Rory McIlroy Phil Mickelson
Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson will go up against each other in the Ryder Cup 2016 foursomesReuters

Danny Willett will not play in the opening foursome of the Ryder Cup 2016 for Team Europe, after Darren Clarke decided to leave out the Masters champion following an offensive article about Americans written by the player's brother. However, all that should quickly go into the back burner, because the pairings of both the Americans and the Europeans look interesting, promising a great start to the Ryder Cup this year at Hazeltine.

Europe come into the Ryder Cup as the champions and while this team is a much-changed one to the side that won two years ago, Clarke remains confident of doing well.

The biggest talking point of the pairings from both teams is Willett's exclusion. The Englishman was expected to be paired with compatriot Lee Westwood for the opening foursomes, but due to the far-from-appropriate article and his struggles in practice, Clarke decided to pair the veteran Westwood with the rookie Thomas Pieters.

"I was disappointed in what he wrote and obviously it put a bit of a downer on my first Ryder Cup for the last couple of days," Willett said.

"It's not been too bad with the fans. The fans have still been great. There's a few shouts out there but you can expect that. Obviously coming to America, you're already a bit of a target, the European team, the 12 guys.

"And yeah, it kind of centred the attention a bit more upon myself. You don't mind the odd bit of heckling but hope it doesn't go too far."

Willett will hope to be involved in the four-balls later in the day, but for now all he can do is cheer his teammates and hope Europe start well against USA.

Foursome pairings for Day 1: Jordan Spieth/Patrick Reed (USA) vs Justin Rose/Henrik Stenson (Europe).

Phil Mickelson/Rickie Fowler (USA) vs Rory McIlroy/Andy Sullivan (Europe).

Jimmy Walker/Zach Johnson (USA) vs Sergio Garcia/Martin Kaymer (Europe).

Dustin Johnson/Matt Kuchar (USA) vs Thomas Pieters/Lee Westwood (Europe).

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