Snedeker to get early baptism in Ryder Cup
MEDINAH, ILL. (AP) - Davis Love III sent out his hottest player. Jose Maria Olazabal went with his strongest teams. The Ryder Cup captains had the same objectives Thursday when they announced their teams for the opening sessions at Medinah.
Win points, the sooner the better.
“We have to go for it,” Olazabal said. “I know we are playing away. The crowds are going to be on their side. They set up the course to their liking. At the end of the day, you have to make a bunch of birdies out there to win points. So just send the best players out there and see if they can perform well, and manage to win those points.”
The foursomes lineup would seem to favor Europe.
Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy, the best player in golf, will lead off Friday morning against Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker, who is coming off a sterling four weeks that led to his Tour Championship win five days ago and the FedEx Cup title.
In doing so, he became the third straight American captain to send out a Ryder Cup rookie in the leadoff match. Dustin Johnson was in the opening match at Wales, and Anthony Kim went out first at Valhalla. Both of them played with Phil Mickelson.
Mickelson is in the second game with Keegan Bradley, and they face the tough task of trying to be the first team to beat Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia, who are 4-0 in foursomes. Garcia has never lost in alternate shot. His record is 8-0-1.
“They are two very good players and it will be a tough match, but they are also two players that sometimes might not always hit it straight,” Garcia said. “But we are just going to focus on our own games and hopefully we can win the point for Europe.”
It will be the first time since 1995 that the Americans did not have either Mickelson or Tiger Woods in the leadoff match. Woods is the anchor this time with Steve Stricker, with whom he has a 6-2 record in the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup. Their last two outings, however, ended badly _ a 6-and-5 loss to Donald and Lee Westwood at Wales in 2010, and a record 7-and-6 loss to Adam Scott and K.J. Choi in the Presidents Cup last November.
Woods and Stricker will play Ian Poulter and Justin Rose. Poulter is 8-3 in the Ryder Cup, though two of those losses were to Woods in team matches. Both of those matches were fourballs, where Woods has a stronger record.
Woods and Rose share the same swing coach in Sean Foley.
“There are no easy games in the Ryder Cup, but from a crowd perspective, if we do manage to go out there and get a point, it could be one of those huge swing-and-momentum moments,” Rose said. “I think we go into this game with nothing to lose.”