Pairings: Europe tweak, US surprise

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Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell have been split up for Thursday’s final rounds of Ryder Cup practice at Celtic Manor.

Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell have been split up for Thursday’s final rounds of Ryder Cup practice at Celtic Manor.
McIlroy is playing with Lee Westwood, Peter Hanson and Miguel Jimenez, while McDowell teed off – from the 11th hole at 10.15am – with Ian Poulter, Ross Fisher and Padraig Harrington.
Together for the third day running, however, were Italian World Cup-winning brothers Edoardo and Francesco Molinari. They played with Luke Donald and Martin Kaymer, who were also partners yesterday.
US Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin, meanwhile, has caused a surprise by splitting his players in to groups of three for the final official practice.
Traditionally the sides have gone out in three groups of four – a tactic used once again by the Europeans – with a view to seeing how players will go in potential fourball and foursomes pairings.
Pavin, however, sent out World No 1 Tiger Woods with Jim Furyk and Steve Striker – two players he is strongly tipped to partner this weekend – and teamed his World No 2 Phil Mickelson with rookies Dustin Johnson and 21-year-old Walker Cup star Rickie Fowler.
Bubba Watson is playing with Jeff Overton and Hunter Mahan and the final group sees Zach Johnson, Stewart Cink and Matt Kuchar grouped together.
Corey Pavin’s side were out off the first tee at 8.30am on a day of much better conditions following yesterday’s heavy rain.
More rain – and possibly some fog too – is in the forecast for the match, which begins with fourballs at 7.45am tomorrow.
Who plays whom in that will be revealed in this afternoon’s opening ceremony, starting at 4pm.
EUROPE
1000 Donald, Kaymer, Edoardo Molinari and Francesco Molinari
1015 Fisher, Harrington, McDowell, Poulter
1030 Hanson, Jimenez, McIlroy, Westwood
UNITED STATES
0830 Dustin Johnson, Mickelson, Fowler
0840 Watson, Overton, Mahan
0850 Woods, Furyk, Stricker
0900 Zach Johnson, Cink, Kuchar

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