Europe has won four of the last five Ryder Cups and six of the last eight, so it may seem like a bit of a surprise that USA is a -140 to -165 favorite to win this week depending on where you look. The course is supposedly set up to favor the U.S., with mowed down rough and the advantage seemingly going to the long hitters. Teams will need birdies to win matches.
Odds courtesy of bet365.com.
7:20 a.m.(Central) tee time - McIlroy-McDowell (-110) vs. Furyk-Snedeker (+160) Draw is +450
Rory and G-Mac both rank T-4 in proximity to the hole on Tour. It's maybe a slightly more important stat in match play because you can put all the pressure on your opponents by dropping in some close approaches. And you probably already know McIlroy is the top player in the world and leads the Tour in stroke average. He should be able to take advantage of the forgiving room off the tee and you can bet the Americans will be hitting their approach shots first on Rory's holes. These two Northern Irish countrymen went 1-1-1 in team play last Ryder Cup.
Furyk-Snedeker – These are two of the hottest players in the world right now. Snedeker is a rookie but is coming off winning the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup and is probably the best putter in the world right now. Sned ranked first in one-putt percentage this season. Furyk hasn't finished worse than T-13 in any of his last three tournaments. He's had an incredible season overall, but his downfall was the inability to close down the stretch and he wasn't able to pull off a victory in 2012. He was a captain's pick and 8-15-4 at the Ryder Cup record so the pressure is on Furyk to come up big this week.
7:35 a.m. tee time Donald-Garcia (-105) vs. Bradley-Mickelson (+150) Draw is +450
Bradley-Mickelson - A couple of buddies who regularly play matches in their practice rounds on Tour. Bradley will jump right into action as one of the rookies in this competition, but he’s tumbled a little lately. He only shot in the 60s in two of his past 14 rounds, which includes a missed cut at The Barclays. He has the most eagles on Tour this year though and is fourth in most birdies – not to mention he is one of the longest guys on the PGA. Mickelson’s worst finish over his past three tourneys is T-15. He ranks 7th on Tour in one-putt percentage but he can be all over the map off the tee. Lefty is 11-17-6 at the Ryder Cup and went 1-3 in 2010.
Donald-Garcia - Donald is at home in Chicago and Sergio is at home at the Ryder Cup with a 14-6-4 record. He's never lost in foursomes play with an 8-0-1 record and is 5-2-3 in fourballs. Donald is 6-0 in foursomes and 8-2-1 at the Ryder Cup. Sergio hasn't finished worse than T-24 in his past four events, including a win and a third place finish. Donald ranks first on the PGA in overall putting this season.
7:50 a.m. tee time Westwood-Molinari (+120) vs. Dufner-Johnson (+120) Draw is +450
– These are two of the most consistent players on Tour and have the
potential to frustrate the Euros by hitting fairways and greens all day.
Dufner ranked third in scoring average this season and had some of the
most consistent stats across the board of any player and is one of the
most accurate iron players in the world. Zach Johnson finished fifth in
one-putt percentage this season so, on paper, these guys have the
makings to be a great pairing in the foursomes setup.
– Westwood finished last and played some of his worst golf in two years
at the Tour Championship last week. Don’t let that fool you. He
finished second the week before and is 5-2-4 in the foursomes format at
the Ryder Cup. He is usually solid off the tee and Molinari ranks
second in greens in reg in Europe, so it has the potential of a strong
foursomes pairing. But Molinari doesn’t rank high in most putting
categories you look at so Westwood likely can’t afford to have a streaky
putter Friday morning.
8:05 a.m. tee time Woods-Stricker (+105) vs. Poulter-Rose (+105) Draw is +450
Tiger-Stricker - They went 2-1 as partners in the last Ryder Cup, though they got throttled 6-and-5 by Luke Donald and Lee Westwood in the match they lost. Tiger ranks fourth on the PGA in birdie average and Stricker 15th and Medinah is set up for birdies. Nine of Tiger's last 12 rounds have been in the 60s, but his accuracy off the tee comes and goes despite the fact he finished 7th in total driving this season. The good news is Stricker is first on Tour in proximity to the hole and first in approaches from 50 to 125 yards so this team should be in good shape to make some birdies Friday.
Poulter-Rose - Poulter ranks just 91st in par breakers and this captain’s pick usually relies on consistency for his best results, rather than low rounds. That could be the basis for a great partnership with fellow countryman Rose, who has 8 top 10s this year, ranks 10th in scoring average and fifth in the world rankings. Rose is coming off a second place finish at the Tour Championship and went 3-1 in his first Ryder Cup. Poulter is 8-3 at the Ryder Cup.