Sept. 25-Oct. 1, 2023 Marco Simone Golf & Country Club, Rome, Italy

Justin Rose and Jon Rahm will begin Europe's quest to regain the Ryder Cup on Friday morning when they take on Brooks Koepka and Tony Finau.

World Number Two Rose will be in the very first match for the third Ryder Cup in a row, while Rahm will make his debut against fellow rookie Finau and reigning US Open and US PGA Champion Koepka at 08.10 am.

Rory McIlroy and debutant Thorbjørn Olesen will take on World Number One Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler, with the English pair of Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton facing Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas.

Open Champion Francesco Molinari and Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood will then complete the morning matches against Masters Tournament champion Patrick Reed and 14-time Major winner Tiger Woods.

European Captain Thomas Bjørn has decided to blood four of his five rookies in the very first session, with Alex Noren and Captain's Picks Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and Henrik Stenson rested.

Englishman Rose won the opening match alongside Stenson in 2014 but the pair were defeated by Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed at Hazeltine two years ago.

Northern Ireland's McIlroy maintains his record of having played every session since making his Ryder Cup debut in 2010, taking 11 points from 19 matches.

World Number Eight Rahm may be making his debut but the Spaniard is a three-time European Tour winner in the last two seasons, while Dane Olesen has five victories including in a Rolex Series event at this season's Italian Open.

Casey made his third Ryder Cup appearance in 2008 but has not played in the biennial spectacular since and will provide experience to rookie Hatton, who is a three-time European Tour winner.

Italian Molinari has also won the BMW PGA Championship this season to go with his Claret Jug and he plays with a course specialist in Fleetwood, with the Englishman having won the HNA Open de France at Le Golf National in 2017.

“I ran into a bit of a positive problem to be honest”, said Bjørn. “Everybody was playing so well and itching to get out there and I just felt like these pairings were really sitting well with me from the beginning of the week.

“I feel like this is a good group to get out there, those three rookies in Thorbjørn, Tyrrell and Jon were all itching to go and they want to get out there and having the hanging about tomorrow to get out there I thought was not the best idea. We get them out there on the golf course and they're out there with some strong people.

“I believe in this Team, I believe in them one through 12, I believe that they have shown the strength throughout the season and they have been so good this week, they are so ready to go. 

“They just want to get on the golf course and it really has been a team effort this week, everything in that team room, on the golf course has been relaxed, everybody has been in a good mood, everybody is just wanting to get out and start these matches.

“We sat down yesterday, me and my five Vice Captains and we felt very comfortable and confident that this was a good route to go.”

For the Americans, Captain Jim Furyk has decided to split up the established pairing of Spieth and Reed, who have played seven out of a possible eight matches together since making their debuts in 2014, winning five points.

Spieth is paired with good friend Thomas, who this week becomes just the third player in history to make his Ryder Cup debut after getting to World Number One.

Captain's Pick Woods is making his first Ryder Cup appearance since 2012 after completing his remarkable comeback from injury, rising from 1,199 in the Official World Golf Ranking to a winner on the US PGA Tour in just ten months.

“Jim has a great Team, he runs into some of the same problems I have,” added Bjørn. “He has so many options and he can put so many people on the golf course and that makes your pairings difficult.

“You've got historic pairings sometimes and as a Captain that doesn't always necessarily sit with you.

“I can't really care too much about what Jim does because he has 12 great players and what he puts out there is going to be strong. I've got to focus on what I think is right for this Team.”

Friday morning fourballs

08.10 Jon Rahm/Justin Rose v Tony Finau/Brooks Koepka
08.25 Rory McIlroy/Thorbjørn Olesen v Rickie Fowler/Dustin Johnson
08.40 Paul Casey/Tyrrell Hatton v Jordan Spieth/Justin Thomas
08.55 Francesco Molinari/Tommy Fleetwood v Patrick Reed/Tiger Woods

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