The Front Nine: Only the groundskeepers are up earlier than us. Each morning this week, we're first off the tee with a front nine-worthy collection of helpful pointers to get your Ryder Cup day started. Fore!

1. Today's weather

Sunrise is 7:09 a.m. Sixteen minutes later, the first shot of the Ryder Cup will be struck. Expect a cool morning for those first matches, with a temperature in the low 50s. By the time the afternoon four-ball matches get underway the forecast calls for similar conditions to Thursday's weather: Sunshine and upper 60s.

2. Times and tickets

Gates open at 6:30 a.m.

Friday morning foursome (alternate shot) matches:

Match 1 (7:35 a.m.) Jordan Spieth/Patrick Reed vs. Henrik Stenson/Justin Rose

Match 2 (7:50 a.m.) Phil Mickelson/Rickie Fowler vs. Rory McIlroy/Andy Sullivan

Match 3 (8:05 a.m.) Jimmy Walker/Zach Johnson vs. Sergio Garcia/Martin Kaymer

Match 4 (8:20 a.m.) Dustin Johnson/Matt Kuchar vs. Lee Westwood/Thomas Pieters

Sitting out for the U.S.: J.B. Holmes, Brooks Koepka, Ryan Moore, Brandt Snedeker

Sitting out for Europe: Rafa Cabrera Bello, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Chris Wood, Danny Willett

Friday's afternoon four-ball (best ball) matches will begin at 12:30 p.m. with different pairings


Grounds tickets for practice days and the three-day event sold out after a lottery drawing last year. But that doesn't mean you can't get in on the action at Hazeltine. The PGA Tour's Sirus/XM satellite radio channel is running advertisements for Stub Hub a few times an hour. In the minutes after Friday morning's pairings were announced, grounds pass tickets for Friday play could be had for $147 each. Saturday's session remains the highest, at $204. A Sunday grounds ticket will set you back $177.

3. Morning reading

Here are today's top stories

Let 'er rip: The long lead-up is over; it's time to play some high-intensity golf at Hazeltine National.

Did you hear the one about the guy, the dare and the putt heard 'round the world? David Johnon of Mayville, N.D. became an instant sensation Thursday when he drained a putt on a dare from Henrik Stenson.

Hate Europe? There's no way, says columnist Patrick Reusse

4. Today:

It. Is. On. After two years of waiting since the U.S. slopped the Ryder Cup away at Gleneagles it is finally time for redemption. Here is a closer look at Friday morning's players.

Patrick Reed: Was the United States' best player in 2014 Ryder Cup, going 3-0-1 while also being the villain by putting his finger to his lips and shushing the Scottish crowd.

Jordan Spieth: Was one of the few bright spots at Gleneagles, compiling a 2-0-1 record for the U.S. in his rookie Ryder Cup weekend.

Phil Mickelson: The elder statesman is making his 11th Ryder Cup start. Benn around long enough to count Champions Tour mainstays Corey Pavin, Jay Haas and Tom Lehman as former Ryder Cup partners.

Rickie Fowler: The fan favorite has eight top-10 finishes in 22 events this season

Jimmy Walker: Six-time PGA Tour winner (and this year's PGA Championship) he was one of two players (Fowler) to compete in all five matches at Gleneagles.

Zach Johnson: Two-time major winner is playing on his fifth Ryder Cup team and is a steadying force for the younger players.

Dustin Johnson: Followed up his first major victory at Oakmont in the U.S. Open, then won his next start two weeks later.

Matt Kuchar: The Olympic bronze medalist is about as consistent as they come – 76 top 10s since 2007 – and who doesn't want that in a team competition?

5. Course tip: Where to go

If you haven't heard already, the first tee is where it's at for Ryder Cup matches. The stadium-style layout fits nearly 2,000 fans in the seats (many chanting and waving flags while clad in facepaint, wigs and custom-stitched overalls). Another 15,000 or so fans line the fairway. It's a fun sight, that's for sure. But a good tip is to beat the crowds and find your way to another front nine hole. No match can end before No. 10, so guarantee your spot

6. 'How does this work again?

Confused by what it means when a match is dormie – or don't know the difference between a foursome match and a four-ball match? We have that covered here and here.

7. Rules of the day

A reminder that cameras are not allowed on the golf course now that play has officially started. Cell phones are allowed, but PLEASE be respectful. Don't be that guy whose Kenny Loggins custom ringtone goes off just as Phil Mickelson is about to take a swing. Silence your phones. Also: Incoming and outgoing calls must be handled in designated areas known as "Phone Zones." Texting, e-mail, social posting and other data use are allowed anywhere on the golf course provided players are not about to play their shots.

Once you arrive, here's a link to the golf course

8. Star Tribune coverage

Watch for updates throughout the day. Our team includes reporters, bloggers, columnists (yes, Sid plans to stop by) photographers and videographers. Find our stories on the golf page, our photos here and follow our on-site reporters on Twitter: Jerry Zgoda, Jim Sohan, Patrick Reusse, Mark Craig, Brian Stensaas, Michael Rand and Chris Carr.

9. Eats and drinks

You want to eat? (Yes) you want to drink? (Yes) We have some fo the best spots.

The aptly named "Food Court" near the practice range and main entrance is the largest area to refuel, and with the most selection. Expect $9-$11 for a beer, $12-$15 for a cocktail, $10 for wine and $5 for a soft drink. Bottles of water are $3.

If you're *really* thirsty, the "Tilt Your Own Tap" station is near here as well (and there's another one near No. 4 green).

After showing valid ID you can buy a swipe card good for the rest of the tournament valued from $25-$100. Then, just show up back at the station, show your card and pour your own beer as you go.

A selection of burgers, chicken, sausages and wraps are available for $7-$12. For a little more the Food Court offers hot BBQ sandwiches, beer-battered walleye, meatballs, deluxe burgers and specialty sausages. Snacks, including chips, candy and the Ryder Cup favorite PB&Js are $3.