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Hot Ryder Cup start for USA on chilly morning

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Johnson made his debut at Celtic Manor in 2010

Love, as did Clarke, also introduced his assistant captains, a USA group that included 14-times major victor Tiger Woods, who like many others on stage had soaked through his shirt with perspiration in the late afternoon heat.

Stenson and Rose were 3-0-0 as a team in 2014, 1-0-0 in foursomes.

The Ryder Cup, which starts Friday at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, is not a typical golf tournament, with hushed oohs followed by gentile golf-claps. All of the tweaks are to accommodate a USA side that will feature more power than accuracy.

"This team has never played together before, " Love said, repeating his mantra of the entire week. They will go against Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler, who last played together in a fourballs loss at Celtic Manor in 2010.

A fan at the Ryder Cup, who was heckling the European team during their practice round - where the team was struggling on the green - was given that challenge Thursday.

The Americans have not lost the opening session since 2006, when Europe had the better team at home in Ireland and sailed to a nine-point victory.

After a video tribute to the late Arnold Palmer briefly interrupted the thumping rock music and partisan chants from the packed grandstands, Rose and Reed somehow held their nerve to find the opening fairway in misty conditions.

On the other side, captain Darren Clarke and the Europeans can gain confidence simply by looking at history.

Dustin Johnson and Matt Kuchar will anchor the morning's session against Lee Westwood and Thomas Pieters. "It's insane out here, incredible support and everyone cheering you on and it's a pretty incredible feeling on practice days, I can only imagine what (today) is going to be like".

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When Sutton was contacted, he reminded that Mickelson was in the process of switching clubs, from Titleist to Callaway and that Phil should be concentrating on the current matches, not those played 12 years ago.

Welshman Jamie Donaldson had quite the debut in the Ryder Cup two years ago, though his rookie success wasn't enough to get him invited back. That match is worth almost more than one point for Europe, because if we can beat their two most popular players, that's an early blow for them. Stenson won the British Open with a record score in the majors.

"That was never, never in doubt".

Sergio Garcia and Martin Kaymer were then defeated 4&2 by Zach Johnson and Jimmy Walker as the USA took a 2-0 advantage to pile further misery on Europe.

"Had we known a month in advance", said Mickelson, indicting Sutton for the neglect, "we might have made it work".

Clarke kept faith with Rose and Stenson in the first match as they took on Spieth and Reed again, with Rafa Cabrera Bello drafted in to partner fellow Spaniard Garcia against Ryan Moore and JB Holmes. "I've only played on one".

But since 1979, when the event entered its modern phase by becoming Europe versus the United States, no team has won golf's premier team competition on the road with six or more newcomers. So he knew all about knee-knocking Ryder Cup pressure and the learning curve.

"Obviously, coming to America, you're already a bit of a target", Danny Willett said. I was joking around, like, 'You're calling me more than my wife, so we need to figure something out.' But it's great to have that kind of commitment and passion from a guy like Tiger. "His golf game's good. If we just go play our game". "Every time I looked at this lineup, I got more and more excited about all four matches".

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