Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 26th 2014 Contents A52
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, September 26, 2014
GLENEAGLES---Phil Mickelson poked fun at Rory
McIlroy. Now they get to face off in the Ryder Cup.
Mickelson and Keegan Bradley, undefeated as a
team two years ago at Medinah, face the European
powerhouse of McIlroy and Sergio Garcia in the
opening session of fourballs today at Gleneagles.
"We re looking to hand them their first defeat
tomorrow morning," McIlroy said.
They will be the anchor match of what should be
a fascinating opening session.
US captain Tom Watson made sure all three of
his rookies were on the course at Gleneagles right
away, and two of them are partners---21-year-old
Jordan Spieth and 24-year-old Patrick Reed, the
youngest pairing in Ryder Cup history.
Europe captain Paul McGinley put together four
pairings who have never played together in a Ryder
Cup. That includes McIlroy and Garcia, who he said
have become fast friends over the summer and asked
to play together.
"The fun is only starting now," McGinley said.
Mickelson took a playful jab at McIlroy on Wednes-
day when he said the best part of American unity
is the players don t "litigate against each other."
McIlroy has a court battle against his former man-
agement company, and the lawsuit involves Graeme
McIlroy told Golf Channel on Thursday that he
"got a couple of jabs back" at the gala dinner on
"I know Phil well and we had a couple of laughs
about it," McIlroy said.
Mickelson and Bradley went 2-1-1 as partners in
the Presidents Cup last year, so they are not unbeat-
able. And while they faced some of Europe s strongest
tandems at Medinah---including handing Garcia and
Luke Donald their first loss in foursomes---this might
be the toughest yet.
Watson went with his strength at the top. He
chose Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson in the
opening match against Justin Rose and Henrik Sten-
son. Watson and Simpson won both fourballs matches
at Medinah, beating both opponents on the 14th
Rickie Fowler and Jimmy Walker will play the sec-
ond match against Martin Kaymer and Thomas
Bjorn, the 43-year-old Dane who is playing in the
Ryder Cup for the first time since 2002.
Spieth and Reed will face Ian Poulter and Stephen
Gallacher in what might be the most compelling
match of the morning.
Poulter is the most dynamic Ryder Cup player for
Europe, a winner of seven straight matches and
coming off a 4-0 record at Medinah. His rookie
partner makes the team even more daunting. Gal-
lacher, the only Scottish player at Gleneagles, lives
about 35 miles (55 kilometres) away. He received the
loudest cheer during the opening ceremony.
"Absolutely buzzing," Poulter said. "Playing with
Stevie G, home course, in Scotland, first Ryder Cup.
It s going to be amazing. I can t wait to smash it
down the middle."
Spieth and Reed sounded up for the challenge.
"I don t think you could have picked out two
people that we want to play against more," Spieth
said. "I feel like our job is to win a point. We can
do that with those two guys. We re going to really
lower their team morale, I feel like."
McGinley sat out two of his rookies---Victor
Dubuisson of France and Jamie Donaldson of Wales.
Also sitting out are Lee Westwood, who has been
in every Ryder Cup since 1997, and McDowell.
Watson is sitting out Jim Furyk and Matt Kuchar,
who are Nos. 4 and 9 in the world. Furyk, however,
is 1W-8L-1D in fourballs, with his only victory in
2006 with Tiger Woods as his partner. Also sitting
are Hunter Mahan and Zach Johnson, both extremely
accurate and perhaps better suited for foursomes in
Mickelson, McIlroy to
square off in Ryder Cup
Both captains said their plan was for all 12 players
to be on the course by the end of Friday.
The Americans have not trailed after the opening
session since 2006, though Bubba Watson was not
sure a lead was critical --- not after what happened
at Medinah two years ago when Europe staged the
greatest comeback away from home.
"We saw in 2012 that obviously a hot start is not
the key," the Masters champ said. "It s about fin-
US team captain Tom Watson and Phil Mickelson, left, stand on the 11th tee box
during a practice round ahead of the Ryder Cup golf tournament at Gleneagles,
Scotland, yesterday. AP PHOTO
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