It is finally here! The Ryder Cup! By far one of my favorite events in all of sports. The bi-annual event between Team USA and Team Europe kicks off this Friday. The 39th edition of the Ryder Cup is at Medinah Country Club outside of Chicago. The US team is led by Captain Davis Love III and the European squad is captained by Jose Maria Olazabal. Both men are Ryder Cup veterans and have played against each other in the past. This is going to be good.
The PGA Tour just finished is season with the Tour Championship at East Lake C.C. In Atlanta. Seventeen of the players in the field of 30 are competing in the Ryder Cup. All 12 Americans were in the Tour Championship and 5 of the European Team members were as well. There is a truckload of talent between the two teams. All 12 of the Team USA members are ranked in the top 25 in the Official World Rankings. Team Europe has 7 players in the top 25. This is the most talent ever in the Ryder Cup.
So here are some questions. Will we see Rory vs Tiger? Who is DL3 going to pair together? Can the Europeans overcome what is expected to be a hostile US crowd? Can Team USA live up to the expectations and win?
First, I think we will see Rory vs Tiger on Friday. I think DL3 and Jose Maria will give the fans what they want to see. That is the only way to guarantee McIlroy and Woods play against each other. Sunday singles matches is near impossible to line them up. Unless both captains put them up in the first or last match on Sunday figuring the other will do the same. So I think we will get this matchup during the four-ball or foursome matches.
Pairings. Of course we all know that Captain Davis will go with the pairing of Woods/Stricker right of the bat. That is why Steve is on this team, to be paired with Tiger. This pairing has worked in the past. Keegan Bradley has said he wants to play with Phil Mickelson. I think it makes sense. Put a steady Eddie rookie with The Ryder Cup veteran “Phil the Thrill”. That would be a solid pair. Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson have also said they would like to play together. Both are calm and cool customers. I think that pair could be sneaky point hogs for Team USA. And what about FedEx Cup Champ Brandt Snedeker? Who does this Ryder Cup rookie play with? Furyk? Dustin Johnson? Capt. DL3 has so much talent on this roster that I am not sure if he can go wrong with whomever he runs out there.
Finally, I believe the crowd will be a HUGE factor. In this day and age of Twitter, Facebook and the Internet, fans on the grounds will know exactly what is going on all over the course and be able to react accordingly. This could prove to be an advantage for the Americans. The fans will instantly know match status and how hard to route on the US Team or worse…jeer and heckle the Europeans. That will be something Team Europe will have to deal with for sure.
My prediction: Captain Davis Love III brings the Cup back to stay on American soil.
Team USA wins 15 1/2 – 12 1/2.
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