James: If you were Thomas Bjorn who would you be sending out as your opening pair on Friday? I’d be going big with a Rose/Fleetwood or McIlroy/Rahm.
Steve: I want fire and brimstone from the opening pair and I can’t think of a better player to get us going off all guns blazing than Jon Rahm. Pairing him is an interesting task but I think I’d opt for a ball-striking machine in Francesco Molinari. The latter has now proved he’s up to the big occasion and can be the steadying never-miss-a-fairway partner to allow Rahm to get on a birdie blitz.
Alex: If Pieters makes it, then I’d be sending out a serious statement of intent by putting the Belgian and Rory McIlroy out first. I don’t need to remind you they won three from three as a pair in 2016, including a 3&1 roasting of DJ and Koepka. Whichever American pair is put out first is not going to want to see those two standing on the tee with them.
Dan: Stenson and Noren for me. I want to give the home crowd something to feed off and in the absence of a Frenchman, a pairing of two Continental Europeans is the next best thing. They will also get behind Noren as a rookie. Most importantly, I think these two Swedes will be very, very hard to beat. There will be plenty of strength behind them too.
Steve: Europe haven’t lost at home since The Belfry in 1993. After 25 years, is this the time our colours are finally lowered on our soil?
Alex: Nope. I’ve always been an optimist when it comes to Europe winning the Ryder Cup – home or away – and this year is no different. I know we like playing the role of the underdog, and I’m OK with that, but the way people go on you’d think it was Manchester City vs. Torquay United. Need I remind you that, since that win in ‘93, the US have lifted the Ryder Cup on just three occasions.
Dan: I fear as much, yes. I know the world rankings say otherwise but it just seems to me that they have a lot of world-class performers who are sure to rise to the occasion. We are asking a lot from our rookies, even though they are an exceptionally strong bunch. Our big guns are not quite as reliable right now as theirs.
James: Probably. We’ve seen a new team spirit about Team USA since Gleneagles and they have the best team on paper in my opinion. I can’t see there being a ‘hostile’ crowd like we had at Hazeltine which clearly had worn the likes of Rory McIlroy out by the back nine on Sunday. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was close but I think USA will just edge this one.