In the lead up to the most eagerly anticipated Golfing event of the year, I take a look at how the European and American teams are shaping up ahead of the 2018 Ryder Cup. The 42nd Edition of the Tournament is to take place at Le Golf National on French soil – only the second time it has been held in Continental Europe. It is a fantastic prospect and here is a short preview of what to expect come September 25th.
The European Captain Thomas Bjorn, has worked tirelessly to allow himself the best opportunity to have the strongest twelve European Players in Paris, by enabling himself to have four wildcard picks instead of the regulatory two and making sure world points and European points both count. Already firmly in the European squad are the likes of; Rose, Hatton, Fleetwood, Rahm, Mcilroy, Noren, Olesen and the high flying Molinari, fresh off his British Open triumph back in July. Of these, a couple of key names and statistics to ponder would be Olesen, with nine top ten finishes in his last ten starts he is looking like a new but necessary face in the team.
As For Wildcard picks, Bjorn has a tough task on his hands, as he will need to weigh up current form but must also consider need for experience within the squad. If Bjorn is going to overturn this stronghold of American Players he is going to need experience in his ranks. It only takes a glance back to 2016 to realize that a wise, old head counts on the big stage. The decision seems to lie between whether the old timers of Stenson and Garcia deserve a pick, with Garcia having eight Ryder Cups and Stenson not far behind. Or perhaps a few less battle hardened faces may be given a chance with Pepperell, Knox and Cabrera-Bello all hoping for the call. Finally, the household name of Ian Poulter cannot be forgotten, and with 2018 showing what Poulter is all about, climbing his way up the Fedex Cup and World Ranking leaderboards, along with his prowess in the Tournament in the past, it will be hard for Bjorn to overlook him in the run up to the event.
Ian Poulter PLAYS his best golf AT the ryder cup
As for the American team, their top eight players have already booked themselves a ticket to Paris later this Month, as captain Furyk ended the points rankings in Mid August. The top eight look incredibly formidable with three of the four major titles of 2018 within their squad thanks to Koepka and Reed. This eight boast a wealth of experience with the only rookie already having a wealth of experience on the big stage, Justin Thomas. The strength in depth doesn’t stop there as Furyk then has a decision to pick four more players to complete his squad, and among the names are merely Mickelson and Woods… Not a bad dilemma to have… Other names include Dechambeau and Schaufelle who have both proven they have what it takes to battle with the big boys, in particular Schaufelle, who was firmly in the mix down the back nine on Sunday at Carnoustie. Focusing on Woods, he has climbed a meteoric 1,173 places in the world Rankings since his return to competitive golf, and has no intention of stopping there. He has impressed increasingly in all four majors topping it off with a Second Place finish at the PGA Championship to put himself seriously in the running for a spot in Furyk’s all star twelve.
THE american team CRUCIALLY has a wealth of ryder cup experience
In my opinion, Woods encapsulates everything the Ryder cup is about, and it goes without saying that Tiger doesn’t just need the Ryder cup but the Ryder Cup needs him. He doesn’t move the needle, he is the needle, with NBC Sports ratings shooting through the roof since his return to the spotlight. The presence of the Big Cat would certainly boost the event many times over.
tiger woods doesn’t just need the ryder cup, the ryder cup needs him
Overall I believe the French Course is a perfect venue to host the 42nd Ryder cup, it is built for titanic galleries and its final five holes are set up for a grand stand finish, it may even suit the Europeans better, requiring accuracy down the final stretch. However there is an overwhelming feeling that the American’s may just be too strong. With their formidable team and upcoming wave of new stars, it is hard to see our US counterparts being overturned and are firmly odds on favourites in many eyes. However, if the stats are to be believed, with America only coming out on top once on European Soil in 25 years, we are surely in for another titanic battle.