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McDowell, McIlroy surprised who they're playing against

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MEDINAH, Ill. – Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy didn’t expect to play the partnership the United States is pitting them against in the Ryder Cup’s opening match at 8:20 a.m. (ET) on Friday.

McDowell and McIlroy didn’t see Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker coming.

“They are not the opponents we were expecting,” McDowell said. “We know that their team is so strong all the way through, but it was a little surprise to see a rookie in their first group.”

Snedeker won the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup last week, but he will be in the lead-off spot Friday in his Ryder Cup debut. It's foursomes, the most difficult international team format.

“I was expecting Phil [Mickelson] and Keegan [Bradley] to go first, but obviously Davis [Love III] has his strategies,” McDowell said. “It will be a great match no matter who we are playing. Jim is a hell of a player, a seasoned campaigner, and Brandt is obviously on a hell of a high after last week and winning the FedEx Cup.”

Snedeker has been chomping at the bit to play all week, and Love wasn’t going to hold him back.

“We wanted to get Brandt going,” Love said. “Brandt likes to get out there and get after it. Brandt was a good one to lead off.”

McDowell and McIlroy combined to go 1-1-1 helping the Euros win in Wales two years ago.