The Ryder Cup 2016 – Can Europe Triumph Again or will the USA Steal the Win?

Europe’s leading golfers will be hoping to secure their fourth back-to-back victory against the USA in the 41st edition of the Ryder Cup competition this weekend. Here’s a quick guide to the event.

The Ryder Cup – A Brief Guide

The tournament, which is administered jointly by Ryder Cup Europe and the PGA of America, has been in existence since 1927 and is held every two years. A team of twelve players from the United States takes on a team of twelve from Europe, with the venue alternating between European and American courses.

Twenty-eight matches take place during the tournament and the match play scoring system is used. The schedule features four fourball and four foursome matches on each of the first and second days, and twelve singles matches on the final day.

The teams compete for the chance to become the holders of the Ryder Cup, one of the best-known golf trophies in the world; there’s no prize money on offer. The trophy, which is made from gold, was commissioned by Samuel Ryder, the official founder of the competition.

The Ryder Cup 2016 – The Course

This year’s event takes place from Friday September 30 until Sunday October 2 at the Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota. The club has played host to many major tournaments in the past, including the 1966 and 1977 US Women’s Opens, the 1970 and 1991 US Opens, and the 2002 and 2009 PGA Championships.

The 18-hole course, designed by Robert Trent Jones, is a testing one, but the potential for players to secure high scores is there. Half of the holes feature water hazards and competitors will also have to avoid losing the ball in Hazeltine Lake at the sixteenth hole. It’s a hilly course, with small greens and some cleverly placed bunkers to negotiate.

The Ryder Cup 2016 – The Teams

With six rookies in the European squad (Rafa Cabrera Bello, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Danny Willett, Andy Sullivan, Chris Wood and Thomas Pieters) and just two in the American team (Brooks Koepka and Ryan Moore), the competition looks set to be a real battle of new talent versus experience.

The Americans, who will be captained by Davis Love III, with the assistance of Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk, Tom Lehman, Steve Stricker and Bubba Watson, are seen by many as having the stronger team this time, at least on paper, thanks to the inclusion of players like Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Matt Kuchar and Zach Johnson. They also have the home advantage.

However, the European players, captained by Darren Clarke, with the help of five vice-captains (Ian Poulter, Sam Torrance, Thomas Bjorn, Padraig Harrington and Paul Lawrie), are considered to be perfectly capable of defeating the USA once more. Paul Lawrie didn’t seem worried by the Americans’ seeming advantages when he spoke to the BBC last week:

“Everyone is extremely happy with the team we have got. There are lot of unbelievable players in there,” he said.

The team includes Rory McIlroy, who won the FedEx Cup last weekend, and Olympic gold medallist, Justin Rose, alongside Sergio Garcia, Martin Kaymer, Lee Westwood, Henrik Stenson and the six rookies.

Whilst the American skipper has been quoted as saying his is “the best golf team maybe ever assembled”, there’s no doubt that the US side has a lot to prove. So could they crumble when the pressure’s on? It’s going to be a tournament to watch.

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