Colin Montgomerie and Corey Pavin announced the pairings for the fourball matches that will kick off the Ryder Cup on Friday morning. Without further ado, here are the groupings, and who we see having the edge:
First match: Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson versus Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer: It is a big hitting group for the Americans, and one most expected would transpire after their practice rounds this week. It's interesting that Montgomerie went with Westwood so early on Friday, but it appears he's trying to get him out there and in the mix as soon as possible. You have to give the edge to the Europeans in this one on paper, as both seem to be more consistent than the duo of Lefty and Dustin.
Second match: Stewart Cink and Matt Kuchar versus Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy: The rather inexperienced American pairing will get the European's Monster Group, with the U.S. Open winner and youthful phenom pairing together as most expected. If you thought the Euros were the favorite in the early match, you have to believe they're big favorites in this one. Thing is, if Cink and Kuchar can find a lot of fairways and greens, they might have a shot here.
Third match: Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker versus Ian Poulter and Ross Fisher: The Monster Group for the Americans will be the third out, going against the European stalwart from Valhalla and Fisher. If Stricker and Woods can continue their magic from the Presidents Cup, you should expect to see them together for the rest of the week. Americans have to be heavy favorites here, and in any match, until they're knocked off.
Fourth match: Bubba Watson and Jeff Overton versus Luke Donald and Padraig Harrington: Hummm, interesting on both sides here. You have two rookies for the Americans that are probably the two with the biggest question marks, paired against the two European captain's picks that raised the biggest eyebrows. For now you'd have to give the edge to the Euros, based solely on experience, but the youthfulness of the Americans could maybe push them over the hump here.
All right, your thoughts on the opening matches ... wrong pairings, wrong groupings, or did the captains do a good job? I'm a little confused on why Hunter Mahan wasn't included in the early matches, but that seems to be the only obvious omission.