Ryder Cup 2018: Friday Tee Times, TV Schedule, Pairings and Predictions

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistSeptember 27, 2018

US team captain Jim Furyk holds the trophy as he takes part in a team photograph ahead of the 42nd Ryder Cup at Le Golf National Course at Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, south-west of Paris on September 26, 2018. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP)        (Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)
FRANCK FIFE/Getty Images

Jim Furyk and Thomas Bjorn have named their pairings for the opening day of the 2018 Ryder Cup. Brooks Koepka and Tony Finau will open for holders USA against Europe's pairing of Justin Rose and Jon Rahm.

Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler will go against Rory McIlroy and Thorbjorn Olesen, while Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas will play Paul Casey and Tyrrell Hatton.

Finally, Patrick Reed and Tiger Woods face Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood after picks were made at the opening ceremony on Thursday.

Here's the order of play:

      

Friday Tee Times (BST/ET, per Wayne Staats of the tournament's official website)

Morning Fourballs

  • 2:10 a.m./7:10 a.m. Match 1
    2:25 a.m./7:25 a.m. Match 2
    2:40 a.m./7:40 a.m. Match 3
    2:55 a.m./7:55 a.m. Match 4

Afternoon Foursomes

  • 7:50 a.m./12:50 p.m. Match 1
    8:05 a.m./1:05 p.m. Match 2
    8:20 a.m./1:20 p.m. Match 3
    8:35 a.m./1:35 p.m. Match 4

        

TV Info: Sky Sports Ryder Cup, Golf Channel

Live Stream: Sky Go, RyderCup.com

   

Course Comfort Will Yield Wins for McIlroy and Rose

Having the right game for the tricky Albatros course at Le Golf National in Paris will prove decisive for Team Europe in the first two fourball matches. The steady approach of Rose will be a calming influence for Rahm against Koepka and Finau.

McIlroy will lead Europe to an important early win.
McIlroy will lead Europe to an important early win.LIONEL BONAVENTURE/Getty Images

Koepka's driving power won't give him an edge on a course with this many tight fairways, and Finau's problem will likely be nerves on his Ryder Cup debut.

Similar issues await Dustin Johnson, who will find launching tee shots risky business on this course. Instead, the game will lend itself better to McIlroy's controlled approach.

   

Spieth Will Rebound

There's no denying Justin Thomas is a solid player capable of making his own mark in this Ryder Cup. It's equally true the 25-year-old is fortunate to be paired with Jordan Spieth, who can rebound to produce some exceptional golf.

Spieth can carry Thomas and the U.S. to a key win over Casey and Hatton. It's a bold statement considering Spieth has stumbled through most of 2018, but he will meet the sense of occasion, according to Michael Rosenberg of Sports Illustrated: "He has reached that rare golfing level where the normal rules do not apply to him—especially at a Ryder Cup."

Rosenberg continued: "Part of the brilliance of Spieth is that the big stages feel like small stages to him."

Spieth is usually at his best for the Ryder Cup.
Spieth is usually at his best for the Ryder Cup.ERIC FEFERBERG/Getty Images

Spieth's confidence should come from a solid record in the Ryder Cup. He's won four, lost three and halved two during 2014 and 2016's tournaments, per the official website.

The same source detailed how Spieth went 3-1-1 when Team USA won at HazeltineNational two years ago.

He's already sounding bullish about his chances of doing the same, per Jeremy Cross of the Daily Star: "So if we stay out of our own way and continue to play the way our team has been playing, we believe that will be good enough and it (winning) will take care of itself."

Spieth will feel even better playing alongside Thomas, although not everybody is convinced by the pairing:

Count on this duo to prove the doubters wrong and put the first win on the board for Team USA.

   

Woods and Reed Will Ensure Strong Finish for Team USA

Woods and Reed playing late on can ensure a strong finish for Team USA. Furyk has chosen a formidable pairing, with Open champion Molinari and Fleetwood having different reasons to worry.

The obvious cause for concern with Woods is the form he's showing entering the tournament. Winning this year's Tour Championship is proof Woods is back to near his best.

Even so, Bjorn and Team Europe can take hope from Woods' previous struggles at the Ryder Cup. According to Chris Chase of USA Today Sports For The Win, the 42-year-old "won just 44 percent of his Ryder Cup matches" between 1999 and 2008.

Woods needs to improve on previous performances in this tournament.
Woods needs to improve on previous performances in this tournament.Francois Mori/Associated Press

The numbers represent unwanted history, but at least Woods can lean on Reed. Unlike his illustrious partner, Reed has taken to the Ryder Cup well.

Reed ups his game for this event, something he'll likely have to do while Woods works his into a comfort zone.

Ultimately, the combination of Reed's bravado and Woods' experience will be decisive, leaving an enticing tie at the end of the morning session and a perfect segue into the foursomes.

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