WFAA Sports Blogger
Posted on September 28, 2012 at 2:39 AM
Friday, Sep 28 at 2:43 AM
Unless you're talking about one of the majors or a sex scandal involving a man whose name is the same as one of the more popular zoo animals, golf really isn't top of mind to the masses. That could change Friday as the Ryder Cup kicks off and the golfers of the United States look to take the Cup back from their European counterparts.
The Ryder Cup is not like a normal golf tournament for a number of reasons, but one that stands out is the sense of pride and unity. It's one of the rare times where fans are actually encouraged to be rowdy. This year, the USA has the home field advantage as the Cup is being played at Medinah. Ryder Cup tradition allows the home captain to set up the course, and it's been understood that Davis Love III has requested a long course with extremely fast greens to help give the US an advantage.
For those not familiar, the Ryder cup is played every two years and is comprised of two teams, The United States and Europe. Each team's roster is selected differently. For the United States, the top 8 players on the Ryder Cup Points list automatically make the squad, and there are 4 captain's selections. As for Europe, they have two captain's selections and five apiece from the European Ryder Cup Points List and the World Ryder Cup Points list.
Here's this year's rosters.
Team Captain: Davis Love III
Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson, Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar, and Phil Mickelson. The four captain's selections are Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk, Brandt Snedeker, and Dustin Johnson.
Team Captain: Jose Maria Olazabal
Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Paul Lawrie, Graeme McDowell, Francesco Molinari, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, Peter Hanson, Martin Kaymer, Nicolas Colsaerts, and Ian Poulter
One of the things that makes the Ryder Cup so fun is the different formats which enter into play. The point system is quirky, in that eatch match is worth 1 point. This year, the United States will need 14 1/2 points to win the cup, while Europe only needs 14 to retain it.
Here's a look at the format.
Friday and Saturday: 4 Foursome (Alternate Shot) Matches in the AM and 4 Fourball (Best Ball) Matches in the PM
Sunday: 12 Singles Matches
Tiger Woods historically has underwhelmed in the Ryder Cup, and much is already being made about his Sunday matchup with Rory McIlroy . Tiger will play with Steve Stricker on Friday morning. As for Phil Mickelson, he'll be partnered up with Keegan Bradley, a Ryder Cup rookie. Also on Friday morning, Jim Furyk is partnered up with Fed Ex Cup champ Brandt Snedeker, while Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner also get a shot early Friday morning.
On the European side, anybody partnered up with Rory McIlroy should have success, and Graeme McDowell, who has struggled of late will play with Rory on Friday morning. Sergio Garcia has been playing really well of late and is 8-0-1 in the foursomes format. He'll be with Luke Donald, at least for the first go round on Friday morning.
Overall, I feel like the Americans have the advantage, but the European players who struggled early in the year have really begun to play well over the past few weeks. I think the atmosphere of the home crowd, along with length of the course, will really play into the Americans' hands. I think things will be extremely close, and I definitely wouldn't put money on it, but I'm picking the Americans to win by a score of 14 1/2 to 13 1/2.
Kevin Turner is a reporter and producer at Sports Radio 1310, The Ticket. He's ready to talk Rangers, Ryder Cup and racoons (just less so) on his Twitter, @kt1310