In the first of a series of two blog posts, we take a quick look at the players on each side, how the teams are shaping up, what the final team might look like and, of course, what we think of their chances. Needless to say, the US will be desperate to overturn its recent bad run but where else to start but with Europe?
There are nine automatic spots up for grabs on the European side, while Darren Clarke will complete his team with his three ‘Captain’s Picks’. The top four players qualify for the European team off the European Points List, while the top five qualify off the World Points List (if not already qualified from the European List). That means that, if picked today, the automatic nine would be:
Of that nine, five would be Ryder Cup rookies in Willett, Fitzpatrick, Sullivan, Cabrera-Bello and Pieters. However, McIlroy, Stenson, Rose and Garcia, bring more than enough ‘winning Ryder Cup’ experience.
That means, players like Martin Kaymer, Jamie Donaldson, Graeme McDowell, Victor Dubuisson, Bernd Wiesberger are all in contention as Captain’s Picks. Not a bad selection at all. And, of course, there is the ultimate Ryder Cup veteran, Ian Poulter, who will surely come into contention. If today were the day to make the picks, it would be difficult for Clarke to go wrong picking any three of those exceptional golfers.
Man for man, the US is probably slightly stronger, but when it comes to heart, courage dealing with the pressure and performing on the biggest stage of all, Europe has the advantage. Just ask Danny Willett.
Next week - The US team, and who Hole19 is tipping to win the Ryder Cup trophy.
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