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Ryder Cup Matches to Watch Friday

Ryder Cup tees off in Medinah

By Sam Fels
|  Friday, Sep 28, 2012  |  Updated 8:09 AM CDT
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LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 24: Team Captain Jose Maria Olazabal poses with the Ryder Cup as the Europe team depart for the Ryder Cup from Heathrow Airport on September 24, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

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Well, the course has been altered for the last time. The practice rounds are all in. The computations have been finished and all that. Aside from a "Win One For The Gipper" speech from each captain, the only thing left to do is to get out there and hit the little white thing down the big green expanse.

And the Europeans are sending out their biggest gun out first. Rory McIlroy will team up with Graeme McDowell in the first foursome match against Jim Furyk and Brendt Snedeker. McIlroy and McDowell teamed up in all three of the team matches that Rory appeared in last time in 2010, and they went 1-1-1. Snedeker is a Ryder Cup rookie, so his pairing with the vastly experienced Furyk makes sense. One imagines Snedeker's pulse is going to need slowing at various points tomorrow morning.

Sergio Garcia and Luke Donald go next, and they've never lost or tied when they've been paired together. They'll face Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley. Bradley is another Ryder rookie, and while Mickelson on paper is the veteran, he would need to show the way. Big Phil's game can go off the tracks in a hurry and put a lot of pressure on someone who's never faced this before. Watch this one closely.

The third match sees Lee Westwood partnering Francesco Molinari against Zach Johnson and yet another Yank rookie in Jason Duffner. Westwood has been a monster in this, so they'll have their hands full here.

The pick of the matches is the last one with Tiger Woods getting his usual partner in Steve Stricker to face Ian Poulter and Justin Rose. For years American captains found it a challenge to get someone Woods could play with. But Stricker has taken that the past few years in this and the President's Cup. Woods seems to respond to Stricker's steady game and nature. Poulter especially loves to play the villain and doesn't mind admitting to taking joy in beating Woods. Should be some fireworks here.

Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar and Webb Simpson will sit the morning out for the American side. Paul Lawrie, Peter Hanson, Nicolas Colsaerts and Martin Kaymer will do so for the European side.

The afternoon four-ball matches will be announced as soon as the morning concludes.

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