NEWPORT (AFP) United States captain Corey Pavin teamed veteran Phil Mickelson with rising star Rickie Fowler in pairings for the opening practice of the 38th Ryder Cup here Tuesday. Mickelson, 40, a seven-time Ryder Cup veteran and a four-time major winner, lined up alongside Fowler, 21, on the opening tee as the Americans began the final countdown to the defence of their title at Celtic Manor. A Mickelson-Fowler partnership would be a marriage of two generations of American golf rookie Fowler was just three years old when world number two Mickelson won his first PGA Tour event as an amateur in 1991. Fowler is the first golfer in history to play the Walker Cup and Ryder Cup in consecutive years, and was arguably the most surprising of Pavins four wildcard selections. In other US pairings, Steve Stricker and Zach Johnson teed off alongside Hunter Mahan and Tiger Woods. Stricker and Woods however are tipped to be reunited for Fridays opening foursomes and fourballs after forging a successful partnership at last years Presidents Cup where they were won all four matches together. Meanwhile Europe captain Colin Montgomerie sprang no surprises in his pairings for the opening practice, which was to get under way later Tuesday. As expected, Northern Ireland duo Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy were partnered, as were Italys World Cup-winning siblings Edoardo and Francesco Molinari. Also paired were Ryder Cup stalwart Lee Westwood and Germanys US PGA champion Martin Kaymer. Westwood and Kaymers practice group was completed with Miguel Angel Jimenez and Peter Hanson. The last group featured Luke Donald, Ross Fisher, wildcard Padraig Harrington and Ian Poulter.