I am particularly looking forward to the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles starting on Friday. In case you’re new to the event, here’s a quick crash course. On Day One Europe and the United States will fight each other in four fourballs contests as well as four foursomes battles. The format repeats itself on Saturday before Sunday’s matchplay duels.
This all makes up 28 points that the two trans-Atlantic rivals are vying for. First one to 14.5 points wins. The event started out as a fixture between Great Britain and the United States of America but the USA dominated to such an extent that the UK began adding players from continental Europe in 1979 and although it took a few years, from the 1990s it was a very even contest indeed.
Or was it?
Once the Europeans bagged the 1995 Ryder Cup at Oakhill Country Club, it has been pretty much one way traffic in favour of the old world. In fact, Europe has dominated so much that the yanks have won just twice since 1993; 1999 at Brookline and 2008 at Valhalla. They should have won in 2012 too.
Carrying an almost unassailable 12-4 lead into Sunday’s singles the Americans had the Ryder Cup virtually in the bag. However, under the leadership of Jose Maria Olazabal, the visitors staged one of the most miraculous comebacks in the history of sport to retain their title.
In 2014 Paul McGinley will captain the hosting Europeans while Tom Watson skippers the visitors. World rankings go out the window for this one, particularly because the ratings are based on strokeplay events and none of the Ryder Cup bouts are played in that format.
The Americans claim to be hungrier than ever to reclaim the trophy but will McGinley’s lot concede on home turf? Not without a fight they won’t. The hosts will boast the likes of Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia and Henrik Stenson. Watson’s stars comprise players like Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson and Jim Furyk.
I’m going to tip the away team to wrest the Ryder Cup back. I just feel that in spite of a partisan Scottish crowd, the Americans are hurting over what has happened in recent Ryder Cups and will play above themselves as required. The way they lost on home turf should leave them more motivated than ever to reclaim the trophy. However, my guess is that it will not be surprising if we yet again see a 14.5-13.5 scoreline.