Justin Rose and Ian Poulter, one of the European pairings for the opening foursomes(Getty Images)

Let battle commence at Valhalla

By Michael Gibbons- Europeantour.com

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The eight Europeans selected to go into the first wave of battle against the USA in Friday morning's foursome matches are ready cover the Valhalla Golf Club's leaderboards in European blue.

Padraig Harrington and Robert Karlsson will take on Phil Mickelson and Anthony Kim in The 2008 Ryder Cup's first match at 08:05 local time.

Harrington, the current Open and US PGA Championship holder, said: "It's a big match. I'm looking forward to it and it will certainly be exciting. The first tee shot hasn't been decided yet. Robert has been playing great all year and he is certainly somebody I looked to play with this year and he looked to play with me.

"We are comfortable with each other and we know each other's games. Obviously it's a very strong combination of Phil and Anthony Kim so we will have to bring our A games tomorrow. They have gone for their best team, their two best players, and we have to go out there and beat them."

Karlsson is arguably in the best form of all 24 men competing at Valhalla having lifted the Mercedes-Benz Championship title in Cologne last Sunday. He said: "It's great going out first. It is always good fun to get started on the first morning and I'm looking forward to it.

"It's a tough pairing we are facing, but playing with Padraig....it is great to be playing with a double Major winner from this year. He is a great player, great putter and I think we play pretty similar games. I think it will work out well."

Paul Casey and Henrik Stenson will take on Justin Leonard and Hunter Mahan at 08:20.

Casey said: "Henrik and I played some foursomes this morning and I think we will make a great partnership. We haven't played as a pair in foursomes before but I like his style of play and we both hit the ball a long way, very similar distances. We have discussed strategy and who is teeing off from which holes and I am very excited to tee off tomorrow.

"Justin Leonard and Hunter Mahan are both guys I know - I actually sat at the table at the welcome dinner with them the other evening and they are both guys that I get on very well with. From that respect it's a great match because we are all friends but when we get out there, well, you know."

Stenson said: "It's good to see my name up there among the first eight guys going out and I can just turn the attention to getting up for it and getting out there. I played with Paul today and we gelled well together and I think we will be a great team.

"I have played with Justin Leonard before. He has great Ryder Cup experience and is a great putter but I beat him in the game for third place in the match play in Arizona this year so I already have one up on him, hopefully I can make it two. I think I might have to remind him of that on the first tee!"

The English duo of Ian Poulter and Justin Rose will renew their Omega Mission Hills World Cup partnership against Chad Campbell and Stewart Cink at 08:35.

"I can't wait for tomorrow," said Poulter. "To be honest, aside from Justin and me, I like the way the whole side looks. We have known for a while that if we make the side we are probably going to be a pairing so it is going to be awesome and I just cannot wait for tomorrow morning to get here now.

"Just looking at my name on the list there, out first thing on Friday morning, I have to say that I am buzzing, it is great. I missed out the last time (2004) on the Friday morning and I really want to be a big factor in this side this time round."

Rose, making his Ryder Cup debut said: "Poults and I are very comfortable together and we are right in the mix there in the third match out. Stewart Cink and Chad Campbell are solid players -- I think Stewart Cink has become a real hardcore competitor for the American side and Chad Campbell is a great ball striker and won't make too many mistakes.

"Those are their strengths but I think that Ian and I have a great camaraderie together and will find a way to get it done. I have been waiting a long time for this and it's good because we know that it is those two guys that we are playing against. We don't have to think about the whole American team any more. It's us and them and we just have to go out there and beat them."

Last off, at 08:50, in the morning Foursomes will be one of Nick Faldo's most experienced partnerships in Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood, who will take on Jim Furyk and Kenny Perry.

Garcia and Westwood have partnered each other to four-and-a-half points out of a possible six in The Ryder Cup, having teamed up at The Belfry in 2002 and Oakland Hills in 2004

Garcia said: "Me and Westy again, that is great, fabulous. We get along beautifully and we have done well in the past in Ryder Cups so we are really looking forward to it. It will be a tough match obviously but we are feeling good and we can't wait to start and get a point for the Team."

Westwood said: "I don't think the Kentucky factor (for Kenny) will make that much difference. I am sure the crowds will be cheering for all the American players as you would expect them to.

Sergio and I have played well together in the past and taken in a few points for the European cause so we will be looking to do the same again tomorrow."