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Team Europe - the men in black
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Europe

Players react to opening match-ups

The Ryder Cup will get off to a box office start on Friday morning when Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson take on Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth in the opening foursomes.

Rose will hit the first tee-shot at 0735 as Europe go for a fourth win in a row, with two of the most dynamic pairings from Gleneagles two years ago going head to head.

Stenson and Rose claimed three points from three as a pair in Scotland with Reed and Spieth dropping just half a point in their three matches together, and the European duo admitted it was almost inevitable the four would be out in the first group.

"It doesn't come as any big surprise I guess," said Stenson. "We felt pretty happy two years ago to lead off and we are doing that. We are going to be up against pretty much the pairing we expected as well. It will be a fun match in the morning. It's a very strong pairing and we're going to have to play some good golf tomorrow to beat them for sure."

As the visiting team, Europe will tee-off first but Rose is not fazed by hitting what many would consider to be the most intimidating shot in golf.

"I think it's a moment to try and enjoy the best you can," he said. "It's clearly nerve-wracking and it's not a moment you can really prepare for. Just expect to be nervous, get it airborne and forward and then Henrik and I will build a great round from there."

Rory McIlroy and Andy Sullivan will go out in game number two against Rickie Fowler and Phil Mickelson, and the Northern Irishman admits he has had his eye on Sullivan as a partner for 18 months.

"I sort of earmarked him from the start as a potential Ryder Cup partner," he said. "I knew coming into this one there was going to be a few first-timers on the team and if there was anyone I wanted to try and take under my wing a little bit, it was him."

"It takes a lot of pressure off you knowing if you miss a fairway, he can always do something special," added Sullivan. "To have him by your side, it's awesome. That Darren's put the faith in me to send me out as well as in the morning and to have Rory on the side, it's awesome."

Ryder Cup veterans Sergio Garcia and Martin Kaymer are next up against Zach Johnson and Jimmy Walker. The duo are good friends and Kaymer is confident they will dovetail nicely when the pressure is on.

"I think what Sergio has done in his Ryder Cup appearances, you can see that there's a lot of will and a lot of belief and wanting that point really bad," he said. "I'm sure we will put everything we have into the first match tomorrow and that's all we can do.

"We will fight, as the Spanish people are known for, the Germans too. I think it's a good combo."

The final match of the morning sees two Captain's Picks going out together as Lee Westwood - playing in his tenth Ryder Cup - lines up alongside big-hitting rookie Thomas Pieters.

They will take on World Number Two Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar, with Pieters plotting an obvious route to victory.

"I hit it really long, he hits it close, I make it. Simple," he said. "I know Matt a little bit. Obviously Dustin has been playing great and he hits it very far. So it will be kind of a similar pairing, I think."

Westwood, meanwhile, was full of praise for his playing partner.

"He's very impressive. Best young player in Europe I would say at the moment," he said. "He hits it miles. I'm going to be going in with a few shorter clubs than I normally do, that's for sure and he has a great short game. Great putter."