Ryder Cup 2012: Breaking Down Friday's Epic Foursome Matchups

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer ISeptember 28, 2012

MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 26:  Tiger Woods of the United States talks with Steve Stricker of the United States during the third preview day of The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Golf Club on September 26, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

After the foursome pairings for Friday were announced on Thursday at Medinah Country Club in Illinois, it's time to take a look at the matchups between Team USA and Team Europe that are sure to thrill at the 2012 Ryder Cup.

From Ryder Cup veterans like Tiger Woods, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Phil Mickelson to first-timers like Brandt Snedeker, Jason Dufner and Keegan Bradley, there are a host of outstanding players ready to take the course on Friday morning.

Here's a breakdown of each matchup between Team USA and Team Europe (Ryder Cup records in parentheses).

Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell vs. Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker

As the No. 1 player in the world, Rory McIlroy (1-1-2, 0-0-1 singles) figures to be a force at the 2012 Ryder Cup. He has 10 top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour this year, including four victories (back-to-back wins at the Deutsche Bank Championship and BMW Championship).

Graeme McDowell (4-2-2, 2-0-0 singles) has only four top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour this year, but he finished in the top 15 in all four majors, including a second-place finish at the U.S. Open.

As for the Americans, Jim Furyk has seven top-10 finishes on tour this year, including a fourth-place finish at the U.S. Open.

Brandt Snedeker, a newbie to the Ryder Cup, has the potential to surprise. He's notched three top-10 finishes in his last four tournaments, including a victory at the most recent TOUR Championship. He also placed third at the British Open this year.

Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia vs. Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley

Luke Donald, the No. 3 player in the world and a Ryder Cup veteran (8-2-1, 2-1-0 singles), has notched eight top-10 finishes and one victory on the PGA Tour this year and is coming off a third-place finish at the TOUR Championship. While he's struggled in majors, he certainly has made an impact at the Ryder Cup throughout the years.

Sergio Garcia has never been able to live up to his early hype on the PGA Tour, but he does have one victory this year (Wyndham Championship) and he has a solid 14-6-4 record at the Ryder Cup (albeit with a 1-4-0 singles record).

As for Team USA, Phil Mickelson will be accompanying first-timer Keegan Bradley. Mickelson (11-17-6, 4-4-0 singles) is not the same player he once was, but he has notched seven top-10 finishes and a victory on the PGA Tour this year.

Bradley, the 2011 PGA Championship winner, has five top-10 finishes and a victory on the PGA Tour this year. He placed third in this year's PGA Championship.

Lee Westwood and Francesco Molinari vs. Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson

Lee Westwood, another veteran at the Ryder Cup (16-11-6, 2-5-0 singles), has seven top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour this year, but has yet to record a victory. However, he did win the Nordea Masters on the European Tour. As the No. 4 player in the world with a 7-2-4 career record in foursomes at the Ryder Cup, he can't be taken lightly.

Francesco Molinari (0-2-1, 0-1-0 singles) has made seven of eight cuts on the PGA Tour this year, albeit with zero top-10 finishes. On the other hand, he has eight top-10 finishes in 13 European Tour events in 2012, including a victory at the Reale Seguros Open de Espana.

Jason Dufner, making his first appearance at the Ryder Cup, is the No. 9 golfer in the world, with eight top-10 finishes and two victories on the year. He placed fourth at the U.S. Open.

Zach Johnson is the Ryder Cup veteran of the American pairing (3-3-1, 1-1-0 singles), with six top-10 finishes and two victories on tour this year. He placed ninth at the British Open.

Ian Poulter and Justin Rose vs. Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods

Ian Poulter has built quite the résumé in his three Ryder Cup appearances, posting an 8-3-0 record (3-0-0 singles) as part of the 2004 and 2010 European championship teams. He has four top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour this year and two top-10 finishes on the European Tour.

Justin Rose (3-1-0, 1-1-0 singles), the No. 5 player in the world, has eight top-10 finishes and one victory on the PGA Tour this year. He placed third at the PGA Championship and eighth at the Masters.

Last but not least, we have Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods.

Stricker (3-3-1, 1-1-0) was part of the 2008 American championship team. The 45-year-old also has seven top-10 finishes and one victory on the year. He placed seventh at the PGA Championship.

Woods, the No. 2 player in the world right now, has had his best year since 2008, with nine top-10 finishes and three victories on the PGA Tour this year. That includes a third-place finish at the British Open.

On the other hand, while going 4-1-1 in singles play at the Ryder Cup throughout the years, he's always had troubles on teams, for whatever reason. He's 9-13-1 in foursomes and fourballs play at the Ryder Cup.

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