MEDINAH, Ill., Sept. 27 (UPI) -- The Ryder Cup matches get under way Friday with the world's top-ranked player and the newly crowned FedEx Cup champion meeting in the opener.
A dozen players from the United States and 12 more from Europe will face off in the biennial confrontation that over the last two decades has become one of the highlights of the sporting calendar.
From the event's inception in 1927 through 1983, the United States won all but four of the international golfing gatherings.
The Ryder Cup took on a different look when players from throughout Europe joined those from Britain and Ireland in challenging the Americans.
Europe has won six of the last eight competitions, including a 14½-13½ triumph in Wales two years ago.
This year's European team includes four of the top five ranked players in the world and the No. 1 player -- two-time major champion Rory McIlroy -- will team with Graeme McDowell in the first of Friday's four morning foursomes matches. They will face Americans Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker, who last week won $11.4 million by capturing both the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup.
In the other three foursomes matches, it will be Luke Donald-Sergio Garcia vs. Phil Mickelson-Keegan Bradley, Lee Westwood-Francisco Molinari vs. Zach Johnson-Jason Dufner and Ian Poulter-Justin Rose vs. Tiger Woods-Steve Stricker.
Europe's Nicolas Colsaerts, Peter Hanson, Martin Kaymer and Paul Lawrie will sit out the first round of matches. Americans Matt Kuchar, Webb Simpson, Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson will also miss out on the morning action. Simpson and Watson won two of this year's four major championships.
There will be four fourball matches played Friday afternoon and eight more team matches will take place Saturday. The 12 singles matches on Sunday will conclude the competition.
The matches will take place at the Medinah Country Club in suburban Chicago, site of PGA Championship victories by Woods in both 1999 and 2006. The course has also hosted the U.S. Open three times.