5 things you need to know about Ryder Cup 2016
Although, it is very much an individual sport, golf’s Ryder Cup has become the stage of some of the finest (and best supported) duels on the sport's calendar. From September 27 to October 2, Europe will defend the Ryder Cup title they won so dramatically two years ago, against a US team in their own back yard of Hazeltine National Golf Club in Minnesota.
1. A course with some history
Hazeltine National Golf Club is no stranger to tournaments on a rather hefty scale, having held the U.S. Open in 1970 and 1991 as well as the PGA Championship in 2002 and 2009, we can all stand sure that the course will be in an immaculate, yet testing, condition. The course is well known to members of both teams as more than half of both the European and US team will have played it before in high-pressure situations. But with the US-team not having tasted Ryder Cup success in 8 years, is pressure on the home team to deliver has been cranked right up.
2. A rookie stuffed Europe
On starting the 41st Ryder Cup, Europe will have the highest rookie count in their team for an away match since 1999, where Team USA triumphed. In fact, half of Team Europe is compiled of rookies, with one of the new boys being captain Darren Clarke’s last optional wild card pick, Thomas Pieters, despite previous Ryder Cup bigwigs Ian Poulter and Graeme McDowell being available choices.
3. Advantage USA
For Team USA, this Ryder Cup could not be looking healthier. They have home advantage. They have an extremely experienced team with only two rookies. They have a excellent mix of skills, long hitters, great putters and exceptional short game players, *cough* Phil Mickleson *cough*. On top of this, the team holds a combined total of 11 major titles between them, to Europe's nine.
4. A European team with pedigree
While the US may have more major titles in their ranks and less quivering rookies, the big question remains whether they can actually get it done. Europe's recent record has been nothing but dominant (winning 8 of the last 10) and according to solely Ryder Cup stats, Team Europe appear to have a camaraderie that has proven fairly unbeatable. To win the Ryder Cup this time out would make it four times in a row for Europe - the longest winning-streak in the history of the Ryder Cup.
5. Clash of the Captains
Seeing as they don't compete on the course, the 'captains' in the Ryder Cup are more akin to managers. This year both sides have opted for those with plenty of experience in Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke and US Davis Love III. However, for both it will be their first stint at captaining a Ryder Cup team. That said, Clarke has been a vice captain twice and played in the tournament five times, Davis Love III has only been a vice captain once, but has played in six Ryder Cup teams. Both men possess very different temperments, and different pressure's on them: Clarke will be looking be the man to lead Europe to its record breaking fourth consecutive victory, whereas Love III will be looking to draw a line under recent failures and ignite a bright future for a very talented Team USA.
You can watch all the action on OSN Sports 1, September 27 to October 2. Visit: OSN.com