Ryder Cup day one: Justin Rose and Jon Rahm to lead Europe out
Rory McIlroy will partner Thorbjorn Olesen while Tiger Woods and Patrick Reed join up
Jon Rahm and Justin Rose will join up for Europe in the opening fourballs at the Ryder Cup. Photo: Paul Childs/Reuters
Justin Rose was handed the task of leading Europe’s bid to win the Ryder Cup for the third contest in succession as Ian Poulter was left out of the opening session in Paris.
Rose, who won $10m on Sunday by claiming the FedEx Cup title in Atlanta, partnered Henrik Stenson in the first match at Gleneagles in 2014 and at Hazeltine two years ago.
But the Olympic champion was handed a new partner in Spain’s Jon Rahm for Friday’s opening fourballs match at Le Golf National as Europe look to regain the trophy and maintain an unbeaten record on home soil which stretches back to 1993.
Rose and Rahm will take on three-time major winner Brooks Koepka and wild card Tony Finau, with Rory McIlroy and Thorbjorn Olesen facing world number one Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler in match two.
McIlroy again takes on the role as the experienced campaigner after partnering Andy Sullivan in the opening session two years ago. This will be the four-time Major winner's fifth Ryder Cup and makes him the first man ever to play in the biennial event five times and win four Majors before the age of 30.
The all-English pairing of Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton then have the daunting task of taking on Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas, with Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari having an equally tough task against ‘Captain America’ Patrick Reed and a rejuvenated Tiger Woods.
Woods claimed the Tour Championship on Sunday for his first tournament win since August 2013 and his 80th PGA Tour title.
The 42-year-old languished as low as 1,199 in golf’s world rankings less than a
year ago following spinal fusion surgery, but completed a remarkable comeback at East Lake.
Woods has been on the winning side just once in seven previous appearances and has lost 17 of his 33 matches, but there was no place in the opening session for Europe’s Ryder Cup talisman Poulter, who has won 13 points from his 18 matches and was one of captain Thomas Bjorn’s four wild cards.
Bjorn expressed his pride at leading the team during the opening ceremony and although he did not specifically reference Brexit, the Dane appeared to make a pointed reference to the situation.
“This great continent can at times be a fragmented place, but when it comes to the Ryder Cup it’s different. When it comes to the Ryder Cup Europe stands as one,” Bjorn said.
“We will play with passion, we will play with commitment and we will play with pride, but more than anything else this week we will play for that flag.”
Ryder Cup Day One fourball pairings and tee times (Irish time):
7.10am: Brooks Koepka/Tony Finau v Justin Rose/Jon Rahm
7.25am: Dustin Johnson/Rickie Fowler v Rory McIlroy/Thorbjorn Olesen
7.40am: Jordan Spieth/Justin Thomas v Paul Casey/Tyrrell Hatton
7.55am: Patrick Reed/Tiger Woods v Francesco Molinari/Tommy Fleetwood