By Reid Cherner, USA TODAY
Put away the World Rankings and the money list. Hide the major trophies. This time it is for country.
The 39th Ryder Cup kicks off at 8 a.m. ET at Medinah Country Club outside of Chicago and Game On! will be peeking in on the matches.
The opening round is alternate shot and Europe's Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell will team in the first match against Brandt Snedeker and Jim Furyk. The first round ends with Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker teeing off at 9:05 against Ian Poulter and Justin Rose.
The USA will need 14 ½ points over the weekend to take back the Ryder Cup.
ESPN will televise the matches.
Here are the tee times and in-progess scoreboard.
1:00: Poulter hits a clutch putt on No. 16 to allow him and Rose to stay 2-up with two to play against Woods and Stricker. That was a dagger.
12:45: Amazingly, Woods and Stricker won No. 15 to shrink the deficit to 2-up. If Woods/Stricker pull a miracle the hit tree will go down in Ryder Cup lore.
12:40: Matchups were just made for the afternoon of best ball. The marquee match is Mickelson and Bradley vs. McDowell and McIlroy. Woods and Stricker will again close the session.
12:38: Better to be lucky than good. Woods hit an awful tee shot on No. 16. He skips off a tree and rolls to within 25 yards of the green. There is no margin for error being down 3 but these are the kind of things that change Ryder Cup matches sometimes.
12:35: Woods and Stricker, down 3 heading into the 15th against Rose and Poulter is the only match left.
12:33: Dufner hits a putt on 16 to give a 3&2 in against Westwood and Molinari. The USA is up 2-1 in matches.
12:30: Poulter's birdie putt on No. 14 allows he and Rose to go 3-up on Woods and Stricker.
12:28: McDowell goes center mass. He and McIlroy defeat Furyk and Snedeker. They were 3-up after six holes and then gave it all back before winning on the 18th. A huge swing of 'mo' for the Europeans. The matches are now 1-1 with Europe leading one unfinished match and the USA the other.
12:25: McDowell putting for the match.
12:20: Can't anyone here play this game? Furyk had to punch out after Snedeker's pulled tee shot. Then McDowell, needing just to hit the green to put the pressure on, promptly put the ball into the greenside bunker. We'll tied here on the 18th. Somebody has to make a shot.
12:15: The McIlroy match is huge since Woods and Stricker are 2-down while Johnson and Dufner are 1-up against the Europeans. The lead match is a huge swing one way or the other.
12:12: Snedeker's tee shot on No.18 goes 40 yards left. McIlroy sends his up the right side and lands in the rough. But with Snedeker's tee shot, McIlroy and McDowell have the advantage. If the Europeans end up winning after losing a three-hole advantage that would be a devastating loss for the USA. When you have the heavyweight champion on the ropes you have to put him down. You don't want to see McIlroy dance in center ring.
12:10: Snedeker and Furyk will go to No. 18 to decide the match. If they can beat McIlroy this early it will go a long way to dampening the Europeans enthusiasm.
Noon: And how about Furyk and Snedeker? Down 3 holes at one point they are now all square heading to the 17th against McDowell and McIlroy.
Noon: How about Keegan and Phil? Bradley hits a 20-footer on No. 15 to close out Garcia and Donald. The Europeans were 14-0-1 in foursomes in previous Ryder Cups. Said Mickelson about his young playing partner: "Man can he roll the rock."
11:45: Golf is such a strange game. Woods and Stricker start awful and only are down 1. Then they play well and Poulter chips in on No.11 to put him and Rose 2-up. Minutes later Sergio misses a 3-footer to allow Mickelson and Bradley to go 3-up with four holes to play.
11:28: Phil! Phil! Phil! Mickelson hits a 12-footer as he and Bradley are now 2-up on Garcia and Donald. Which is interesting since those two Europeans have never lost in this format. Earlier, after Bradley launched a brilliant tee shot to set up Mickelson's birdie putt, Phil gave the jittery, excitable Keegan a smack on the backside.
11:18: So much ebb and flow. Donald missed a par putt on No. 12 to allow Mickelson and Bradley to go 1-up. Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner are also i1-up in their match. At one point the USA was losing every match but has climbed back in. Only McDowell and McIlroy at 2-up on Furyk and Snedeker is a runaway.
10:54: Good news, bad news out there. The USA has pulled even in two matches but they are getting drubbed in another. Furyk and Snedeker are 3-down to McIlroy and McDowell while Woods and Stricker are 1-down to Poulter and Rose.
10:45: Woods could not be hitting the ball worse off the tee. He just hit his third tee shot off the fairway in this match. He hit a spectator and then had the ball go another 20 yards. Woods and Stricker have been magic in previous Ryder Cups but this has been a nightmare start.
