Thursday, September 25, 2014

Ryder Cup 2014: Payback Time

A few months ago, I was extremely down in this US Ryder Cup squad in 2014.  I gave them no chance to beat what is probably the best European team ever assembled, and I thought it was going to be a laugher.  Well there is no time for that now.  The teams are set, and the first match is only hours away.  The US is certainly an underdog, but I think they are going to give Europe all that they can handle at Gleneagles.  Here I will give you a rundown on why I think the US can win, as well as a breakdown of the Ryder Cup golfers on each squad.

1.  Home sweet home?  Right off the bat, you would think that Europe has the advantage with the tournament being on their home soil.  In terms of fans, you are right; but the course itself was actually designed by Jack Nicklaus.  It is much less a European style course than some of the others, and the bombers on the American team can thrive here.

2.  No Tiger = no Ryder Cup, right?  Wrong.  The last time Tiger Woods didn't play in a Ryder Cup was 2008, and the United States was able to knock off Europe at Valhalla.  Some people think, and I'm not going to argue either way, that Tiger can be detrimental to a Ryder Cup team because he is too intimidating to his own teammates.  He can also detract from the team because he is too popular and can't gel with everybody else.  So maybe no Tiger will lead to more team unity.

3.  Familiar pairings.  Throughout this miserable US Ryder Cup spell, the team has lacked any consistent teammates other than Tiger and Steve Stricker.  We seem to be on something now with Phil/Keegan and Webb/Bubba.  These guys trust each other and know what to expect.

4.  Captains.  Tom Watson is the guy for the job.  He has captained a Ryder Cup team to a win on European soil before, and simply does NOT like to lose.  This would mean as much to him as anything else in his career.  Paul McGinley has never won a PGA Tour event, and I think is unaware and unequipped for the pressure cooker situation he is about to be thrown into.

5.  Sick and tired.  A lot of these United States guys have to be absolutely sick of hearing about their recent defeats in the Ryder Cup.  Nine out of the 12 Americans have been a part of the last two bitter defeats at the hands of Europe.  They are not complacent, they want to get the monkey off their back. Simply put, THIS HAS TO STOP.

Rory McIlroy- Rory looked absolutely unbeatable down the stretch this season, and is easily the best golfer in the world right now.  He and Graeme McDowell usually make for a guaranteed pairs point, but they are feuding this year due to Rory's lawsuit against his former management company. Couple that with the fact that Rory is testing a new driver this week?  It's probably nothing, but it seems like something.  Win or lose, the guy is an absolute mouth-breather.

Graeme McDowell- Absolutely ruthless match player with a knack for making the biggest putts at crucial times.  He's had a down year this year, but he still scares the crap out of me.

Sergio Garcia- Sergio has 18 points in the Ryder Cup; one of the highest totals of all time.  However, 16 of those 18 have come in group play.  In true Sergio fashion, he consistently gets blown out in singles play.

Ian Poulter- I fundamentally don't understand Ian Poulter.  A slightly above average golfer for 23 months out of 24, then becomes an absolute monster every Ryder Cup.  He will pace the European side.  He is an animal.

Henrik Stenson- Henrik would have been unbeatable last year.  He was still solid this season, but nowhere near as dominant as in 2013.  Very sound in all aspects of the game, but he is beatable.

Martin Kaymer- The Machine was shaky at the 2012 Ryder Cup, but still made the clinching putt on Sunday.  This year, he is back to his old form.  Very worried about him.

Justin Rose- Rosey was very strong in 2012, burying putts in Phil's face all day Sunday.  Believe it or not, that is his only Ryder Cup experience.  He will be solid this weekend.

Lee Westwood- This pick was a long shot for Paul McGinley.  He is hoping Lee can catch Ryder Cup lightning in a bottle.  He has fallen way off from his top form.  He is also fat again.

Victor Dubuisson- This stinky Frenchman has no Ryder Cup experience, but he has every shot in the bag.  I am worried about him based on his play in the Accenture Match Play championship back in the spring.  How in the world is he only 24?

Thomas Bjorn- Dude is old as fuck.  He is a decent match player though.

Stephen Gallacher- Ryder Cup rookie from Scotland.  He will have all the support of the crowd.  he also plays very well at Gleneagles.  Might be too much pressure for him though.  If golf doesn't work out, he could play in the next Revenge of the Nerds movie.

Jamie Donaldson- A Welshman.  Possible turtle-dick.

Rickie Fowler- Fowler is only 25, but he will be our best player this year.  I'll never forget him steamrolling one of the flying Molinaris on the back nine at Celtic Manor in 2010 to earn a crucial half-point.  He made every single putt.  Rickie is an amazing match player, and he could be the savior for Team USA.

Phil Mickelson- Everybody knows my feelings on Phil, but if he can get serious he can be an asset.  He is a great teammate with Keegan Bradley, and is a competitor.  No smiling and clapping while Justin Rose rips your heart out, Phil.  Great potshot on McDowell and McIlroy though.

Keegan Bradley- The most intense competitor on this team.  Wouldn't be surprised if a fistfight broke out between him and Poulter in the final match tomorrow morning.  Keegan will be the American barometer, as well as keep Phil focused.

Jim Furyk- I will go on record as having no faith in Furyk.  Guy can't putt to save his life.  However, he has gotta be as fed up with his recent failures (2012 US Open, 2012 Bridgestone, etc.) as we are of talking about them.  Maybe he snaps this year.

Bubba Watson- It really angers me how Bubba throws a mini-tantrum and goes into a shell if he doesn't like a course.  He just takes himself right out of a tournament.  Hopefully he will like Gleneagles.  He should be able to get creative with it.

Patrick Reed- I hate this fat shit.  I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't even win a half-point.  Cool necklace, bro.

Jimmy Walker- Walker is a Ryder Cup rookie, but he is a great putter.  He will help based on this one fact alone.  Also, does Dustin Johnson's self-imposed sabbatical have anything to do with the fact that he banged Walker's wife, and would have been teammates with him at the Ryder Cup?  I'll let you decide.

Jordan Spieth- Spieth is another guy who has all the makings of being a Ryder Cup stalwart for years.    We absolutely need to see a pairing of him and Rickie Fowler.

Hunter Mahan- Hunter Mahan is dying to make up for the chip heard round the world in 2010.  He is generally a good match player, and a solid putter.  I think he will bounce back this time around.

Webb Simpson- Webb had a down year by his terms, but I think he is gonna be a star at the Ryder Cup.  He and Bubba are a great pairing, and he very badly wanted to be on this team.  I'm calling for a great performance this weekend.

Matt Kuchar- Kuchar should be a great match player, but has an average record overall.  He is undefeated in fourball, and is probably an awesome teammate.  I would love to get destroyed in ping pong by Matt Kuchar.

Zach Johnson- Great iron player, great putter.  Love Zach.

The Ryder Cup is honestly my favorite sporting event of anything out there.  If I'm predicting with my head, I think the Europeans win 17-11.  If I am going with my heart, the US wins 14.5 to 13.5 and the Euros choke it away at the end.  Enjoy the matches, and be sure to act like a real jerk to any European you see.  GO USA!

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