13 Reasons Why America Will Take Back The Ryder Cup
September 25, 2014
1 of 14Illustration by Jon Foster
Team USA has the talent - and talons - to reclaim the Ryder Cup. Here's why the Yanks will prevail, starting with Reason No. 1, Captain Tom Watson.
2 of 14ANDREW MILLIGAN/PA WIRE
1. Captain Tom Watson
With all his success in the Open, he's practically an honorary Scotsman. This will greatly confuse the locals, who aren't going to like cheering against old Tom. What's more, he's already led one squad (1993, at the Belfry) to victory in the UK, and that was against a legend-stacked Euro team. (Sorry, Victor Dubuisson. You may have Seve-like moments, but you're no Seve.) Here's how badly Watson wants to win. At a pretournament banquet in '93, Euro player Sam Torrance asked Watson to sign Torrance's dinner menu. Watson said no, touching off an international incident. The U.S. won 15-13, and Watson said, "This is the best feeling I've ever had in golf." He'll say it again.
3 of 14DAVID CANNON/GETTY IMAGES
Can you say "home game"? This Yank-friendly venue may as well be called "Bald Eagle." Gleneagles isn't just a cushy resort; its Centenary Course --which will host the Cup -- is a parkland layout designed by American icon Jack Nicklaus. The track (which looks like it could host the Frys.com Open) should favor Team USA's bomb-and-gouge style. Says one of the game's most revered architects, who asked to remain anonymous, "Gleneagles is a lot more like America than Prestwick, that's for sure."
4 of 14Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images
3. Europe Captain Paul McGinley
We have nothing against Ireland's McGinley, who seems like a lovely gent, but this is the first Ryder Cup on Scottish soil in more than 40 years. You know who'd have made more sense to lead the 2014 Ryder Cup in Scotland? A Scot. Namely, Europe's 2010 skipper, Colin Montgomerie. Hey, Euros, you played your captains out of turn!
5 of 14AP/The Dispatch, Todd Mizener
4. Our Team Is Undefeated
Okay, much of our team is undefeated, namely hotshot rookies like Jordan Spieth (pictured), Jimmy Walker and Patrick Reed. They're unencumbered by scar tissue dating back to our five losses in the last six matches. Another U.S. team that had more peach fuzz than the state of Georgia? The victorious 2008 squad.
6 of 14Everett Collection
5. Young Guns
Pop quiz: Which side of the pond are the hottest young players coming from? Ours! Extra credit: In what format did they dominate as amateurs? Match play! Jordan Spieth went undefeated (2-0-1) in the 2011 Walker Cup. Patrick Reed dusted Peter Uihlein (twice) and Harris English en route to leading Augusta State to NCAA titles in 2010 and 2011.
7 of 14Fred Vuich/SI
In 2012, Watson won twice in dominating fashion while losing two squeakers to Euro elites. This will be Bubba's third Ryder Cup, and the reigning Masters champ will be ready to lead. Also, emotions are powerful forces. We did some back-of-the-scorecard figuring: If (a) the Ryder Cup rouses emotions like no other event, and (b) no player is more emotional than Bubba, then (c) Bubba leads the U.S. to victory! It's the transitive property at work. Or maybe the law of hypothetical syllogism. In any event, we're predicting happy tears.
8 of 14Mark Runnacles/Getty Images
7. Rickie Fowler
Remember the guy who Edoardo Molinari couldn't close out at Celtic Manor in 2010? The same guy who stormed back from the brink to win the last three holes, securing a half point for the Yanks in one of the most clutch Ryder performances in recent memory? That was Fowler, and he'll be back this year after a one-Cup absence. All he's done in 2014 is nab top-five finishes at the WGC-Accenture Match Play, the Masters, both of the Opens and the PGA Championship. And like a lot of young Americans, he loves match play.
9 of 14Chris Cole/Getty Images
This is what Paul Azinger wrote after the 1993 Ryder Cup: "Watson told us on the plane on the way over, 'Boys, I want you to know one thing: I'm lucky. And I don't expect my luck to run out at the Ryder Cup.' You don't win five British Opens without having some good luck." Ol' Tom is still lucky.
10 of 14Bob Martin/SI
9. Tiger Woods
After the oft-injured Woods opted out of the competition, the U.S. team actually gained a rallying point. The last American team that went Tiger-less was Azinger's 2008 squad of overachievers (pictured), and that one turned out just fine.
11 of 14Angus Murray/SI
10. Misplaced Loyalty
Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter, two of Europe's toughest outs, are far from on form, but they made the team anyway, owing to their legendary Ryder exploits. Big mistake.
12 of 14Getty Images
Europe beat the U.S. 14.5 to 13.5 in both 1995 and 1997; then the U.S. responded with a win in 1999. Europe beat the U.S. 18.5 to 9.5 in both 2004 and 2006; then the U.S. responded with a win in 2008. And Europe beat the U.S. by the same score (14.5 to 13.5) in 2010 and 2012, which means (drumroll, please...) the U.S. will triumph in 2014.
13 of 14Jeff Haynes/Reuters
12. Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson
This dynamic duo will almost certainly be reunited, considering their play at Medinah (they were a combined 3-0-0 in foursomes and fourball). It's a May-December Ryder bromance unlike any the Ryder has seen since Ballesteros-Olazabal.
14 of 14Andrew Redington/Getty Images
13. Team USA Is Just Better.
Don't take it from us—2006 Euro captain Ian Woosnam told Sky Sports that captain McGinley will have his hands full. "Unfortunately, in Paul's situation, I think the USA are going to have a stronger team," he said. "They're most probably going to have one of their strongest teams in a long time with these youngsters—they're not scared, and they want to win after losing last time." And he said this after Martin Kaymer won the U.S. Open. You know what the stronger team usually does? It wins.
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