In a world where sporting fixtures are losing importance and bulging schedules are boring the fan, there are still some titanic events on the calendar that are every bit as mustard as they always have been. The Ryder Cup is one such event, and it is taking place this weekend at the Medinah Country Club in the USA.
The Ryder Cup is to golf what the next Twilight movie is to a socially awkward 14 year old girl. It is all consuming, all inspiring and all that matters when it is played. So let’s get into it!
To give you a brief history of what we are talking about here, since 1979 (when the European team was officially created as a progression from the Great Britain team) these two teams have played each other 16 times, Europe have won 8, USA 7 and there has been 1 draw.
Interestingly though, 5 of the USA’s wins came between 1979 and 1993, with 6 of Europe’s wins coming from 1995 onwards. The Europeans have then had the ascendency in more recent times and are also the current cup holders. Favourites? In my mind yes, but let’s first have a look at the USA team to see what they are bringing to this particular party.
Captain: Davis Love III
Dustin Johnson – captain’s pick
Jim Furyk – captain’s pick
Brandt Snedeker – captain’s pick
Steve Stricker – captain’s pick
On paper you could say this is the better team, all 12 players can be found in the top 23 in the world and amongst them you almost have the perfect blend of youth and experience. There is also the home ground advantage which is huge in this event, and with the crowds no doubt chanting U-S-A whenever possible, Team USA look primed to kick some ass.
Here’s the thing though, Tiger aint what he used to be, same can be said for Bitch Tits Mickelson, Stricker and Furyk – experienced, yes, feared, no. There is no denying the quality of this team, but for me in this pressure cooker situation I just don’t see the likes of Snedeker, Simpson, Johnson, Dufner and Bradley bringing enough game to topple the Europeans.
The Ryder Cup is golf sternest examination of your game, it also requires you to combine well with others, and again I see the Yanks coming off second on this front. In short they won’t take a pumping, like I said there is enough class here to keep them in the contest, but when it comes for the kick at the end, I reckon there is only one true champion in this contest.
Captain: Jose Marie Olazabal
Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland)
Justin Rose (England)
Graeme McDowell (Northern Ireland)
Paul Lawrie (Scotland)
Francesco Molinari (Italy)
Luke Donald (England)
Lee Westwood (England)
Sergio Garcia (Spain)
Peter Hanson (Sweden)
Martin Kaymer (Germany)
Ian Poulter (England) – captain’s pick
Nicolas Colsaerts (Belgium) – captain’s pick
Yes, this is them. To do the same assessment of world rankings, Team Europe is slightly worse off fitting into the top 35 places in the world. They do though have players in places 1,3,4 and 5 however and this underlines the key difference between the two teams for me – quality.
Based around a core made up of McIlroy, Rose, Westwood, Donald, Garcia, Poulter and Kaymer you have players that know a fair amount about golf State’s side and have all been in the thick of things over the past 5 – 8 years. The only one perhaps shy in experience is McIlroy, but we won’t look into this too much seeing as he is kinda the best in the world right now.
This kind of tournament suits these kinds of players, they have a more natural team dynamic amongst them making them more comfortable in the pairings, and then a natural thrill for competition that makes them well up for the Matchplay. A prime example of this is Ian Poulter, not someone you would bet your house on from week to week, but in the Ryder Cup the guy becomes a total different prospect and would quite literally eat the heart out of his opponent’s chest cavity if needed. Okay, perhaps a bit harsh, but this is what this European team brings to the table. They are good enough to klap the Yanks, and their desire to do so is completely unquestionable.
Amongst the lesser names not too much can be said about Lawrie, Molinari, Hansen and Colsaerts as they don’t quite have the same sort of global standing, but each of these players have their own qualities that makes them deserving of being here. Lawrie is experiencing a delightful rejuvenation in his career and has a wonderful all round game, Molinari is the kind of player that can easily go low on a course which makes him great for such an event were the nature of the golf is often attacking. Hansen is a consistent performer who will certainly be no push over against any opposition, and then with the Belgian Colsaerts you have a big hitting rookie capable of delivering a killer blow to just about anyone.
Then there is the little matter of the Seve factor. This is the first Ryder Cup since the death of the inspirational Spaniard who became an icon of this tournament in his life. His image is printed on the bags of the European players and will no doubt spur them on to all sorts of heroics over this weekend. So I’m going cock on block with Europe here for the win, and I shall be watching just about every minute of it as they do so!
SCHEDULE – All live on SuperSport
Thursday, Sept 27
11pm-12:00am: Opening ceremony
Friday, Sept 28
2:20pm: Foursomes tee times start
7:05/8:05pm: Fourball tee times start
Saturday, Sept 29
2:20pm: Foursomes tee times start
7:05pm: Fourball tee times start
Sunday, Sept 30
6:03 – 8:04pm: Singles tee times
00:30am (Mon): Closing ceremony (approx. 30mins after play concludes)
For everything else you would ever want to know about this great tournament – click here to visit the official website