Darren Clarke and Davis Love have ensured a power-packed start to the 41st Ryder Cup after revealing their heavyweight pairings for Friday's opening session at Hazeltine National, writes Simon Lewis.
Captain Clarke will give Europe's bid for a fourth victory in a row lift-off in the foursomes, alternate-shot format, at 1:35pm Irish time, by sending out Olympic gold medallist Justin Rose and Open champion Henrik Stenson against the United States pairing Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed, who made an impressive debut together at Gleneagles in 2014.
Match two will see FedEx Cup champion Rory McIlroy and rookie Andy Sullivan go up against Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler, followed by Sergio Garcia and Martin Kaymer against PGA champion Jimmy Walker and Zach Johnson.
The fourth and final match of the opening session pits 10-time Ryder Cupper Lee Westwood and rookie Thomas Pieters against world number two Dustin Johnson and Olympic bronze medallist Matt Kuchar.
The announcement came at the end of an opening ceremony that began with the introduction of Jack Nicklaus and Tony Jacklin, whose deciding match in the 1969 Ryder Cup was ended by Nicklaus conceding the Englishman's two-foot putt to halve not just their contest but the overall match.
The veterans also dedicated this weekend's matches to the late Arnold Palmer, “The King”, who died at the age of 87 last Sunday. There was also a video tribute to the life of the golfing legend followed by a moment's silence before both captains introduced their line-ups to a large crowd enjoying the Minnesota sunshine.
The United States is attempting to win the Ryder Cup for the first time since 2008, while Europe has never won four in a row.