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Ryder Cup 2014 begins at Gleneagles

Europe's attempts to win a third consecutive Ryder Cup are finally under way after action finally teed off on Friday.

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In Medinah two years ago, Europe staged a comeback for the ages, eventually prevailing 14 1/2 - 13 1/2 despite going into the final day 10-6 behind.

Seven of Europe's heroes of two years ago are retained, though Tom Watson's side arguably lacks a hint of star quality in Tiger Woods' absence.

The hosts are odds-on favourites to retain the Cup for a second consecutive time, while victory at Gleneagles, Scotland would be Europe's sixth in seven years.

As well as revenge for Medinah, USA are looking to win in Europe for a first time since 1993.

And months of discussion and speculation are now put aside as action finally got under way at 07.35am local time with weather set fair.

Out first for Team Europe was 2013 US Open champion Justin Rose and last year's FedEx Cup holder Henrik Stenson, the pair afforded a rapturous welcome to the first tee by a passionate home crowd in Scotland.

Up against the Englishman and the Swede are Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson, a successful pairing that registered a 2-1-0 record in Medinah, having first proven their chemistry with a 3-1-0 showing at the 2011 President's Cup.

Europe will have no prior history to draw on in any of their pairings - captain Paul McGinley has chosen four previously untried combinations at this level.

The highlight of Friday's fourballs is surely the final match-up as world number one Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia tackle Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson - who becomes the first American to play in 10 Ryder Cups.

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