The first day of action at the Ryder Cup is typically vital for the victor of the event.
Three years ago, Europe used a Friday-afternoon sweep to take hold of the lead and eventually win by seven points.
The United States' last victory was propelled by a Friday-morning sweep at Hazeltine in Minnesota. The Americans did not relinquish the lead at any stage of the 2016 event.
We do not know the Friday pairings and tee times for the fourball and foursome formats yet, but we have an idea of which golfers may be paired together based on the two practice sessions that have happened so far at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.
Europe is the underdog in the cross-continental matchup, and it could be the squad to take advantage of from an odds perspective to start the competition.
Ryder Cup Odds
Winner: United States (-190; bet $190 to win $100); Europe (+210; bet $100 to win $210); Draw (+1200)
Foursomes Day 1 Winner: USA (+115); Europe (+185); Draw (+275)
Fourballs Day 1 Winner: USA (+100); Europe (+200); Draw (+275)
The United States will go with a predominantly blue uniform for most of the week. The looks for each day can be found here.
Team Europe will wear a mostly white outfit for the three days of competition in Wisconsin. That look can be found here.
Europe Wins Friday Foursomes
Europe typically controls the foursome format in the Ryder Cup.
In 2018, Europe swept the Americans on Friday in the alternate-shot format and went on to win two more matches Saturday.
Unfortunately, Europe can't deploy the Francesco Molinari-Tommy Fleetwood partnership again that won four points in France. The Italian did not qualify for the squad this time around.
Fleetwood is still on the roster, and he could use his success from three years ago as a good base on which to build with a new partner.
Expect Fleetwood, Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy to be included in the Friday-morning foursomes matches. They are the most experienced European players.
McIlroy has been paired with Garcia and Poulter on multiple occasions over the years, so we should expect to see one variation of that pairing. If Europe calls on Jon Rahm, he could go off with Garcia to earn a point Friday morning.
McIlroy and Poulter as well as Rahm and Garcia were partnered together in Wednesday's practice groups, per Europe's official team Twitter account.
The Americans can't call on the same familiarity because they have six rookies in the squad. Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas went 3-1 together in 2018, and they could be paired up again by captain Steve Stricker. Spieth and Thomas were paired in Wednesday's practice group along with Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay, per Team USA's official team Twitter account.
Spieth and Thomas are only one experienced pairing, and that may not be enough to counter five players with four or more Ryder Cup appearances and multiple partnerships that worked for years.
Look for Europe to continue its dominance in the foursome format. Putting that format first up on the schedule could hurt the Americans.
Europe Wins Ryder Cup
The last three Ryder Cups have been won by the team with the advantage after Friday.
Europe led by a 5-3 margin in 2014 and 2018, while the Americans carried the same advantage into the second day of the 2016 event.
The key difference between the 2016 squad that captured the last win for the Americans and this one is experience.
The United States only had two rookies on a squad that included Phil Mickelson, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar and Dustin Johnson.
Johnson, Spieth and Brooks Koepka are the only holdovers from five years ago. The European team returns seven golfers from the group that won in 2018.
Europe captain Padraig Harrington does not have to worry much about his team chemistry, and he has some built-in pairings that he can call on to win points early.
Stricker is in a much more difficult situation, and he put himself in a tough spot by choosing to play the foursomes right off the bat.
The Americans could discover some magic Friday morning, as they did in 2016, but history suggests Europe will prevail Friday and keep the advantage for the rest of the competition.
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