Team USA Preview
The 39th Ryder Cup
The Americans will be the first to admit that in recent years the Europeans have been dominating the golf scene, both in terms of the World rankings and in Ryder Cup golf. The Europeans have won six of the last eight Ryder Cups going back to Oak Hill in 1995, and Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer and Luke Donald have flourished at the top of the golf rankings whilst Tiger Woods and co. have rather struggled to keep up in recent years. However the tide is turning and Davis Love III's team go into this week as the firm 4/6 favourites to lift the Ryder Cup at Medinah. So why this confidence all of a sudden, will home advantage really give the hosts that much of a boost?
History shows that home advantage is a big deal. The Europeans have gone two decades unbeaten on home soil, whilst the American's have picked up three of their four victories since 1985 on US soil. Chicago is a massive sports town and after missing out on the Olympics they will be delighted to entertain the World's best golfers in a televised event that will be screened on a worldwide stage. It will be a hostile environment for the Europeans. It will all be in good jest, however, year on year the Ryder Cup is the one event in golf where fans are encouraged to get involved and test the visitors.
The PGA Tour has produced the top golfer's this year, Webb Simpson and Bubba Watson both won Majors in 2012, along with McIlroy's US Open victory which could also signal a win for the US Tour. Team America has seven Major winners in comparison with four on the European side, and that could tell under the extreme pressure of the Ryder Cup.
Davis Love has also had a hand in the set up of the golf course. With consistent big hitters throughout his team, including Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson, the US Captain has asked for widening landing areas at 320 yards and soft greens in order to make it a course set up for many birdies. The theory is once the birdies start flowing, so will the partisan home crowd, making it increasing difficult for the Europeans to cope.
The selection process has also been more difficult for the US Team. The average world ranking of the US Ryder Cup team is just over 12, whilst it is closer to 19 for the Europeans. The rookies for USA are on fire. Brant Snedeker has just scoped $10 million in the FedExCup, Keegan Bradley won at Bridgestone only a few weeks ago and Jason Dufner has been consistently good all year.
Did we forget to mention Tiger Woods? The 14-time Major Champion has not lost his air of invincibility in its entirety. He still has the ability to intimidate his opponents despite The Ryder Cup not being his preferred format. The current world number two is back to playing some incredible golf and if he gets going with the putter, then expect the crowd to become unplayable for his opponents.
The public are being encouraged to wear red on the final day three of the tournament to produce and incredible spectacle in Chicago. Currently at 4/6 to win the singles on day three, where historically the Americans are very strong, this looks to be an interesting bet. As long as the score is tight and points are required on the final day, the Americans should be a good bet on Sunday at Medinah. All of the above points to a landslide win for Davis Love III, I'm sure the Europeans will have something to say about it, but it does look like this will be a big win on home soil for Team USA!