U.S. captain Corey Pavin called on one of his strongest tandems to lead off his team's defense of the Ryder Cup.
Tiger Woods? He'll be going third.
Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson, famous for the big-money games they play during practice rounds, will be the opening fourballs match Friday at Celtic Manor as the United States tries to win the Ryder Cup away from home for the first time since 1993.
They will face Europe's best player, Lee Westwood, and its latest major champion, Martin Kaymer.
Woods, who has gone nearly 10 months without a victory, will be partnered with Steve Stricker in the third of four matches. They will face Ian Poulter and Ross Fisher, one of six rookies on the European side.
It's the first time since 1999 that Woods was not in the opening match of the Ryder Cup.
European captain Colin Montgomerie was expecting Woods and Stricker in either the opening match or as the anchor.
"Tiger being hidden is a different move," he said.
Pavin did not go into details on the nature of his pairings or the order, saying he cared only about the American team and not what Montgomerie might do.
Woods and Stricker was a natural partnership. A year ago at the Presidents Cup, they became the first team in 30 years to go 4-0 in cup competition, and the first ever at the Presidents Cup. They will take on one of Europe's most passionate players in Poulter, who once said that when he reaches his potential, it will be just he and Woods atop the world ranking.
"I have never been so excited to play a Ryder cup match, Tiger Woods Steve Stricker vs Poults & Fish the house is about to come down," Poulter said on Twitter.
Montgomerie told his team a week ago when they would be playing and with whom. The only decision left was whether to put the Northern Ireland duo of Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy, or Westwood and Kaymer in the leadoff spot.
The honor fell to Westwood because of his stature on the European team. This is the Englishman's seventh Ryder Cup team, and he is poised to rise to No. 1 in the world ranking next month.
The Americans will hit the first two shots in the better-ball matches. Westwood will hit the first shot for Europe, which Montgomerie said was "only right to do."
Stewart Cink and Matt Kuchar, a pair of Georgia Tech alums, will face McDowell and McIlroy in the second match, while the anchor spot belongs to Ryder Cup rookies Bubba Watson and Jeff Overton against Luke Donald and Padraig Harrington.
The Watson-Overton tandem was a shock to Montgomerie.
"You would not have expected that," he said.
The pairings were announced at an opening ceremony in which Pavin forgot to introduce Cink, who mockingly slumped his shoulders as his teammates laughed and rubbed his bald head.
He at least remembered to put him in the lineup.
Pavin kept out of the opening sessions Jim Furyk, who is coming off a victory Sunday at the Tour Championship. Furyk is known more for his accuracy than his length, and Celtic Manor is a long, wet golf course.
"He said he's been tired. He's been counting the money," Pavin said with a laugh, referring to the $11.35 million Furyk earned for capturing the FedEx Cup. "You'll see him out in the afternoon."
Also left out for the Americans were 21-year-old rookie Rickie Fowler, Zach Johnson and Hunter Mahan, who a year ago was unbeaten in five matches at Valhalla.
Montgomerie predictably sat Edoardo and Francesco Molinari - their strength is foursomes - along with rookie Peter Hanson of Sweden and Miguel Angel Jimenez.