Captains Reveal Possible Pairings Preview

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SUTTON COLDFIELD, England ' On a chilly, yet sunny morning in central England, the Europeans and Americans began their on-course preparations for the 34th Ryder Cup Matches.
 
This was the first time fans were awarded an insight to possible pairings when the matches officially start Friday at The Belfry.
 
I think you should play (in practice) with who I think you might play with in the matches, said U.S. Captain Curtis Strange. I just think practice rounds are very important.
 
European Captain Sam Torrance agreed.
 
A lot, a lot, said Torrance when asked how much one can read into the practice pairings. Obviously, Im trying to put pairings out there Ill use Friday and Saturday.
 
The Europeans went out first, at 9:00 AM local time, with Dane Thomas Bjorn paired with Northern Irishman Darren Clarke. They played in the same foursome with Scot Colin Montgomerie and Englands Lee Westwood.
 
In the second foursome, Swede Niclas Fasth and Irishman Padraig Harrington played alongside Swede Pierre Fulke and Welshman Phillip Price.
 
Sergio Garcia of Spain and Germanys Bernhard Langer went out with Irishman Paul McGinley and Swede Jesper Parnevik in the final grouping.
 
The Americans teed off around 9:45 AM, with Paul Azinger and Stewart Cink first out with Mark Calcavecchia and Tiger Woods.
 
David Duval and Davis Love III grouped with Phil Mickelson and David Toms, while Jim Furyk and Scott Hoch played with Hal Sutton and Scott Verplank.
 
Woods group grew a bit frustrated with the pace of play and skipped from the third hole to the eighth hole.
 
They all play fast; thats why I put them out first, Strange said. They went from 3 to 8, and theyre (went) back after the round to 3 and play 4, 5, 6 and 7.
 
Torrance met the American players at the ninth green and apologized for the delay.
 
Youve got to understand its the first practice day, Torrance said. I think the mistake was putting the two teams out directly behind each other; there should have been a half-hour gap.
 
The groups practiced playing four-ball on Tuesday. Wednesday, they will practice alternate shot.
 
'The best ball, the guys play a lot of practice rounds and little games here and there. But there's an agenda out there today,' Strange said.
 
'I personally think you probably need more of a practice round in foursomes - that we're going to do tomorrow, because we're not used to that.'
 
Of all the pairings, only Duval and Love have teamed together in an actual Ryder Cup match. They halved their Saturday four-ball match against Parnevik and Garcia in 1999.
 
Parnevik and Garcia played all four of their team matches together three years ago, winning three and halving one. Though they werent paired together Tuesday, they were in the same group.
 
A similar situation was seen in the first foursome. Clarke and Westwood played four times together in 99, going 2-2. This practice round they were split as a team, but in the same group.
 
There are four rookies on the European side, and three on the American. European Captain Sam Torrance put three of his first-timers ' Fasth, Fulke and Price ' in one foursome with Harrington, while Padraigs good friend and World Cup partner McGinley (also a rookie) was in a more established group.
 
U.S. Captain Strange spread out his first-timers, putting one in each foursome. Cink and Verplank were cast with veteran 40-somethings Azinger and Sutton, respectively. Toms played with 2001 PGA Championship rival Mickelson, who is competing in his fourth straight Ryder Cup.
 
As for the Woods, the worlds No. 1 had to feel comfortable with his pairing. He and Calcavecchia play practice rounds together consistently in PGA Tour events.
 
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