First Look: Ryder Cup
September 19, 2014
By Jeff Shain, PGATOUR.COM
- September 19, 2014
- US Captain Tom Watson (l) poses next to Europe’s Captain Paul McGinley with the iconic Ryder Cup. (Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
• COURSE: Gleneagles Hotel (Centenary), 7,243 yards, par 72. Proclaimed a “Riviera in the Highlands” when the hotel opened in 1924, Gleneagles’ golf pedigree goes back to the third Curtis Cup women’s team matches in 1936 between the United States and Great Britain & Ireland. The Centenary course opened in 1993, with designer Jack Nicklaus calling it “the finest parcel of land in the world I have ever been given to work with.” The course underwent an upgrade in 2011 in preparation for the Ryder Cup, tweaking the routing, landing areas and bunkering at four holes.
• SERIES: United States leads, 25-12-2. However, Europe holds a 9-7-1 edge since the old Great Britain & Ireland squad was expanded to include the entire continent.
• CHARITY: The PGA of America distributes $2.6 million from each Ryder Cup to charities and colleges named by the U.S. captain and each of his 12 players. Each team member earmarks $100,000 to charities of their choice, another $50,000 to their alma mater or other colleges and $50,000 to the Ryder Cup Junior Golf Academy.
• U.S. ROSTER: Keegan Bradley (2nd Ryder Cup), Rickie Fowler (2nd), Jim Furyk (9th), Zach Johnson (4th), Matt Kuchar (3rd), Hunter Mahan (3rd), Phil Mickelson (10th), Patrick Reed (1st), Webb Simpson (2nd), Jordan Spieth (1st), Jimmy Walker (1st), Bubba Watson (3rd). Captain: Tom Watson.
• EUROPE ROSTER: Thomas Bjorn, Denmark (3rd Ryder Cup); Jamie Donaldson, Wales (1st); Victor Dubuisson, France (1st); Stephen Gallacher, Scotland (1st); Sergio Garcia, Spain (7th); Martin Kaymer, Germany (3rd); Graeme McDowell, Northern Ireland (4th); Rory McIlroy, Northern Ireland (3rd); Ian Poulter, England (5th); Justin Rose, England (3rd); Henrik Stenson, Sweden (3rd); Lee Westwood, England (9th). Captain: Paul McGinley, Ireland.
• TWO YEARS AGO: It was Europe’s turn to pull off the improbable comeback, authoring the “Miracle at Medinah” by storming back from a four-point deficit entering the Sunday singles. Europe wiped out the shortfall by sweeping the first five singles matches, including McIlroy’s win over Bradley that began with the Northern Ireland pro arriving at Medinah in a police cruiser 10 minutes before his tee time. The Northern Ireland pro had misread the schedule, thinking he had an extra hour to sleep. Rose flipped his match vs. Mickelson in their final three holes, pulling even with a 35-foot birdie at No.17 and winning with a 12-foot birdie at No.18. Six matches in all went to the 18th hole, with the Americans winning just one. The comeback really began with the final match of Saturday four-balls, when Poulter birdied the final five holes on his own ball to turn a loss into a victory.
• STORYLINES: A big spotlight falls on Tom Watson, 65, tabbed by the PGA of America in a bold move to try and turn the ailing U.S. fortunes around. His second tour as captain comes two decades after his first, when he guided the Americans to a 15-13 win in 1993. … With seven holdovers from Medinah, redemption has been a major theme of Watson’s message to his players and U.S. fans. Six of the seven holdovers lost their singles matches on that fateful Sunday. … McIlroy, winner of the British Open and PGA Championship, heads a top-heavy European lineup that features four of the top six in the world rankings. … Though Mahan won The Barclays last month, none of Watson’s three captain’s picks performed well in the last two FedExCup events.
• SHORT CHIPS: Westwood is fast moving up Europe’s all-time charts. Four matches at Gleneagles would give him 41, with only Nick Faldo and Bernhard Langer ahead of him. Three points won also would leave him trailing only Faldo and Langer. … Mickelson already is the U.S. leader in total matches (38), but three points this week would only move him up to a tie for No.4 with Lee Trevino (20). … FedExCup winner Billy Horschel is among five Americans in the top 25 of the world rankings not at Gleneagles. The others: Tiger Woods (injury), Dustin Johnson (leave of absence), Chris Kirk and Steve Stricker (injury).
• TELEVISION: Friday, 2:30 a.m.-1 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday, 3 a.m.-1 p.m. (NBC). Sunday, 7 a.m.-1 p.m. (NBC).
• RADIO: Friday-Saturday, 2 a.m.-2 p.m.; Sunday, 5 a.m.-2 p.m. (SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio).