Ryder Cup: Southport’s Tommy Fleetwood sits out opening session

Europe captain Padraig Harrington hailed his side’s strength in depth after leaving Southport’s Tommy Fleetwood and Shane Lowry out of the opening session of the 43rd Ryder Cup.

Friday, 24th September 2021, 11:29 am

Fleetwood won all four of his matches together with Francesco Molinari in Paris, but with the Italian not making the team for Whistling Straits three years later, Fleetwood joined former Open champion Lowry in sitting out Friday’s foursomes.

“That says a lot about our team that he is comfortable after going 4-0 and can look around his team and be confident that there’s other people that are taking up that strain,” Harrington said of Fleetwood.

“He’s prepared to sit there and wait his chance in the afternoon, which really just sums up our team how balanced it is and the understanding of the players that they have to give other people their opportunity, as well.”

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Tommy Fleetwood on the 11th tee during the third preview day of the 43rd Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits

“I want every player on my team absolutely dying to play every match. But I want them to also understand that there’s other people in the team, they have to step aside, and they have done that brilliantly.”

World number one Jon Rahm will be sent out in the first match for the second Ryder Cup in succession, the US Open champion forming an all-Spanish pairing with Sergio Garcia against Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth, who won three of their four matches together in Paris.

Norway’s Viktor Hovland is the only European rookie in action on Friday morning as he joined Paul Casey against Dustin Johnson and Open champion Collin Morikawa, with Lee Westwood and Matt Fitzpatrick taking on Brooks Koepka and Daniel Berger.

The final match will see Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter, who first played together at Medinah in 2012, up against FedEx Cup winner Patrick Cantlay and Olympic champion Xander Schauffele.