion’s laidback attitude making him a playing partner’s dream. He also has the advantage of having won around here last summer at the HNA Open de France.
If Fleetwood is ice then Reed is fire, with the man they call Captain America sure to get a lot of attention from the crowd as he plays a fourball without Spieth for the very first time.
The only man likely to get more attention is Woods, with the 14-time Major winner making his first appearance since 2012 off the back of a win at the US PGA Tour’s Tour Championship. He may also have a point to prove after taking just five points from 13 in fourballs and 9½ from 26 playing as a pair.