• 2012 Ryder Cup: Team Comparison

Comparing the two teams for Medinah

ESPN staff
September 25, 2012
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The Ryder Cup gets underway at Medinah Country Club on September 28. ESPN will have extensive coverage of the event - including interactive text commentary, reports and reaction - for all three days.

The teams are set, the competition is almost ready to get underway. Can Europe hold on to the trophy they clinched in such dramatic circumstances at Celtic Manor two years ago?

Ahead of the contest, which will take place at Medinah Country Club, we look at the 24 men involved over the course of the three days, and attempt to evaluate which side has the upper hand - on paper, at least.

* Explanation of terms used:
RC appearances: Number of Ryder Cup appearances (Medinah included)
RC record: Ryder Cup results (matches - wins - draws - losses)
Overall ratings: A measure of the player's overall Ryder Cup ability, although ultimately subjective. Judged out of ten - although to a stricter scale, because obviously they are all very talented to have qualified for this stage.

2012 Ryder Cup - September 28-30

Europe

United States



Rory McIlroy

The Northern Irishman is golf's in-form player, potentially Europe's talisman.

World ranking: 1
RC appearances: 2
RC record: 4-1-2-1

Tiger Woods

A true great of the game only just past his best, with a poor competition record.

World ranking: 2
RC appearances: 7
RC record: 29-13-2-14

10/10

10/10



Luke Donald

Subdued season on tour, but overall accuracy makes him a sought-after team-mate

World ranking: 3
RC appearances: 4
RC record: 11-8-1-2

Bubba Watson

Big-hitting Masters champion and unpredictable matchplay opponent

World ranking: 7
RC appearances: 2
RC record: 4-1-0-3

9/10

7/10



Lee Westwood

Precise iron player eager to break Nick Faldo's competition records

World ranking: 4
RC appearances: 8
RC record: 33-16-6-11

Webb Simpson

US Open champion is one of the best putters around

World ranking: 8
RC apps: Rookie
RC record: n/a

8/10

8/10



Justin Rose

In-form Englishman does almost everything well, and very consistently

World ranking: 5
RC appearances: 2
RC record: 4-3-0-1

Jason Dufner

Pretty much unflappable on course, relentlessly accurate

World ranking: 9
RC apps: Rookie
RC record: n/a

7/10

7/10



Graeme McDowell

The hero in 2010, McIlroy's likely partner will grind you down by making no mistakes

World ranking: 18
RC appearances: 4
RC record: 3-4-2-2

Brandt Snedeker

$11.4m richer, Snedeker can putt better than almost anyone around

World ranking: 10
RC apps: Rookie
RC record: n/a

8/10

8/10



Sergio Garcia

Great driver of the ball with Seve-esque passion for this event

World ranking: 19
RC appearances: 6
RC record: 24-14-4-6

Steve Stricker

Perfect sidekick for Tiger, consistency is his key strength

World ranking: 12
RC appearances: 3
RC record: 7-3-1-3

8/10

7/10



Peter Hanson

One of the most underrated players around, questions over 'clutchness'

World ranking: 25
RC appearances: 2
RC record: 3-1-0-2

Dustin Johnson

An absolute bomber with underrated touch, Medinah seems to be designed for him

World ranking: 13
RC appearances: 2
RC record: 4-1-0-3

6/10

8/10



Ian Poulter

In discussion for best matchplay contender in the game today

World ranking: 26
RC appearances: 4
RC record: 11-8-0-3

Keegan Bradley

A very fine putter, has come a long way in barely a year

World ranking: 14
RC apps: Rookie
RC record: n/a

9/10

7/10



Paul Lawrie

Being here was Scot's big goal - now he needs to perform

World ranking: 28
RC appearances: 2
RC record: 4-2-1-1

Matt Kuchar

One of the game's nice guys, good foil for Bubba/Dustin?

World ranking: 15
RC appearances: 2
RC record: 4-2-1-1

7/10

7/10



Francesco Molinari

Great driver of the ball, somewhat timid

World ranking: 31
RC appearances: 4
RC record: 11-8-1-2

Phil Mickelson

Like Tiger, terrible event record for a great, great player

World ranking: 17
RC appearances: 9
RC record: 34-11-6-17

6/10

7/10



Martin Kaymer

German is desperately searching for form after poor 2012 season

World ranking: 32
RC appearances: 2
RC record: 4-2-1-1

Zach Johnson

Another great putter - but perhaps not long enough for Medinah?

World ranking: 17
RC appearances: 3
RC record: 7-3-1-3

6/10

8/10



Nicolas Colsaerts

Europe's big-hitting ace in the hole, great for fourballs

World ranking: 35
RC apps: Rookie
RC record: n/a

Jim Furyk

Accurate, but has choked under pressure twice in 2012 alone

World ranking: 23
RC appearances: 8
RC record: 27-8-4-15

7/10

6/10

Conclusion

In terms of individual talent, the United States definitely have the edge. Impressively, Davis Love III's entire 12-man team is ranked inside the top 23 in the world rankings, whereas half of Jose Maria Olazabal's squad are outside that number.

What is more, the United States team seems to have an interesting blend of big-hitters - which should suit the Medinah layout - and brilliant putters, which tend to prosper in any sort of matchplay event. They have a number of players who strike you as 'supporting actors', however - Kuchar, Stricker, Furyk - and the team could be in trouble if those members don't fire on all cylinders every day.

The European team may lack marginally in talent (although world rankings are an imprecise measure, considering the additional weight given to PGA Tour events), but they seem to have a huge advantage in experience and team spirit. The likes of McDowell and Poulter may, with certain exceptions, underperform in strokeplay events over the course of a year, but they are stone-cold killers in matchplay.

If Olazabal gets his pairings right, the visitors may just have a healthly lead by the time the crucial Sunday singles roll around. Then, however, it'll be every man for himself.

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