Tom Watson’s bold decision to blood all three of his Ryder Cup rookies in the opening fourball matches, with two thrown into the same pairing, could well blow up in the USA captain’s face during the first session on Friday.
Three of the opening quartet of fourball matches look hard to call, but it’s inexperienced debutants Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed’s match up against Stephen Gallacher and Ian Poulter which could swing the morning session in Europe’s favour.
21-year-old Spieth and Reed, 24, are two of American golf’s rising stars but this is a massive ask against a local hero and Mr Europe of recent Ryder Cups.
Gallacher maybe a fellow newbie, but a native Scot, he is sure to draw huge support from raucous home crowds at a course he knows extremely well, which could well get into the heads of the young US pairing.
In his last five starts at the Gleneagles-staged Johnnie Walker Classic, Gallacher has hit four top-10s, including second last year.
Meanwhile, Poulter needs no introduction to the Ruder Cup sphere as Europe’s most successful points scorer of the last three editions and the Englishman loves to intimidate in the team formats.
All of Friday pairings are shown below, with the undisputed headline act being Sergio Garcia and world number one Rory McIlroy’s match against Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson – the USA’s best pairing from Medinah two years ago.
Justin Rose & Henrik Stenson v Bubba Watson & Webb Simpson
Thomas Bjorn & Martin Kaymer v Rickie Fowler & Jimmy Walker
Stephen Gallacher & Ian Poulter v Jordan Spieth & Patrick Reed
Sergio Garcia & Rory McIlroy v Keegan Bradley & Phil Mickelson
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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