The 2014 edition of the Ryder Cup kicks off in just a few weeks’ time at Gleneagles in Scotland and there is plenty to note heading into the contest. Team USA have reportedly fell apart over the last month and very few golfers head into the contest with Team Europe on the back of any momentum. Team Europe, however, have gone strength to strength with their team and are the looking good value for a win on their very own European soil.
The PGA Tour should have in theory created a major wave of momentum for Team USA to ride into the Ryder Cup on the back of, but sadly that will be far from the true story when they arrive in Scotland for September 23rd.
To put this into context: a pair of Americans – in the shape of Chris Kirk and Billy Horschel – emerged as prime candidates for two of Team USA captain Tom Watson’s wildcard picks, but the golfing veteran instead opted for different personal.
Both Kirk and Horschel are leading the race for the FedEx Cup and PGA Tour glory as they head into the Tour Championship. Horschel also won the last event, the BMW Championship that was staged in Cherry Hills last weekend and the decision to exclude the pair from the Ryder Cup team has come under intense scrutiny from the media, especially considering the fact that very few of the USA Team have had strong performances in recent outings.
Rickie Fowler has been ever present at the periphery of major tournament glory all year long and Jim Furyk has also been there and thereabouts, but aside from that there is no-one else on the USA Team that offers a great deal of excitement like Rory McIlroy or Ian Poulter will do for Team Europe. One website has even offered this very blunt Ryder Cup preview as a damning preview of what they believe is to come from the biennial competition.
In stark comparison, Team Europe come into the competition with a whirlwind of momentum and excitement, with many golfers on the team sheet offering up promising performances over the past few months.
McIlroy may have twice four-putted over the BMW Championship weekend but despite this, he still posted his best score on the fourth and final round (which also brought about the second of the four puts) so it is unwise to assume he is out of sorts heading into Gleneagles.
Ian Poulter meanwhile is undefeated in singles play at the Ryder Cup and has an astounding 12 wins out of 15 games he has played during the four times he has featured for Team Europe. He is also remembered fondly by fans for his part in the unrivalled last day turnaround we saw Team Europe complete last time out to steal victory for the jaws of Team USA.
The enthusiasm surrounding the host of impressive and exciting options for Team Europe – paired with the furore over Team USA’s inability to choose those players that both the fans and the media believed deserved a place in the line-up – makes it hard to expect anything else than Team Europe retaining their crown come the end of September.