By Tony Jimenez
GLENEAGLES Scotland (Reuters) - The Ryder Cup got underway on Friday when American Webb Simpson sent the opening tee shot down the first fairway on a chilly morning at the PGA Centenary Course.
A noisy crowd gathered on the first tee at 7:35 a.m. (0635 GMT) at Gleneagles and it was the American challengers who had the honour of opening the 40th edition of the biennial team event against holders Europe.
The 2012 U.S. Open winner Simpson teamed up with big-hitting U.S. Masters champion Bubba Watson in match one, taking on the European pairing of Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson in the first of four morning fourballs.
The quartet will be followed at 7:50 a.m. when Thomas Bjorn and Martin Kaymer represent Europe against Rickie Fowler and 35-year-old rookie Jimmy Walker.
Match three features U.S. debutants Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed facing Scottish favourite Stephen Gallacher and Ian Poulter, while world number one Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia tee off at 8:20 a.m. against Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley.
Europe are looking to retain the trophy they won in the 'Miracle at Medinah', where they clawed their way back from 10-4 down to win by 14-1/2 points to 13-1/2.
(Editing by John O'Brien)