Woods paired with Reed as Bjorn puts faith in rookies

Four European rookies will be in action in the opening session of the Ryder Cup, while Tiger Woods and Patrick Reed have been paired.

Tiger Woods at the 2018 Ryder Cup   -  Getty Images

Tiger Woods will team up with Patrick Reed in the opening session of the 2018 Ryder Cup, while four of Europe's rookies will feature in Friday's fourballs, which kick off with Justin Rose and Jon Rahm facing Brooks Koepka and Tony Finau.

Having claimed his first PGA Tour title in more than five years at last week's Tour Championship, a rejuvenated Woods is hoping to improve a dismal Ryder Cup record that has seen him finish on the winning side in only one of his seven playing appearances.

And, the 14-time major champion has initially been paired with Team USA's talisman in the last Ryder Cup, having partnered Reed on all three practice days this week. Woods and Reed will take on Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood in the final match of Friday morning.

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Prior to that, Rory McIlroy and Thorbjorn Olesen will face Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler, while the all-English pairing of Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton take on Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas.

Reed teamed up with Spieth to superb effect at Hazeltine two years ago, before beating McIlroy in an epic singles contest as the United States claimed victory.

Yet, USA captain Jim Furyk has opted to split up the Reed-Spieth pairing and the latter will join forces with good friend Thomas instead.

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European skipper Thomas Bjorn has left out Ian Poulter, Henrik Stenson and Sergio Garcia, with Casey the only one of his wildcard picks to feature in the first session.

Alex Noren also sits out for Europe, while Bryson DeChambeau, Phil Mickelson, Webb Simpson and Bubba Watson must wait to represent the USA.

While Rahm and Fleetwood were anticipated to feature for Europe, there will be some surprise at the selections of Hatton and Olesen, but Bjorn is clearly keen to ensure his rookies get involved early. The four players who sit out the morning appear highly likely to be involved in the afternoon foursomes.

Finau and Thomas are the two rookies initially called up by the USA, with DeChambeau waiting in the wings. Friday morning's pairings were revealed during an opening ceremony that was hosted by former France international footballer David Ginola and featured music from British band Kaiser Chiefs.

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Friday fourball pairings in full:

Justin Rose and Jon Rahm versus Brooks Koepka and Tony Finau

Rory McIlroy and Thorbjorn Olesen versus Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler

Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton versus Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas

Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood versus Tiger Woods and Patrick Reed

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