Newport, Wales U.S. captain Corey Pavin called on one of his strongest tandems to lead off his team’s defense of the Ryder Cup.
Tiger Woods? He’ll be going third.
Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson, famous for the big-money games they play during practice rounds, will be the opening fourballs match today at Celtic Manor as the United States tries to win the Ryder Cup away from home for the first time since 1993.
They will face Europe’s best player, Lee Westwood, and its latest major champion, Martin Kaymer.
Woods, who has gone nearly 10 months without a victory, will be partnered with Steve Stricker in the third of four matches. They will face Ian Poulter and Ross Fisher, one of six rookies on the European side.
It’s the first time since 1999 that Woods was not in the opening match of the Ryder Cup.
European captain Colin Montgomerie was expecting Woods and Stricker in either the opening match or as the anchor.
“Tiger being hidden is a different move,” he said.
Pavin did not go into details on the nature of his pairings or the order, saying he cared only about the American team and not what Montgomerie might do.
Woods and Stricker was a natural partnership. A year ago at the Presidents Cup, they became the first team in 30 years to go 4-0 in cup competition and the first ever at the Presidents Cup.