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Format changed for Ryder Cup

European Ryder Cup captain Sam Torrance has decided to make a change to the format for The Belfry match against the U.S. next month, opting to play foursomes on the morning of the second day instead of fourballs.

On Friday Torrance also gave the strongest indication yet that he could give all 12 of his players a game before the singles, unlike Mark James at Brookline in 1999.

Last year, before the match was postponed because of the September 11 attacks in the U.S., Torrance as home captain decided to start the match with morning fourballs in a bid to give Europe a flying start, followed by afternoon foursomes.

That format was to be repeated the next day with fourballs followed by foursomes but, after a rethink on strategy, this year he has decided to go with foursomes to start the second round and afternoon fourballs.

Torrance explained: "With four-ball starting and four-ball last, I can put my strongest pairings out in the first series and my strongest in the last series.

"In foursomes I'll probably test people. If I'm going to play everyone before the singles, I would rather put someone not entirely on top of his game out in the foursomes."

"We've also been better at foursomes over the years, so now we've got foursomes, foursomes and maybe there's a chance there to nick a wee lead."

In foursomes matches, players take alternate shots using one ball.

U.S. captain Curtis Strange said last year that any changes in format are the home captain's prerogative.

European captain Seve Ballesteros opted to start the 1997 Ryder Cup at Valderrama in Spain with fourball matches, with Europe going on to triumph by 14-1/2 points to 13-1/2.

This year, Europe will be bidding to regain the Ryder Cup from the U.S., who won the 1999 contest at Brookline by 14-1/2 points to 13-1/2.

Schedule for the 34th Ryder Cup, which takes place at The Belfry in England from September 27-29:

September 27: Four fourball matches starting from 0700 GMT; four foursomes matches starting from 1230.

September 28: Four foursomes matches starting from 0700; four fourball matches started from 1130.

September 29: Twelve singles matches starting from 1015.


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