Sport Ryder Cup

Monday 27 March 2017

Darren Clarke drops huge Ryder Cup hint with European practice pairings

Phil Casey

Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland and Andy Sullivan of England walk off the first tee during a practice round for the 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland and Andy Sullivan of England walk off the first tee during a practice round for the 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine

European captain Darren Clarke dropped a massive hint about his pairings for the opening session of the Ryder Cup on the final day of practice.

Clarke said on Wednesday he was almost 100 per cent certain of his line-up for Friday's foursomes and that certainly looked to be the case with the three groups sent out at Hazeltine.

Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose, who won all three of their matches together at Gleneagles - including the opening one of the contest - were in group one alongside Rory McIlroy and Andy Sullivan.

McIlroy and Sullivan played together in the final round of the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai last November, as well as during practice rounds for this year's major championships.

Group two featured Sergio Garcia, Martin Kaymer, Danny Willett and Lee Westwood, with stablemates Willett and Westwood - who were first and second in the Masters in April - a likely pairing.

The final group contained rookies Chris Wood, Matt Fitzpatrick, Rafa Cabrera Bello and Thomas Pieters.

US captain Davis Love also seemed set on at least two of his pairings, with Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed, Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar in the same group for the third day running.

Rickie Fowler and Phil Mickelson were also in the same group once more along with rookie Ryan Moore and JB Holmes, with the final group featuring Brooks Koepka, Jimmy Walker, Zach Johnson and Brandt Snedeker.

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