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Westwood and Mickelson to lead out teams in fourballs clash

Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer will lead Europe's attempt to regain the Ryder Cup when the 38th biennial contest gets under way at Celtic Manor tomorrow.

Westwood and Kaymer take on Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson in the opening fourballs clash, with Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell then facing Stewart Cink and Matt Kuchar.

Both captains had insisted they would not pre-arrange an eagerly-anticipated clash between Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods and they duly avoided each other in the line-up.

Speaking last month, just days after Woods had finished 18 over par in the WGC Bridgestone Invitational, McIlroy had said: "I would love to face him. Unless his game rapidly improves...I think anyone in the European team would fancy their chances against him."

When told McIlroy was looking forward to a showdown, Woods had responded with a grin and the words: "Me too". But that will have to wait.

Woods and Steve Stricker will face English duo Ian Poulter and Ross Fisher in the third match, with US captain Corey Pavin springing a surprise by putting out rookies Bubba Watson and Jeff Overton in the final match, where they will be up against Luke Donald and Padraig Harrington.

Speaking about Overton and Watson, Pavin said: "They are eager to get out there and play.]

"I wanted them to get out in the morning and have at it. They can make a few birdies between them."

It was no surprise to see Woods and Stricker together after they won four points out of four in the Presidents Cup last year, although Woods will not be used to being out third.

The world number one had gone out first on his last three appearances, with a record of two defeats and one win.

Europe captain Colin Montgomerie also admitted it was the "worst kept secret" that Northern Irish pair McIlroy and McDowell would play together, the duo having won three of their four matches together in last year's Vivendi Trophy, although their only defeat came when they were not put out first.

Westwood has not played a competitive round since August 6 after suffering a calf injury, but believes he will be capable of playing five times if required, while Kaymer has won his last two tournaments, including of course the USPGA Championship.

Draw and tee-off times for the opening fourballs of the Ryder Cup, Europe v United States, at Celtic Manor, Wales, on Friday (Europe names first):

0745 Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer v Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson

0800 Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy v Stewart Cink and Matt Kuchar

0815 Ian Poulter and Ross Fisher v Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods

0830 Luke Donald and Padraig Harrington v Bubba Watson and Jeff Overton