Ryder Cup 2018: Team USA Early Favourites
Undoubtedly one of the highlights of the 2018 golfing calendar will be the 42nd edition of the most highly-anticipated team event in the sport, as the USA and Europe do battle once again for the Ryder Cup, this time in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, a suburb southwest of Paris.
This year's spectacle will be only the second time the event has been hosted in Continental Europe, with further spice added due to Team USA's poor recent record on foreign soil. In fact, not since 1993 at The Belfry have the Americans managed to win away from home.
We've been thinking of the stand-out reasons why Team USA will go into this year's competition as worthy favourites; let's see what we've come up with.
As the 2017/18 PGA Tour season comes to a close this September, a troupe of richly talented American golfers will descend upon Le Golf National.
As well as the steely grit of new 'Mr Ryder Cup' Patrick Reed, U.S. captain Jim Furyk will have the talent of Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, and Rickie Fowler at his disposal and, at present, all are within the world's top ten.
Furthermore, it's unlikely to have escaped your notice that the above list of players includes three of last year's four separate major champions, as well as the current world number one.
Catch Patrick Reed's eagle hole-out from Hazeltine. His celebration was pretty pumped, obviously:
The hallmark of successful European sides over the past 25 years - other than their unquestionable talent - has been their togetherness and great team spirit.
With the emergence of the 'Class of 2011' on Tour headed by Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas - and solid friendships with the likes of Rickie Fowler - it's there for all to see that the mood in the American camp is one reminiscent of dominant teams of years gone by.
We've all seen the Spring Break photos, right?
The benefit of youthful exuberance and familiarity is perfectly complemented by the experience of the 'older heads' - Phil Mickelson, Zach Johnson and, of course, Furyk himself.
As arguably the most impressive golfer on the planet, Dustin Johnson will certainly be a fearsome opponent for the Europeans. No single man on either side can match the 2016 U.S. Open champion for driving distance, while his short game has improved immeasurably over the past few years.
Johnson was in dominating form last time out at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and will be hoping he can maintain his form into the major season and beyond.
With six points from an available 11 in his Ryder Cup career thus far, the current world's best golfer will be looking to improve his points haul when he tees it up at Le Golf National.
If TaylorMade's new 'Twist Face' technology is as good as DJ suggests, then it would seem he has every chance. With the new M4 in the bag for the win at Kapalua he almost holed his par-4 tee shot.
Desire to go back-to-back
Not since the above-mentioned victory at The Belfry has the 'Stars and Stripes' been unfurled in celebration of back-to-back wins.
The players' passion and the, at times, unruly home support evident at Hazeltine National perfectly demonstrates their thirst for continued success in the event.
There will be a determination to further dismantle the notion of European dominance and if they are to do just that then, as they say, there's no time like the present.
Catch the winning moment from 2016 below:
Wondering how Team Europe could get the win? Here's what we think could swing it the other way.
Who do you fancy for this year's Ryder Cup? Are Team USA worthy favourites or can Europe wrestle the trophy back once again? Let us know below.