Ryder Cup 2018
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Sep 24th, 2018
Is this the USA's best ever Ryder Cup team?
Plus, we pit the teams head to head...
Words: Tim Southwell
Team USA: Patrick Reed, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth – collectively winners of six of the last eight majors. Safe to say they're quite at golf. But how good? According to Team Europe Captain Thomas Bjorn, the 12 men lining up for the USA this week are "one of the strongest American teams of all time".
Are they as good as the famous 1981 team which featured Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Lee Trevino, Ben Crenshaw, Johnny Miller, Ray Floyd, Tom Kite, Jerry Pate, Hale Irwin, Larry Nelson, Bill Rogers, and Bruce Lietzke?
Of the 12 men that took Europe apart that year, the only player not to have won at least one major was Lietzke. Team USA 2018 features three major-less players – Bryson DeChambeau, Rickie Fowler and Tony Finau.
Five of the best Ryder Cup matches ever played
Bjorn was keen to add a big fat caveat to his respect for the Americans: "But we do not fear anyone", he added. "And we don't fear anyone because we have played against them so many times before individually. These are 24 of the best players in the world, when they go up against each other they are all capable of amazing things.
"We will go out and do what we can and play our game. We know this is one of the strongest American teams of all time and we have to play our best."
Tiger's epic win at East Lake on Sunday has added an extra powerful, exciting dynamic in the lead up to Friday.
"Not that this event needs more energy," said Jim Furyk of the Tiger effect, "The Ryder Cup is probably the biggest, the grandest event in golf, but [Woods' win] will add excitement I believe."
But Furyk is not getting carried away with the quality of his team, adding "This European team is the strongest they have ever had."
That's quite a statement but when you look at Team Europe you get that fuzzy, excitable feeling in your stomach. We've got plenty of major winners ourselves with Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari and Justin Rose (who also just won the FedEx Cup lest we forget). And then you look at the rest of the team and you can see points, battles, roars everywhere.
It's going to be emotional... just look at the potential matchups – just in alphabetical order to take any emotion out of it – and try to figure out what will happen...
The GolfPunk RC mash-up...
Paul Casey v Bryson DeChambeau
Tommy Fleetwood v Tony Finau
Sergio Garcia v Rickie Fowler
Tyrell Hatton v Dustin Johnson
Rory McIlroy v Brooks Koepka
Francesco Molinari v Phil Mickelson
Alex Noren v Patrick Reed
Thorbjorn Olesen v Webb Simpson
Ian Poulter v Jordan Spieth
Jon Rahm v Justin Thomas
Justin Rose v Bubba Watson
Henrik Stenson v Tiger Woods
Pick the bones out that lot. I'm off for a lie-down...
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