Colin Montgomerie has finally revealed one of his Ryder Cup decisions -- not who will be handed a wild card, but how the match will start.
And following the lead of Seve Ballesteros, who considered it one of the masterstrokes of his 1997 success when he changed the format at Valderrama, Montgomerie has gone for fourballs first at Celtic Manor on October 1.
Europe's four victories in the last six matches have all come with the opening session being fourballs -- and America's two wins came when Ben Crenshaw in 1999 and Paul Azinger two years ago reverted to foursomes first.
Hal Sutton chose not to do that at Oakland Hills in 2004 and lost.
Surprisingly perhaps, Montgomerie was leaning towards foursomes earlier in the year, but with at least five uncapped players likely to be in his line-up -- Rory McIlroy, Martin Kaymer, Ross Fisher and Francesco Molinari are certainties, Peter Hanson is on course to join them and Simon Dyson or Alvaro Quiros could yet make it six -- he has gone for the safer option.
"Foursomes is the most difficult form of golf and I had a gut feeling it might favour us this time, but it's easier to get new caps involved straightaway in fourballs," he said. "Recent results also suggest it works better for us, so that's what I went for when I signed the captain's agreement."
Montgomerie's decision increases the chances of Northern Ireland pair Graeme McDowell and McIlroy kicking things off for Europe.
Both have expressed that wish after winning all three games when they led the way for Britain and Ireland against Continental Europe last September.
Meanwhile, Tiger Woods fired a six-under-par 65 at rain-softened Ridgewood Country Club yesterday for his best round of the year and a share of the first-round lead at the Barclays tournament.
Tied for the lead was fellow American Vaughn Taylor, who posted three birdies in a row from the 13th in his 65 in the opening event of the lucrative FedExCup playoffs.