Thursday 27, September 2012
Preview: Ryder Cup 2012
IT IS time again for that biennial golf event that sees Europe and the USA pitched against each other in three days of the fiercest rivalry imaginable on a golf course. The 39th renewal of the Ryder Cup takes place at Medinah Country Club, Illinois.
American Captain Davis Love III has set the course up with minimal rough, presumably to suit the American big hitters. Although the Europeans are no slouches when it comes to big hitting with players like Rory Mcilroy, Lee Westwood and Ryder Cup debutant Nicolas Colsaerts regularly bombing it over 300 yards off the tee on the longer holes.
What the course set-up does suggest is that this year’s Ryder Cup could well come down to putting and that could sway the advantage in the American team’s favour.
European captain Jose Maria Olazabal
will have worries about some of his team’s putting woes.
Although Colsaerts is
statistically strong off the tee he can look unsure of his putting. Added to
that, Garcia has had confidence issues with his putting for years.
Lee Westwood can’t buy a putt after
finishing stone last in the final play off event in the Fed Ex Cup at the
weekend. He was also last in putting stats averaging 33 putts per round.
Counter that with Brandt Snedeker who is number one in putting this year on the PGA tour and fresh off winning the Tour Championship and Fed Ex Cup. Snedeker is making his first appearance, which is surprising for someone with his talent and ability.
Plus Zach Johnson who is usually as dependable as anyone with the flat stick. Phil Mickelson with his new claw putting grip seems to have got a lot more control and, of course, the man who at the peak of his career was the best putter in the world bar none, Tiger Woods.
The final piece of the Ryder Cup jigsaw, and one of the most intriguing aspects of the event, is always the pairings the respective captains decide to go with.
Who can forget the superstar pairing of Mickelson and Woods in 2004 when they lost both of their opening day matches?
It seems very likely that Woods will
partner Steve Stricker as they have a 6-2 winning record when teaming up in the
last Ryder Cup and the Presidents Cup.
Mickelson and Keegan Bradley get on really well and practice together so that seems like another pairing that could easily happen. Otherwise the American pairings don’t seem so obvious with four debutants.
Some of the European Ryder Cup pairings
will seemingly pick themselves with the likes of McDowell and McIlroy paired
and Westwood and Martin Kaymer - who teamed up to good effect at Celtic Manor
Ian Poulter, who absolutely loves this event, has a 3-0 winning record from three different pairings in the last Ryder Cup so is obviously adaptable to varying styles of golfer when it comes to the team event.
Peter Hanson has great memories of the last Ryder Cup winning his Fourballs and Foursomes matches, although he was paired with Miguel Angel Jiminez who isn’t playing this year, that experience will stand him in great stead.
Maybe the short rough and the slick greens won’t matter as much as people believe and this could come down to the teams that captains Jose Maria Olazabal and Davis Love III go with. A couple of inspired pairings could prove crucial in opening up a lead that may be decisive come the singles matches on Sunday.
Whatever way it goes we should sit back and enjoy the most exciting golf team event on the planet.
By Brian Cruickshank
Who will win the 2012 Ryder Cup?
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