Rory McIlroy partners Tommy Fleetwood and Ryder Cup rookie Ludvig Åberg has been paired with Viktor Hovland; Watch the opening day of the Ryder Cup live on Friday from 6am on Sky Sports Golf, ahead of first tee shot at 6.35am
By Ali Stafford in Rome
Last Updated: 28/09/23 3:49pm
Masters champion Jon Rahm will lead out Team Europe for the third consecutive Ryder Cup after being sent to partner Tyrrell Hatton in the Friday foursomes in Rome.
Rahm, who top-scored for Europe with 3.5 points in their record-breaking defeat to Team USA at Whistling Straits in 2021, will look to get Luke Donald’s side off to a winning start when they tee off at 7.35am (6.35am BST) at Marco Simone Golf Club.
The pair, who played together in the Friday fourballs two years ago, will take on world No 1 Scottie Scheffler and reigning WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play champion Sam Burns in the opening match of the session.
It’s the first time in 30 years that Europe have elected to start a home Ryder Cup with foursomes rather than fourballs, with Donald hoping the switch gives them the best chance of building an early lead as they look to regain the trophy.
Rising star Ludvig Åberg – who only turned professional this summer – has been immediately thrown into a Ryder Cup debut as he forms an all-Scandinavian partnership with FedExCup champion Viktor Hovland, with the pair taking on Open winner Brian Harman and fellow debutant Max Homa.
Ireland’s Shane Lowry goes out alongside debutant Sepp Straka, with the European pair facing two-time major champion and Team USA stalwart Rickie Fowler – making his fifth Ryder Cup appearance after failing to earn a spot two years ago.
Rory McIlroy begins his seventh consecutive Ryder Cup alongside a new playing partner in Tommy Fleetwood, who won four points during Europe’s last home victory at Le Golf National in 2018.
The strong European duo take on the formidable partnership of Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay, who have previously impressed together at Ryder Cups, Presidents Cups and at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
USA captain Zach Johnson has surprisingly left out Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth, who were 4-0 in last year’s Presidents Cups and have partnered each other in the past two Ryder Cups, with Brooks Koepka and US Open champion Wyndham Clark the other two not to feature.
Justin Rose and Matt Fitzpatrick are among the Team Europe players sitting out of the morning session but likely to feature in the fourballs, while rookies Nicolai Hojgaard and Robert MacIntyre will also have to wait to make their debuts.
Friday foursomes matches (all BST)
0635 Jon Rahm (Esp) and Tyrrell Hatton (Eng) vs Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns
0650 Viktor Hovland (Nor) and Ludvig Åberg (Swe) vs Brian Harman and Max Homa
0705 Shane Lowry (Irl) and Sepp Straka (Aut) vs Rickie Fowler and Collin Morikawa
0720 Rory McIlroy (NIrl) and Tommy Fleetwood (Eng) vs Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay
What happens next?
The fourballs action is then set to begin at 12.25pm (11.25am BST) on both days, although could be pushed back slightly, with 15 minutes between each match and the final game beginning at 1.10pm (12.10pm BST). All 24 players will then be involved in the Sunday singles, with the opening match starting at 11.35am in Italy (10.35am BST).
Who will win the 2023 Ryder Cup? Watch exclusively live this week on Sky Sports! Live coverage from opening day begins on Friday from 6am, ahead of the first tee time at 6.35am. Stream the Ryder Cup and more for £21 a month for six months with NOW.