They've been itching to go - Bjorn backs rookies to reward his faith

After selecting four of his five rookies for Friday's morning session at the Ryder Cup, Thomas Bjorn spoke of his faith in his 12-man team.

European captain Thomas Bjorn.   -  Getty Images

Thomas Bjorn suggested his own experience as a Ryder Cup rookie was a significant factor in his decision to select four first-timers for Friday's fourball matches at Le Golf National, as he outlined his belief in the less-heralded members of Europe's team.

While Jon Rahm and Tommy Fleetwood were anticipated to feature in the opening session, there will have been some surprise when Bjorn revealed Thorbjorn Olesen and Tyrrell Hatton would also be involved, meaning there will be a European rookie in each morning contest.

Veteran wildcard picks Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia and Henrik Stenson have all been kept waiting for their first taste of action, but Bjorn is confident his line-up can deliver.

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"When I played in my first [Ryder Cup] match in 1997, I didn't play until Saturday, and it was really, really difficult," said Bjorn in a news conference following the opening ceremony at which the pairings were announced.

"It wasn't something where I got upset or disappointed, but as you reflect on it afterwards, you work so hard for so long to get in the team and you want to be out on that golf course. When you look at this group of guys that's come into this team, they are really hard competitors and I believe in them so much."

"And I wanted to give them that responsibility of standing up and going out there and enjoying it. I think there's the obvious guys out there, people that you would all expect to be there, and then there's a new guy in every group. They have been just itching to go. I just believe very much in this team."

Rahm will partner Justin Rose in the opening match, while Hatton is with fellow Englishman Paul Casey, and Fleetwood will join forces with Open champion Francesco Molinari against the high-profile American pairing of Tiger Woods and Patrick Reed.

Olesen, meanwhile, will team up with Rory McIlroy after the pair convinced Bjorn of their compatibility.

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"They were both really keen on it, and once they were keen on it, I started looking at it. If you want to play with each other and you look forward to getting out on that golf course together, then you are off to a good start," said Europe's captain.

Clearly full of excitement on the eve of the event, Bjorn had inspiring words for his team as it seeks to regain the trophy it lost at Hazeltine two years ago.

"This is an opportunity to stand up and follow in the footsteps of all the great players of this continent. Legends are made in this event," he stated.

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