Nov 29th, 2015
Faldo "USA favourites for 2016 Ryder Cup"
Too many rookies in European team says the holy one...
Words: Tim Southwell Photography: Getty Images
Faldo calls USA as favourites for 2016 Ryder Cup, citing a potential raft of European rookies tilting the odds in Davis Love III's favour. Six-times major winner Faldo believes there could be as many as six rookies in the side when Europe attempt to retain the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine, Minnesota next year.
The visitors will be going for four wins on the bounce, a run stretching back to the 2008 defeat when Faldo was outfoxed by rival captain Paul Azinger at Valhalla. (Making DJ Spoony a Vice Captain and turning the opening ceremony into your own personal This Is Your Life probably didn't help either – Ed)
"I think America could be the favourites this time because the backbone of their team will be similar to the last one," Faldo said. "Europe's backbone could be very different. We could easily have six rookies, easily. There are a lot of names America won't know a lot about if we get the likes of Tommy Fleetwood, Andy Sullivan and Danny Willet making the team.
"That could be a bad thing but it could also be a good thing because sometimes it can be quite nice to be a little bit of an unknown. I think that's going to happen and we'll probably have a fresh half of our team."
Willett, 28, pushed McIlroy hard in the Race To Dubai, finishing finished second, after winning twice in the 2014-15 season, and climbing up the world rankings to 20th, in the process.
Andy Sullivan, 29, won three times and has climbed to 36th in the world rankings, while fellow Englishman Fleetwood had another consistent season despite failing to add to his solitary tour victory at the 2013 Johnnie Walker Championship in Scotland.
Throw in the likes of Bernd Weiseberger, Shane Lowry, Matt Fitzpatrick, and Thorbjorn Olesen, and you've got a potential tidal wave of new players forcing there way into the side. It's getting difficult to see how the likes of Paul Casey and Luke Donald can figure in all of this.
"There is going to be a changing of the guard," says Faldo. A few of our guys are getting a little older.."
"You can shoot nine under par in matchplay and still lose, and you have to accept that," said Faldo. "It doesn't matter how or how many, you've just got to find a way to win."
Faldo believes one of the reasons why Europe have been victorious in eight of the last 10 Ryder Cups is the strong pairings they have been able to select.
"America need to get a couple of good partnerships," he said. "That has always been the strength of Europe, we have had Ballesteros and Olazabal, me with Ian Woosnam or Colin Montgomerie or Bernhard Langer.
Faldo's ace at the 1993 Ryder Cup at the Belfry
"The Americans have struggled with that recently. Their strongest pair has been Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley.
"Even that one gets broken up at the wrong time. They have got to find a couple of good pairings but the bottom line is they must find a way to win," added Faldo as he launched a range of wines from six of Europe's classic regions to celebrate each of his major victories (www.miltonsandfordwines.com).
Davis Love III will captain the Americans and Darren Clarke fronts up for Europe when the Ryder Cup is held from Sept. 30-Oct. 2 2016.
The debacle of Valhalla 2008
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Nick Faldo is the all-time record points scorer in the Ryder Cup, having collected 25 points in 11 playing appearances between 1977-97.