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Ryder Cup 2010: Teams ready to tee-off at Celtic Manor


38th Ryder Cup
Venue: Celtic Manor, Newport Date: 1-3 October Starts: 0745 BST on Friday Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live & online, live text commentary online & daily highlights on BBC TWO. Live on Sky Sports 1

Colin Montgomerie

Pavin gaffe leaves us one-up jokes Monty

By Rob Hodgetts
BBC Sport at Celtic Manor

England's Lee Westwood and Germany's Martin Kaymer will lead out Europe against the United States' Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson in the opening match of the 38th Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor.

Westwood, the world number three, has recovered from a calf injury and will partner the USPGA champion in the first fourball at 0745 BST on Friday.

Northern Irish duo Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell will play Stewart Cink and Matt Kuchar, while England's Ian Poulter and Ross Fisher will take on Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker.

In the final group, European captain Colin Montgomerie has paired Padraig Harrington and Luke Donald against US rookies Bubba Watson and Jeff Overton.

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World number three Westwood said he was happy to go out first along with partner Kaymer, who won the USPGA.

"I hope we put on a show for them and I would just say to the fans to get behind us because they are our 13th man," said the 37-year-old Worksop player.

"We are both playing well and we are looking forward to being first out and leading the team off. You've got to hit the ball sooner or later so you might as well hit it first."

Montgomerie had no doubts about giving Westwood and Kaymer the honour to hit the first balls for Europe.

US Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin

Pavin seeks 'aggressive' US opening

"I feel that the honour should be given to Lee to hit the first shot tomorrow morning for Europe," said the Scottish captain.

"I've been in the first group a few times and it is daunting, there's no question, and it's not for everybody.

"I think in Lee asking for that position gave me no option but to give him that honour. And with Martin behind him, a great team, my strongest world-ranked team, and as I say, they have a very tough job in Mickelson and Johnson."

The US pairing will hit the first shots on Friday of what is a three-day competition.

Meanwhile, Poulter said he was looking forward to playing world number one Woods, who beat him in his first-ever Ryder Cup match, and Stricker.

"If ever there was a match you are going to want to play it is their best two players," said Poulter, playing in his third tournament.

"It's going to be a hell of a match. I can't wait. This crowd is going to be electric. The roar on that first tee will be sensational. I can't wait to hear it and I can't wait to get pumped for it. I can't wait to give them some feedback."

You've got to hit the ball sooner or later so you might as well hit it first

Europe player Lee Westwood

The US, captained in this edition of the biennial match by Corey Pavin, are defending champions after winning 16.5-11.5 in Valhalla, Kentucky, in 2008.

As a result, Europe need 14.5 points to win the Cup and the USA need 14 to retain it.

"This is without question the proudest moment of my golfing career," said Montgomerie, 47, during a lavish opening ceremony in front if the Twenty Ten clubhouse at Celtic Manor.

"As an eight-time Ryder Cup player myself I can you tell there is nothing to compare with standing on the first tee with you, the fans, and an atmosphere that is truly indescribable.

"Now to the 12 men on this stage that I'm so proud to stand in front of as their captain, who will play the game with heart, passion and purpose. You earned your places with heart and dedication to the game. Your names will be written down into the rich history of the Ryder Cup forever.

He added: "To you, Corey, I wish you well and may the best team win. The true winner of the Ryder Cup will always be the game of golf."

Harrington reveals mentor role

Pavin, who played in the Ryder Cup in 1991, 1993 and 1995, is aiming to break a United States losing streak in Europe that goes back to 1993.

"It has been a pleasure to work with Colin for the past year and a half," stated the 50-year-old. "I wish you the best of luck. You have a solid team and we expect the best from them.

He added: "I would like to turn my attention to Team USA. It has been a true pleasure to get to know all of you better and to share an experience that you will remember for the rest of your lives.

"You are all individuals that bring your immense talent and unique personalities to this team. I know each and every one of you will do your best to serve USA and compete hard for the Ryder Cup. I am very proud of each one of you."

Two years ago world number one Woods was missing after undergoing knee surgery as the Paul Azinger-led American side beat Nick Faldo's Europe for the first time since 1999 and only the second time in the last seven matches.

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Rob Hodgetts at Celtic Manor

This year, Woods was forced to rely on a wildcard for the first time after missing out in the qualification race following five months off and a slump in form after a sex scandal and subsequent divorce.

"It's great to be a part of it," said the 34-year-old. "I tried to make the team on points, that didn't occur and I was lucky enough to get a pick.

"I'm looking forward to getting out there and contributing and hopefully we can get this thing done."

Friday's opening fourballs, where each player hits his own ball and the best score from each team counts, will follow at 15-minute intervals.

Monty reveals Seve's Ryder rallying call

Friday's afternoon foursomes - the alternate-shot format - will begin about 1315 BST.

Saturday will follow the same pattern before all 12 players go head-to-head in singles matches at 12-minute intervals from 1135 BST on Sunday.

Organisers are expecting up to 45,000 fans a day to visit the course on the banks of the River Usk near Newport.

The forecast, however, is for rain and strong winds on Friday with showers possible for the rest of the weekend and there is a concern that the matches may suffer delays and run into Monday.

Wales' First Minister Carwyn Jones said: "Wales welcomes this, the 38th Ryder Cup, and we're profoundly conscious of being host nation for this great competition.

"The next three days marks the culmination of nearly a decade of hard work since we won the bid in 2001.

"Can I simply wish both teams the best of luck."



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see also
Ryder Cup latest scores
30 Sep 10 |  Golf
Westwood wants to lead from front
30 Sep 10 |  Golf
Ryder Cup 2010: Thursday photos
30 Sep 10 |  Golf
Ballesteros inspires Europe team
29 Sep 10 |  Golf
McIlroy 'may face Woods backlash'
29 Sep 10 |  Golf
McIlroy stands by Woods comments
29 Sep 10 |  Golf
Harrington 'best' in Cup practice
28 Sep 10 |  Golf
Fans will respect us, says Pavin
28 Sep 10 |  Golf
Ryder Cup A-Z
28 Sep 10 |  Golf


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