Rahm, Garcia to lead Euro Ryder Cup charge

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

World No.1 Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia were chosen to spearhead Europe's Ryder Cup defence with captain Padraig Harrington sending out the Spanish duo in the opening foursomes to face Americans Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth.

In a clear indication Europe will try to grab the early momentum in the 43rd Cup, Harrington turned to two of his big guns in US Open champion Rahm and Garcia, the record Ryder Cup points scorer, to play world No.6 Thomas and a resurgent Spieth, who is once again showing the form that won him three major titles.

The second match on Friday pits the US partnership of former world No.1 Dustin Johnson and British Open champion Collin Morikawa against Briton Paul Casey and Norwegian Ryder Cup debutant Viktor Hovland.

The British pairing of Lee Westwood, playing in a record- equalling 11th Ryder Cup, and Matt Fitzpatrick will take on big-hitting American Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger.

The last match of the first session could be the most explosive with the fiery pairing of Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy and the "Postman" Ian Poulter taking on Olympic gold medallist Xander Schauffele and the in-form Patrick Cantlay, coming off his win at the Tour championship.

As usual, when the Ryder Cup gets underway on Friday the United States team members will be playing for their country and the Europeans will be playing for respect.

There may be different motivations but there is a singular goal, lifting the little gold trophy on Sunday in a fading Wisconsin sunset.

Whatever the inspiration, the Europeans have found more of it.

Held every two years (the 43rd edition was delayed a year by COVID-19), Europe have dominated the competition by winning nine of the last 12 events which alternate between US and European venues.

In almost every recent Ryder Cup the US have come in as heavy favourites, as they do this year with eight of their 12 players in the top 10 of the world rankings, but have failed to live up to their billing.

The one thread connecting the decades of European domination is the unified effort and passion they apply to competition, which US teams have never been able to consistently match.

For European captain Padraig Harrington that spirit flows from one source, Spaniard Seve Ballesteros, whose fiery commitment to the Ryder Cup instilled the passion that still burns within each European team member.

"Pretty straightforward. Seve. Started with Seve in the '80s," said Harrington. "He pushed for this to become continental rather than Great Britain and Ireland and it was a way for Seve to legitimise The European Tour.

"It was a way to give the European Tour a standing," he added.

The US motivation has been more calculated.

"There's two teams playing and there's going to be a winner an there's going to be a loser," said Brooks Koepka. "It just comes down to who plays better, and I think it's as simple as that.

"I think sometimes people look into it a little too much.

"It's just you play good that week and you get a bunch of guys that play better than the other guys and you're going to have a winner."

Pairings for Friday morning's foursomes:

Match 1: Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth (US) v Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia (Europe)

Match 2: Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa (US) v Paul Casey and Viktor Hovland (Europe)

Match 3: Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger (US) v Lee Westwood and Matt Fitzpatrick (Europe)

Match 4: Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele (US) v Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter (Europe)

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting