Team Europe Preview
The 39th Ryder Cup
Statistics are all on the side of the Europeans in the Ryder Cup and it may come as a surprise to many that Jose Maria Olazabal's side go into the event at Medinah Golf Course as the 6/4 outsiders. The Europeans have won six of the last eight Ryder Cup's including two famous wins on US soil and matchplay is certainly the majority of the European's cup of tea.
The environment is bound to be hostile. Let's face it the Americans are not the best losers that the world has ever seen and they will be smarting from their recent record in this tournament. Davis Love III has encouraged the city of Chicago to get behind their team and create a unique atmosphere that will make it tough for the Europeans to produce a victory. However this will not be the first time the Europeans have had to deal with a partisan US crowd. In 2004 in Detroit Team Europe nullified the atmosphere by getting ahead on the scoreboard. They romped to an 18.5 - 9.5 victory which still remains as a record.
Although 2012 has seen a swing in the World rankings, the Europeans have dominated over the past couple of years. Lee Westwood, Luke Donald, Martin Kaymer and Rory McIlroy have all held top-spot at one stage or another and have managed to break the monopoly that Tiger Woods has held over the position. We have also seen players such as Justin Rose, Luke Donald and Rory McIlroy all ply their trade on the US Tour and these players are used to the demands and style of US courses.
The European dominance in recent Ryder Cups has been achieved by outscoring their opponents on the Foursomes and Fourballs during the first two days of the tournament. The European Tour players have a certain familiarity with themselves that has created a strong dressing room atmosphere. The pairings have worked well together and the Americans have struggled to keep pace in order to give themselves a chance in the final day singles where they are historically very strong. Nicolas Colsaerts beat Graeme Mcdowell in the final of the Volvo World Matchplay in May, an event that Ian Poulter won the year before and demonstrated his preference of matchplay golf over stroke play. Olazabal will hope that these players, along with Ryder Cup old boy Sergio Garcia can pick up crucial points on the first two days in order to dampen down the excitable home crowds.
In terms of individual points scorers though, Luke Donald could be the one to watch for the Europeans. He is 6-0 in Ryder Cup foursomes and four of these have come alongside playing partner Sergio Garcia. 11/2 looks tempting on him being Team Europe's top player with Sergio as big as 8/1.
The Tiger Woods effect has now been replaced by the Rory McIlroy effect. Greg Norman was able to get under the skin of the former number one when he questioned Tiger whether or not he was intimidated by the young Northern Irishman. The American crowd have really been behind Rory and if he can produce some magic at Medinah, then the crowd could become partial about a bit of European success.