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Ryder Cup Golf Tournament Play Gets Underway Friday - 2002-09-26

The 34th Ryder Cup match play golf tournament is getting under way Friday near Birmingham, England, from the Belfry course in Sutton Coldfield, where the United States will defend its title against the European team.

Amid the pomp of the elaborate opening ceremonies Thursday, U.S. team captain Curtis Strange said he likes his lineup for the first set of matches.

"It is going to be fun. How ever it happens, it is going to fun. There is always a tough match, always tough matches. I am just for the first time looking at Sam's pairings," he said.

European captain Sam Torrance chose Darren Clarke of Ireland and Thomas Bjorn of Sweden to go against world number-one ranked Tiger Woods and Paul Azinger. They will play fourball, or a best ball format where each pair of players takes the best score between them on each hole against the best score from the opposing pair. Spaniard Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood of Britain are playing Americans David Duval and Davis Love. Strange says his entire team will get on the course.

"Everybody will play before Sunday, yes. Actually what I said [was] everybody would play one match before Sunday," he said.

In the other early matches, Americans Scott Hoch and Jim Furyk play Colin Montgomery of Scotland and German Bernhard Langer. David Toms and Phil Mickelson face Padraig Harrington of Ireland and Niclas Fasth of Sweden.