THE MORNING FOURSOMES at the Ryder Cup will begin with a heavyweight clash today when Europe’s Rory McIlroy and Thomas Pieters go up against Rickie Fowler and Phil Mickelson of the United States.
FedEx Cup champion McIlroy and rookie Pieters defeated US Open winner Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar in style to win their fourball on Friday afternoon 3 and 2, reducing the United States’ lead to 5-3 after day one at Hazeltine.
Earlier, Mickelson and Fowler had played a key role in the USA’s fast start, coming from two down with four to play to defeat McIlroy and Andy Sullivan 1up, as Davis Love III’s team earned a commanding 4-0 lead after the foursomes.
Another of Europe’s key men, Open champion Henrik Stenson, will partner Matt Fitzpatrick, as the youngest player on either team makes his debut in the second match on Saturday morning.
The pair will tackle Brandt Snedeker and Brooks Koepka, who won the USA’s only point on Friday afternoon, beating Danny Willet and Martin Kaymer 5 and 4.
The third match will see Olympic gold medallist Justin Rose partner his fellow Englishman Chris Wood in what will be the latter’s debut, against Jimmy Walker and Zach Johnson.
Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed, having tasted defeat together in the Ryder Cup for the first time on Friday, go up against the all-Spanish duo of veteran Sergio Garcia and newcomer Rafael Cabrera Bello.
The two compatriots overcame JB Holmes and Ryan Moore 3 and 2 on Friday afternoon, while Spieth and Reed were beaten by Darren Clarke’s powerhouse pairing of Rose and Stenson.