2023 Ryder Cup schedule: US and European teams set matches, pairings and tee times for Day 1 on Friday

The 2023 Ryder Cup is almost getting underway, and with just about 12 hours before play begins, the first day’s pairings and tee times officially (and finally) end. The highlight was that Zach Johnson mixed things up a bit on the USA team, while Luke Donald went with some heavyweight pairings on the European side.

The surprise of the opening foursome session — which begins at 1:35 a.m. ET on Friday — is that the duo of Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas will not be playing for a long time. The US Super Team of previous Ryder Cups will sit out early as their teammates try to pick up some points at the start of the 44th Ryder Cup.

On the European side, almost every major figure plays; Europe throws everything it has at the Americans in the opening session. Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton will lead things off while Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood close out the session. And somehow, between these two groups, we also get a dream duo between Viktor Hovland and Ludwig Aberg that is truly terrifying.

Here’s a look at the four-way clashes in the first session on Friday morning. Stay tuned for more takeaways from each match.

All times Eastern

2023 Ryder Cup Schedule

Day 1–Quartets

Match 1 (1:35 AM)

Scotty Scheffler and Sam Burns

Jon Rahm and Tyrell Hutton

Match 2 (1:50 AM)

Max Homa and Brian Harman

Viktor Hovland and Ludwig Aberg

Match 3 (2:05 AM)

Rickie Fowler and Colin Morikawa

Seb Straka and Shane Lowry

Match 4 (2:20 AM)

Patrick Cantlay and Xander Scheufele

Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood

Match 1 – Scheffler and Burns vs. Rahm and Hatton: These Americans were expected to play together given that they did so much in last year’s Presidents Cup, though mostly unsuccessfully, including the quartet’s 0-2 record. However, Schaeffler remains the No. 1 player in the world and finished the last Ryder Cup the same way he hoped. Begins And this: with Ram prevailing. The pairing of the volatile Rahm and the more volatile Hatton together is a treat for those watching but also not without precedent. The pair played together at Whistling Straits, cutting a four-ball match in half on Friday afternoon. Rahm is a huge foil for Schaeffler and the guy you want leading the way on Friday morning as Marco Simone starts to swing. Prediction: Europe

Match 2 – Homa and Harman vs. Hovland and Aberg: The American pairing is not shocking but it is a bit surprising. However, it can work. Harman’s short game is magical, and both players are incredibly consistent from tee to green. It is not hard to see them reaching a risk-free round, but the question is whether that will be enough against the European nuclear duo. The Scandinavian couple is considered the most interesting and fun of the foursome. It would be difficult to overstate how good they are off the field – two of the top four drivers in the world over the past six months – which will be beneficial for Marco Simone. For me, this matchup is the most interesting of the first day because almost anything can happen. Prediction: USA (upset)

Match 3 – Fowler and Morikawa vs. Straka and Lowry: These are surprising pairings for each side. Fowler & Morikawa have fairly similar games in that they are both massive iron players who don’t get a lot of hits off the tee. For some reason, I didn’t expect this duo to show up, even though they played together on Tuesday and Thursday in the practice rounds. However, they also represent the only candidate on the US side because of who they are facing. Most believe Justin Rose and Matt Fitzpatrick are set up for a foursome pairing, and it makes sense on paper. However, Straka was also thought to play a foursome role, and Lowry seemed like a natural fit. Not sure what to expect. Straka is boom or bust but comfortable to format. Lowry’s game has dipped a bit this year but has been playing better lately. He has played just four balls in Whistling Straits, so this will be his first foray into the format. Both men use their irons, and this is probably the best quartet of iron players on the entire board. Forecast: United States (close)

Match Four: Cantlay and Schauffele vs. McIlroy and Fleetwood: It was not surprising that Cantlay and Chavelle settled matters in favor of the Americans. They won both foursomes at Whistling Straits and were an absolute lock to play this first session. Their story is a high floor but a (relatively) low ceiling, which couldn’t be more ideal for foursomes where you need par after par with some spread birds. McIlroy & Fleetwood are a great pair. Both were looking for new partners after Fleetwood did not work with Hovland and Ian Poulter (Rory’s old partner) did not join the Ryder Cup team. This combination can be brutal. McIlroy is clearly elite, but Fleetwood is back in form there too. They are both very strong players and would likely play four balls together given the amount of birdies they can make as a duo. Prediction: Europe

Big surprise: As for why Spieth and Thomas sat out, you could point to their 2-2 four-game record versus their 2-0 record in four Ryder Cups as a possible reason. However, it would have been surprising not to see both of these names come out early for the US side.

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“Well, the gist of it is we have 12 guys,” USA captain Zach Johnson said. “Unfortunately, I can’t play every 12-round session. So, at some point, someone has to sit out. It’s a golf course that demands a lot from you physically.

“It’s an ideal situation where you don’t necessarily want to play with everyone for all five sessions. I’m not saying that’s what we’re going to do, but you take everything into account. Not only that, but the eight players.” We have put down on paper what we feel is best to put us in a position to get off to a clearly great start.

This will likely be a data-heavy decision as the numbers will likely push this pairing to four balls in the afternoon. This makes sense, and it’s good to see some actual foresight and planning going on given how much we’ve all complained about the lack of that over the last few Ryder Cups for the USA in Europe. It’s certainly surprising, but the Americans are trying to win the week, not the session. This is important, and something we have to keep in mind as the Ryder Cup gets underway on Friday morning.

Kyle Porter, Greg Ducharme and Patrick MacDonald break down the 2023 Ryder Cup. It’s the storyline and best bets ahead of the showdown at Marco Simone Golf Club. Go ahead and listen to The First Cut Apple Podcast And Spotify.

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