Olazabal has first shout at Ryder Cup
25 Sep 2012 - 17:48:30
Europe captain Jose Maria Olazabal was the first to make a move when Ryder Cup practice got underway early Tuesday at Medinah Country Club outside Chicago.
All eyes were on who would form the three four-man groupings to go out and there were some familiar pairings put in harness to set tongues wagging.
Group one was an all-English affair with Ian Poulter and Justin Rose - close friends who have both stated their desire to play together - and Luke Donald and Lee Westwood - two players who have been at world No.1 recently and who know each other's game inside out.
In group two was the almost inevitable Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy, the Northern Irish duo who are seen as a virtual lock-in to start in Friday's opening foursomes.
Alongside them were the in-form pair of Paul Lawrie and Sergio Garcia.
The final grouping had the "continentals" of Martin Kaymer of Germany, Francesco Molinari of Italy, Peter Hanson of Sweden and Nicolas Colsaerts, who will become the first Belgian to play in the Ryder Cup.
Olazabal, and US counterpart Davis Love, have until Thursday afternoon before having to name their pairings for Friday morning, but McDowell for one said that the guessing game was not a difficult one.
"The established partnerships are fairly obvious: Myself and Rory, Poulter and Rose, Donald and Garcia, perhaps a Westwood and Lawrie," he said.
"You can pretty much predict our first eight players Friday morning. You don't need me to tell you that.
"Will we be that predictable? Who knows. But looking forward to seeing how the next three days sort of pan out in practice and how Jose kind of assembles us all."
Pairings for Europe and the United States in the opening practice session of the 29th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on Tuesday morning:-
Group 1 - Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, Luke Donald, Justin Rose
Group 2 - Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy, Paul Lawrie, Sergio Garcia
Group 3 - Martin Kaymer, Nicolas Coalsaerts, Francesco Molinari, Peter Hanson
Group 1- Bubba Watson, Phil Mickelson, Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson
Group 2 - Jason Dufner, Matt Kuchar, Dustin Johnson, Zach Johnson
Group 3 - Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk, Brandt Snedeker, Steve Stricker