Ryder Cup: Philip Reid’s guide to Friday’s foursomes, tee-off times and verdicts

Rahm and Garcia lead off European challenge with McIlroy and Poulter in the last match

Shane Lowry  and  Rory McIlroy share a laugh on the  ninth green during final practice for the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits on Thursday. Photograph: Warren Little/Getty Images

Shane Lowry and Rory McIlroy share a laugh on the ninth green during final practice for the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits on Thursday. Photograph: Warren Little/Getty Images

 

(all times Irish)

1.05pm: Justin Thomas/Jordan Spieth v Jon Rahm/Sergio Garcia

The new Spanish Armada has been entrusted with leading the way, with world number one Jon Rahm teaming up with record points scorer Sergio Garcia. It promises to be a match to set the scene for the entire Ryder Cup with Justin Thomas – the standout American in 2018 – again pairing up with Jordan Spieth, with whom he won their opening foursomes in Paris.

Verdict: European win

1.21pm: Dustin Johnson/Collin Morikawa v Paul Casey/Viktor Hovland

It’s an indication of how highly Pádraig Harrington rates Viktor Hovland that he has thrown the Norwegian – on his debut – straight into action alongside the steadying influence of Paul Casey. This is a brand new American partnership with DJ and Claret Jug holder Collin Morikawa, who is making his debut.

Verdict: Halved match

1.37pm: Brooks Koepka/Daniel Berger v Lee Westwood/Matt Fitzpatrick

No surprise to see veteran Lee Westwood and Matt Fitzpatrick team up for this opening foursomes. Brooks Koepka has recovered from injury and teams up with his friend Daniel Berger for what could prove to be a strong partnership.

Verdict: USA

1.53pm: Patrick Cantlay/Xander Schauffele v Rory McIlroy/Ian Poulter

Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter hit the ground running in their foursomes in Paris (beating Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson) and renew their partnership for what looks like a really tough assignment. Patrick Cantlay is in the form of his young life having scooped the jackpot the FedEx Cup and has been noticeably impressive in practice rounds this week. Olympic gold medallist Xander Schauffele too has looked impressive. It’ll be a match, though, which the European pair will relish.

Verdict: Europe

USA players to sit out foursomes: Bryson DeChambeau, Harris English, Tony Finau and Scottie Scheffler

European players to sit out foursomes: Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton, Shane Lowry & Bernd Wiesberger

Friday fourballs tee-off times: 6.10pm; 6.26pm; 6.42pm; 6.58pm.

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