10:35: McIlroy and McDowell are now 2-up on Furyk and Snedeker. The Europeans have been on fire since they were denied a ruling on No.2. McIlroy especially has been playing like a golfer possessed. Ironically, on No. 10 where the Europeans went 2-up, Furyk called a penalty on himself after his ball moved.
10:15: Another hole, another disaster for Woods and Stricker. This time Woods airmailed his drive on No. 5 so far off the fairway that they had to bring an official over to get a ruling on a drop. The team is already 1-down in the match to Rose and Poulter.
10:05: The rout is on. Rose makes a 25-foot putt and Europe is 1-up in every match. This is as poor of a start as the USA could have feared. Uphill putts are good. Going uphill in matches is not. The crowd has been silenced.
9:50: Woods and Stricker finally get a break when Rose has a par putt scoot by on No. 3. That match is now all square. Woods missed a birdie putt that would have sewed up the hole but the Rose miss gave the USA new life.
9:45: Mickelson and Bradley are now all square with Garcia and Donald which means the USA is not leading in a single match. The quick start by the locals has been forgotten.
9:35: Woods and Stricker could not be off to a worse start. After Woods' dreadful drive on No.1, Stricker put his tee shot on the par 3 No. 2 into the water. Poulter and Rose are now 1-up after two.
9:26: Woods and Stricker halve No. 1 after that disastrous start. It took 21 minutes to play the hole but almost a major victory by the USA. If Woods' tee shot had gone any more left Clint Eastwood would have started talking to empty chairs.
9:15: McIlroy chips in on No. 4 and almost breaks McDowell's hand with his high five. McIlroy and McDowell are now all square with Furyk and Snedeker. The celebration by the Europeans may have been in response to the disagreement the foursome hed on No.2 on a drop or non-drop by McDowell. Thus far this is the most spirited (read contentious) match by far.
9:10: Woods and Stricker are now on the tee for their match with Rose and Poulter. Woods will strike first for the USA. And his tee shot is up against the out of bounds fence. Stricker will get relief before hitting. A great break for the USA after a dreadful pull to the left by Woods.
9:00: Bradley has hit a curling 15-footer on No. 2 to put him and Mickelson 1-up on Garcia and Donald. That is huge because the two Europeans are 14-0-1 in foursome play. But a great tee shot by Mickelson on the par 3 and a clutch putt by Bradley has the Europeans playing some early catchup.
8:52: It's over! The USA's Snedeker hits his putt after McIlroy missed his par on No. 2. The Americans are 1-up and the chase is on.
8:50: Chief referee David Price denies relief to the Europeans on No. 2 so McDowell chips. Both teams have tough par putts. So far no side had won a hole in the two matches.
8:45: There is a discussion about whether a sprinkler is interfering with McDowell's swing. While McDowell and Furyk were having a slightly heated discussion one fan yelled "hit a better tee shot next time." You gotta love the home towners.
8:36: The second match is Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia vs. Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley. Another bummer tweet from Steve DiMeglio of USA TODAY. In second match, Phil Mickelson will try to beat Sergio for the first
time in RC (0-4 against Spaniard). He's also 0-1 against Luke. Speaking of Donald, he is on the other side of the pond but did go to school at Northwestern. This isn't his first Chicago rodeo.
8:34: After all the excitement of bad tee shots, both teams par the first hole to remain all square.
8:30: This is why you pick McIlroy first on the playground. From a dirt lie he launched an approach to the front left of the green. A great scramble. As for Snedeker he's not too shabby himself. The $11 million man put his approach from the rough onto the green. Advantage USA but McIlroy's shot was extraordinary.
8:22: The nerves came out early. Both McDowell and Furyk jacked their tee shots way, way left on No.1. This is an alternate shot match so McIlroy and Snedeker will have their work cut out for them.
8:15: Ryder Cup captain Davis Love talked about how deep the USA team is. That is illustrated by the guys benched in the first matches; Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Webb Simpson and Bubba Watson. That is a U.S. Open (Simpson) and Masters (Watson) champion sitting down along with the 13th (Johnson) and 15th (Kuchar) ranked players in the World Rankings.
8:07: There is nervous and there is Ryder Cup nervous. ESPN analyst and former Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger said "this is a massive stage for these guys and they're nervous." He added that "the hair can stand up on the back of your head" when you approach the first tee. Hole No. 1 at Medinah is a 433-yard, par 4. While you are waiting for the first match you can study some holes to watch courtesy of USA TODAY's Steve DiMeglio.
8:00 a.m.: Europe has won six of the past 8 Ryder Cups. So we'll start on an ominous note. This tweet from USA TODAY golf writer Steve DiMeglio. "The U.S. is 1-5-1 in the first match starting in 1997 in the Ryder Cup."