A golfer-by-golfer look at the two Ryder Cup teams
This breakdown of the individuals who will likely participate in the 2014 Ryder Cup shows just how wide the European Team's advantage really is.
The 2014 Ryder Cup is exactly one month away and I was going to write today about who can help themselves as captain's picks over the next few weeks but it would appear as if the six spots are fairly solidified.
Tom Watson will likely be taking Hunter Mahan , Keegan Bradley , and Brandt Snedeker with his three picks -- anyone else would be a mild surprise though I guess that could change if Snedeker or Bradley plays really poorly in the next week.
Paul McGinley would have to have some stones to not take Ryder Cup stalwarts Lee Westwood , Luke Donald , and Ian Poulter though that could be shaken up if Stephen Gallacher overtakes Graeme McDowell for the last automatic spot at the Italian Open this week.
But let's pretend things stay like they are for the European team and take a gander at each individual matchup as they fall according to the rankings. That is, the best US player vs. the best European player and so on.
I keep being told that this is going to be a rout for the Europeans and that very well may be the case. But I think it's going to be closer than most folks think.
First up, the hottest golfer on earth.
Rory McIlroy vs. Bubba Watson
It's ugly from the get-go for the US with this matchup. Granted, Watson could be throwing 2001 Tiger Woods at McIlroy and we'd probably have an intriguing fight on our hands.
Bubba might need them to move the venue to Augusta National to have a shot.
Henrik Stenson vs. Rickie Fowler
Did you know Fowler has never won a Ryder Cup matchup? He went 0-1-2 in his only appearance in 2010. Still, he's the one I trust on Sunday. He's the one I want out there trying to shut things down in the face of history.
I think I do, anyway:
Victor Dubuisson vs. Jim Furyk
Jim Furyk's career Ryder Cup record? How about 9-17-4. Ladies and gentlemen, the third-best player on your 2014 squad!
The other bad part is that Dubuisson has top 10s in each of the last two majors of the season. He strikes me as somebody who enjoys sniffing and tasting blood.
Jamie Donaldson vs. Jimmy Walker
In the "who cares" matchup of the top 12 I guess I give the nod to Donaldson for having won most recently. They'll both be rookies, though, but a general rule in life is death, taxes, and European rookies at the Ryder Cup.
Sergio Garcia vs. Phil Mickelson
This is so great -- the crazy Spaniard against the crazier American. Are there beer pavilions for Lefty to hit off of in Scotland? I sure hope so. And I hope there aren't any rocks:
By the way Sergio is 16-8-4 at the Ryder Cup, Mickelson is 14-18-6. Sergio is a boss.
Thomas Bjorn vs. Matt Kuchar
Another wash-y matchup as long as Kuchar doesn't try to get some light shopping in over the pond. Kuchar has had a couple of top 10s recently but not at big tournaments. Bjorn has a (barely) better career record at the Ryder Cup.
Justin Rose vs. Jordan Spieth
This is where it starts to go south for the Americans. Justin Rose, he of the 6-3-0 career Ryder Cup record, batting in the seven slot for team Europe against one of the US rookies? That's not ideal, especially given that Spieth hasn't exactly played his best golf over the last two months.
Martin Kaymer vs. Patrick Reed
Watson is going to slip Reed an iPad with this GIF playing over and over on it on the way to Scotland. That's it, just this GIF:
Graeme McDowell vs. Zach Johnson
Johnson has just one top 10 on the PGA Tour since March and that was at his own tournament (the John Deere)! McDowell has three since the British Open. McDowell is something like 94-3-1 in his career at the Ryder Cup [looks up McDowell's record] -- okay, he's not that good but it sure feels like it.
Ian Poulter vs. Keegan Bradley
This would be the craziest singles matchup in the history of the Ryder Cup. They might have to bring in a pair of straitjackets, you know, "just in case." I would be scared just watching this matchup from 3,000 miles away much less following it on the course.
Luke Donald vs. Brandt Snedeker
Don't even let them hit. Just make it a putting contest. Snedeker might have work to do to get on the team, I suppose, but in my mind he's already there.
Donald is 10-4-1 in his career. Wowza.
Lee Westwood vs. Hunter Mahan
The Sean Foley Bowl. Two of the purer ball-strikers in the world and only one of them is actually playing well and it's not the former Foley student.
Should be fun.
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