US captain Davis Love III went all Donald Trump-like announcing his US team as the best ever, handing European captain Darren Clarke a much-needed morale boost ahead of Friday’s tee-off.
But Clarke still has to convince the six rookies in his side that the feeling your bowels are about to empty on the first tee is perfectly normal, as a baying home crowd roar USA! USA! as Dustin Johnson rips one 300 yards down the fairway.
However, the rookie roster may just allow us an ‘in’ as to who best withstands the white heat of a Ryder Cup as they pop their cherry.
The good news for Team Europe’s newbies is the feeling that what they do here will have sufficiently blooded them to swing the odds in their favour again by Paris 2018. The not-so-good news is that they may have their asses handed to them first to realise it.
Belguim’s Thomas Pieters showed an impressive set of stones to earn a Wildcard pick as deadline day approached. After finishing fourth at the Olympics, he finished second defending his Czech Masters title before winning The Made in Denmark tournie – his third on the European Tour.
What was equally impressive was that the Belgian bomber shot a first-round 62 with his captain up close and personal in the same group for the first two days.
If he gets a decent run-out in the fourball and foursomes to nick a couple of half-points or more it will be all systems go to rack up another point if he draws a lesser light on the US Team in the singles on Sunday.
At , he looks a value play in the crowded leading European rookie market.
Reed all about it
Given the Ryder Cup format,team selections remain as much of a mystery as Slaven Bilic’s tactics and it rarely pays to second-guess them. But Patrick Reed has all the attributes to become the latest pantomime villain since Ian Poulter vacated the role and is an easy ‘hate’ figure – and that’s just on the American side.
A debutant at Gleneagles in 2014, Reed seemed to revel in the three-way attrition between rival players and opposing fans and while it can be hard enough to get someone to share a locker room with him, he has struck up a winning partnership with Jordan Spieth.
The Texan combo, with Spieth playing Ned Flanders to Reed’s Homer Simpson ran out impressive 5&4 winners over Stephen Gallagher & Ian Poulter in 2014 to give the Yanks their first point at Gleneagles in the Friday morning fourballs.
The youngest American pairing, like, ever, then pressed up with another 4&3 win on Saturday morning before a rare missed putt on 18 saw them tie with Kaymer & Justin Rose in the foursomes.
But it still wasn’t over for Reed who went on to beat Henrik Stenson in Sunday’s singles. Yes, that Henrik Stenson.
With more match-play practice on the winning Presidents Cup side last year under his ever expanding belt – the combative Reed looks a value play at to be Top US Point scorer with Paddy Power.
USA all the way …
The Yanks, get, and probably deserve a lot of grief over the Seve Ballesteros – and Paddy Power skytweets – inspried Miracle at Medinah.
Davis Love III was in charge then too and having led 10-6 on Sunday morning ahead of the closing day’s singles, the US faded quicker than David Moyes’ managerial prospects when the scoreboards turned a sea of blue as the European fightback culminated in a 16.5-11.5 victory.
With Team USA now odds on for victory, there isn’t much juice left in the price for the casual Ryder Cup watcher. So we’re going all out on the States to make full use of home advantage and punt them To Win all 3 days at .
If you’re blindly optimistic, patriotic or just on heavy medication, Team Europe is to win on all three days also.