8:20 a.m.: Rory McIlroy/Graeme McDowell vs. Jim Furyk/Brandt Snedeker
Europe throws its A team into the first match. Can Snedeker stay on his roll from Atlanta?
8:35: Luke Donald/Sergio Garcia vs. Phil Mickelson/Keegan Bradley
Europeans favored based on their 4-0 record together in Ryder Cup foursomes.
8:50: Lee Westwood/Francesco Molinari vs. Jason Dufner/Zach Johnson
If Europes Westwood plays like he did last week, could be a victory for the U.S. team.
9:05: Justin Rose/Ian Poulter vs. Tiger Woods/Steve Stricker
Heavyweight match. Captain Love is counting on the old Woods/Stricker match to be there.
• Entertainer Justin Timberlake recited a poem about golf during the opening ceremony Thursday afternoon. Thats not something you see at every golf event. As for the opening ceremony, the speeches by captains Davis Love III and Jose Maria Olazabal were the highlights.
• Count on seeing pairings of Webb Simpson/Bubba Watson and Matt Kuchar/Dustin Johnson for the U.S. team in the afternoon four-ball session. That likely means the Mickelson/Bradley and Furyk/Snedeker pairings sit.
Love said he spent almost no time trying to guess what the European pairings would look like for the opening session. With the help of his assistant captains, Love said he set his Friday morning lineup early and sealed the envelope. There was some discussion at lunch time Thursday about altering the lineup but no changes were made.
• Love invoked former North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith in discussing how he is approaching the lineup for his team in each session during the weekend.
We have a plan and were going to stick with it, Love said. Dean Smith ran his offense and ran it and ran it until the game was over. We have a plan and were going to play until we run out of holes. Everybody around me seems to think we have a pretty good plan.
THEY SAID IT
• Its the United States flag. The military that wears our flag everywhere they go, they give us freedom to play golf, to play the Ryder Cup. I havent been in the military yet. Unless theres a draft, Im not going to be in the military. So for me, its the one chance I get to represent our country and hopefully represent our country well. Bubba Watson on showing his emotion this week
• I havent really mentioned it to him but every time I look at his eyes, I think he gets the message. European captain Jose Maria Olazabal when asked if hes told Rory McIlroy how important he is to the European team.
• On our team, Id be the best player. Matt Kuchar on the table tennis battles in the U.S. team room.
• Well, its a different type of golf, isnt it, than last week And its the Ryder Cup. If you cant get up for this one, youre going to struggle for anything. Lee Westwood on putting his last-place finish at the Tour Championship last weekend behind him.
It looks like a beautiful fall weekend in Chicago with Fridays high temperature to be in the upper 60s under mostly sunny skies with relatively light winds. Saturday and Sunday are forecast to have similar conditions with temperatures in the low 70s Saturday.
Ron Green Jr.