Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III will lead what many consider to be the best U.S. Ryder Cup team in recent competition. The United States is thought to have a slight edge over a European side that has become accustomed to dominance in this historic event. This slight edge can be attested to five strengths in particular:
1) Depth: Depth is one term that has been largely associated with the U.S. team following its assembly. This stems from the wealth of experience and quality that this team features. Love will captain a roster that only includes one player that is currently outside the top 20 in the world rankings (Jim Furyk). While Europe boasts the top ranked player in Rory McIlroy, the quality that is exhibited throughout the entire U.S. roster is unmatched on paper.
2) Timing: The Ryder Cup will be played a week after the FedEx Cup Championship. This serves the U.S. well considering that their entire 12-man roster will be featuring in the tournament. This means that the players will be better prepared than the European team that only features five players in the event. The fact that every team member was able to qualify for this tournament also serves as a testament to the level of play that the U.S. unit is currently producing.
3) Location: Playing state-side provides an advantage for a U.S. team that is compiled of PGA Tour members. While these players may not have played at Medinha this season, the adjustment required of them is much less than that of the European golfers. A number of the European team are not members of the PGA Tour, choosing to play their trade overseas in the European Tour. Coming to the United States may pose a difficult task as the bottom half of their roster has seen little experience or success in the U.S. this season.
4) Good form and Experience: Love’s captain’s picks reflect the mentality of this year’s U.S. team. In Steve Stricker and Jim Furyk Love added two Ryder Cup veterans that know the ropes of this international competition. His other selections were based on recent performances as Brandt Snedeker and Dustin Johnson rounded out Love’s 12-man roster. Snedeker is a Ryder Cup rookie and Johnson’s only other appearance was the 2010 loss in Wales. While these two players were not the most experienced options, their current run of play warrants their inclusion. Adding veteran leadership to a team full of rookie talent gives the Americans the ability and composure necessary to win at Medinha.
5) The Eye of the Tiger: The value of having Tiger Woods on this team goes without saying. Woods brings to the table a combination of Ryder Cup experience and a knack for showing up in crunch time that is unmatched. The fact that Woods is in the midst of his best season in recent years only adds to his importance in the American camp. Currently ranked number 2 in the world, Woods will be the go-to man for the Americans as they look to overcome the star power that the boys from across the pond will bring to Medinha.
With these five factors in their favor, the United States will attempt to tip the balance of power in international golf in 2012. If they are to achieve this success, expect these elements to play a role in their performance.