The 2010 Ryder Cup Preview

By Aaron M Smith

It consists of two teams, 24 golfers and 3 days of spectacular golf. The tournament has been held every other year for the past 83 years, stopping only for a World War and the September  11th terrorist attacks.  It is the Ryder Cup.  The tournament features the United States against most of Europe, with the venue alternating between courses in the United States and Europe. The 2008 Ryder Cup was held at the Valhalla Country Club in Louisville, Kentucky and featured a spectacular United States victory over a heavily favored European team. The 2010 Ryder Cups starts this weekend and is hosted by the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, Wales.

The Ryder Cup is aptly named after the man who donated the original trophy back in 1927 by Samuel Ryder.  The tournament takes place over three days with a total of 28 matches. Friday features 4 four-ball matches in the morning, followed by 4 foursome matches in the afternoon. The same type of matches are on Saturday, but the format flips. On Sunday there are single matches (12 of them) and all team members must play.  The winner is determined by the number of points accumulated by either winning or halving the matches. The reigning Ryder Cup champion only needs 14 points to retain the cup.

The Europeans have won 5 of the last 7 Ryder Cups.  The 2008 United States’ victory at Valhalla ended a 6 year reign by the Europeans. Before that, the previous United States victory happened at the Country Club of Brookline in 1999 and  occured under both spectacular and controversial circumstances.

The 2010 United States team features 5 Ryder Cup rookies. Let’s meet them:

Phil Mickelson (10-14-6 Ryder Cup record)

Hunter Mahan (2-0-3)

Bubba Watson  (Debut)

Jim Furyk (8-13-3)

Steve Stricker (0-2-1)

Dustin Johnson (Debut)

Jeff Overton (Debut)

Matt Kuchar (Debut)

Stewart Cink (4-7-4)

Rickie Fowler (Debut)

Zach Johnson (1-2-1)

Tiger Woods (9-13-2)

Captain – Cory Pavin

Thoughts:  Only Hunter Mahan has a winning record on the US team. Does that affect the team’s psyche heading into the tournament?  5 rookies and on foreign soil – will the pressure get to them? We have seen how Dustin Johnson does under the pressure of majors – ouch.  In light of recent comments by Rory McIlroy – will Tiger Woods make him eat them? Between Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson what will be the over/under on the numbers of greens that are driven?

Let’s meet the European Team, which features 6 Ryder Cup rookies:

Luke Donald (5-1-1)

Ross Fisher (Debut)

Pete Hanson (Debut)

Padraig Harrington (7-11-3)

Miguel Angel Jimenez (2-7-3)

Martin Kaymer (Debut)

Graeme McDowell (2-1-1)

Rory McIlroy (Debut)

Edoardo Molinari (Debut)

Francesco Molinari (Debut)

Ian Poulter (5-2-0)

Lee Westwood (2-4-0)

Captain – Colin Montgomerie

Thoughts:  6 rookies on the European team, but they are home. Home course advantage should work in their favor, but if the Europeans fall behind, will they succumb to the pressure? How much pink will they allow Ian Poulter to wear?   Europeans have been playing well, with 2 of the major champions on the Ryder Cup team – so they have to be favorites. But they were the favorites in 2008 – don’t expect the Europeans to take the United States team lightly like they did in 2008.

Prediction:  Europe is favored, but the United States team relishes the underdog role. I am going with a mild upset. United States retains the Ryder Cup.

Care to make a prediction??

2 Responses to "The 2010 Ryder Cup Preview"

  1. Wally   September 29, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    Smitty —
    Is this Celtic Manor course similar to the links courses that we always see in the British Open, or is it more like the courses played in the States? If it’s like the typical British Open courses, I’ll bet that Europe wins fairly handily. But if it’s like US courses, I’ll predict a very narrow nail-biting win for Europe as well. But I will be rooting for the Yanks, of course. Maybe the new youngsters will come through.

  2. Smitty   September 29, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    Wally –

    Everything I have read points to Celtic Manor being a cross between styles of courses. Apparently it this way intentionally for the sole purpose of hosting a Ryder Cup tournament.

    My main concern is the weather. Let’s face it – the PGA has a big habit of playing in nice weather. If it is raining and windy – are the US players going to handle it.

    Interesting today – apparently it rained heavily this morning. The US team practiced in it so they could get an idea of how the course would handle when wet. The European team waited until the rain let up. Might not mean much come Friday, but the fact that the US is preparing for bad weather is smart coaching on Corey Pavin’s part.

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