Continental Europe have a fantastic chance to wrestle the Seve Trophy from Great Britain & Ireland with their opponents severely hampered by a host of big-name withdrawals.
Jose Maria Olazabal’s side may have won the inaugural tournament in 2000, but since then it’s proven a miserable event for them with six straight defeats to their Great Britain & Ireland rivals.
But with GB's team looking pretty weak on paper—Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood, Luke Donald, Graeme McDowell, Ian Poulter, and Justin Rose all missing, per the BBC—it presents Europe with a major opportunity to cause an upset.
Paul Lawrie criticises Great Britain & Ireland's top 6 golfers - including Rory McIlroy - for missing the Seve Trophy http://t.co/zyc7fAXhxP— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) September 25, 2013
Here we predict how the first day's play will unfold and give the all-important live stream information.
Day 1 Predictions
|Tee Time (BST)||Great Britain and Northern Ireland||Continental Europe||Prediction|
|11:35||Paul Lawrie & Stephen Gallacher||Thomas Bjorn & Miguel Angel Jimenez||Europe|
|11:50||Tommy Fleetwood & Chris Wood||Thorbjorn Olesen & Mikko Ilonen||Great Britain & Ireland|
|12:05||Paul Casey & Simon Khan||Francesco Molinari & Matteo Manassero||Europe|
|12:20||Jamie Donaldson & David Lynn||Joost Luiten & Gregory Bourdy||Europe|
|12:35||Marc Warren & Scott Jamieson||Nicolas Colsaerts & Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano||Europe|
Live Stream Information
Sky Sports 1 and HD1 at 10:30 a.m. (BST)
Sky Sports Online (subscription required) at 10:30 a.m. (BST)
A selection of videos and audio clips are available from the official website.
Paul Lawrie & Stephen Gallacher vs. Thomas Bjorn & Miguel Angel Jimenez
Jimenez has often excelled in the opening round of a tournament before falling away this season, notably the British Open where he led after the opening day.
Who will win the opening fourball?
The Spanish veteran has also found birdies easy to come by early on— for some reason his putter is hotter on Day 1—and if he can continue in that manner, this should be a routine victory from him and Bjorn.
Both European players know this tournament inside out, with Jimenez featuring in all seven events, and have been pushed to the front of the order by their captain so that they can get their team off to a flyer.
With Gallacher untested in such events and Paul Lawrie’s best days seemingly behind him, this has got to be a European victory.
Paul Casey & Simon Khan vs. Francesco Molinari & Matteo Manassero
How will Molinari fare without his brother by his side?
Who will win the third fourball?
Gone are the days when he would be partnered by elder sibling Edoardo, and now he must be the calming influence as he teams up with 20-year-old Manassero.
Not that his fellow Italian will need much help. Manassero claimed his first senior tournament victory at the 2013 BMW PGA Championship, displaying calmness beyond his years to win a play-off on the fourth hole, holding off Seve Trophy opponent Simon Kahn.
Molinari halved the final hole with Tiger Woods to ensure Europe won the Ryder Cup outright last year, in what would become known as the Miracle of Medinah; if he can draw on that experience then Casey and Khan will struggle to compete.
Marc Warren & Scott Jamieson vs. Nicolas Colsaerts & Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano
It took him a while, but Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts is now considered one of Europe’s finest golfers.
After playing his part in last year’s Ryder Cup triumph, he finished a respectable 10th at this year’s U.S. Open and has been in contention at various events since, including the recent Italian Open where he finished tied for fourth.
Who will win the final fourball?
Partner Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano also shared 10th at the 2013 U.S. Open and will be keen to impress after receiving a late call-up at the expense of the stricken Peter Hanson.
The problem the Great Britain & Ireland pair have got is that they are lacking any sort of form. Granted, both have appeared in the Seve Trophy before, with Jamieson's record far more impressive than his partners. Yet the event comes down to momentum, and it is anticipated Europe will have that coming into this final fourball.