The United States and Europe are battling it out for the 2021 Ryder Cup at the Whistling Straits Golf Course in Wisconsin.
Europe has won the Ryder Cup in nine of the last 12 meetings and is hoping to retain the trophy after their last success in Paris in 2018.
In the day’s first foursomes match, Europe’s new “Spanish Armada” — Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia — were taking on Americans Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas.
It is the first time the two Spanish golfers have played together.
In the second alternate-shot match, the Team United States pairing of Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa faces England’s Paul Casey and Norway’s Viktor Hovland — who is making his Ryder Cup debut.
The third match on Friday pits two Englishmen in Lee Westwood and Matt Fitzpatrick, against Americans Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger.
Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy and England’s Ian Poulter are taking on Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele in the fourth foursomes.
McIlroy and Poulter have won two and drawn one of the four Ryder Cup matches they have played together.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, fewer fans have been able to travel to Wisconsin to support Europe, and there were chants of “USA” from the thousands of American supporters in attendance.
The pairings for Friday afternoon’s four-ball matches are due to be released later.
The Ryder Cup: How does it work?
Every two years, twelve golfers from Europe and the United States go head to head in one of the world’s most fascinating and thrilling sporting events takes place.
This year’s tournament was due to be held in 2020 but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Twenty-eight matches will be played over three days, from Friday to Sunday, and each match is worth one point. If a match is tied after 18 holes, the points are halved and shared.
If one player or pairing wins a hole they go “1 up” and the player that loses the hole is “1 down”.
To win the Ryder Cup, you need 14.5 points. To retain it, Europe needs to score 14 points.
The first two days of the contest are made up of four matches of four-balls and four matches of foursomes. The final day is made up of 12 singles matches.
What are the different formats?
Unlike the majority of golf tournaments on the European Tour and PGA Tour, the Ryder Cup is a matchplay event rather than strokeplay.
The four-ball format consists of two players from each team playing their own golf ball against two players from the opposition team. The best score at the hole will win the hole.
But in foursomes, two players from each side team up but play the same golf ball, and hit alternative shots.
In singles matches on Sunday, all twelve players from each side will compete in a head-to-head match.