Ryder Cup 2010: Europe and USA ready to do battle

By Ron Furlong
Colin Montgomerie
(Photo: Mike Davis)

Colin Montgomerie

The world of golf has finally descended upon Wales and the Celtic Manor Resort for the 2010 Ryder Cup.

The Americans are in town and are looking to defend their home victory at Valhalla in 2008. The European team are the home favourites which is not a surprise – rarely does the visiting side come and win on the other’s ground in these matches.

The European team, captained by Ryder Cup legend Colin Montgomerie, is made up of Lee Westwood, Luke Donald, Ian Poulter, Miguel Angel-Jimenez, Eduardo and Francesco Molinari, Rory McIlroy, Martin Kaymer, Padraig Harrington, Ross Fisher, Peter Hanson and Graeme McDowell.

The US squad, led by Corey Pavin, consists of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Zach Johnson, Stewart Cink, Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson, Hunter Mahan, Matt Kuchar, Steve Stricker, Jeff Overton, Bubba Watson and Fed Ex Cup winner Jim Furyk.

Both teams are laced with inexperience. For the Americans, Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Jeff Overton, Rickie Fowler and Bubba Watson are all making their first Ryder Cup appearances. Only Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk and Stewart Cink could be called Ryder Cup veterans.

And it’s a similar story on the European side. No experience with Fisher, Hanson, Kaymer, both Molinari brothers and McIlroy, with Westwood, Poulter, Donald, Jimenez and Harrington the veterans.

Most of the European players have had strong years. Kaymer is perhaps the best on the European Tour, and Westwood on the PGA.

Westwood reinjured a calf late in the summer that slowed down a very strong year, perhaps his best ever, but he is said to be fit and ready for the main event.

On the American side Kuchar has enjoyed what was arguably the best year on the PGA Tour, and Furyk arrives on the back of his Tour Championship win and the Fed Ex Cup title.

Mickelson and Woods struggled for most of the year, although the former did win the first major of the season in the Masters back in April. Both of them, however, have played better of late.

Team play makes up the schedule on Friday and Saturday, with foursome and fourball play both days. The singles matches finish up the Ryder Cup on Sunday. The Americans need 14 of the possible 28 points in order to hold on to the cup. And Europe need 14-and-a-half points to steal it back.

Celtic Manor’s 2010 Course, as it is called, should slightly favour the Europeans. The greens will be a tad slower than the American’s are generally used to, and the fairways tight and the rough long. The American side tends to have longer hitters, but they are less accurate.

There is water in play on about half of the holes. The front nine is predominantly a links style course, while the back nine is a more American-type water hazard layout.

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