Nine reasons why the U.S. will reclaim the Cup, and nine reasons they won't
1. Americans won the first nine PGA Tour events of 2012. Americans won the Masters (Bubba Watson) and the U.S. Open (Webb Simpson) at San Francisco's Olympic Club. So the Americans will win the Ryder Cup in America because the Americans are trending up.
Yeah, but... By that logic, we could conclude Europe that will win because Europeans have been dominating the European Tour. As for the majors, an American, Phil Mickelson, won the 2010 Masters, and the U.S. not only lost that year's Ryder Cup, but Mickelson grabbed the lead for the most career Ryder Cup losses. Hooray!
2. The U.S. has finally figured out the Ryder Cup, and it was just the roll of a ball from winning for the second straight time at Celtic Manor in Wales two years ago.
Yeah, but... This thing almost always comes down to the roll of a ball. Who left with the Cup two years ago? Europe -- for the ninth time in the last 13 meetings.
3. The balance of power in the World Ranking was shifting in Europe's favor, but now it's shifting back. Americans held just three of the top 10 spots in the world at the start of this year, but that number had spiked to six by late June.
Yeah, but... That's a function of the slumping International guys who play in that other Cup -- the Presidents Cup. The players at the very top of the World Ranking -- Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood -- still play for Europe. And Graeme McDowell showed at the Olympic Club that he was back to his 2010 form.
4. As of late June, Tiger Woods had not only broken his slump, he'd won three times. Jason Dufner and Hunter Mahan each had a pair of Ws. Dustin Johnson was back from his mini-slump, and warhorse Jim Furyk was knocking on the door.
Yeah, but... The Duf? Wow. Should Europe wave the white flag now? If Tour wins are some sort of predictor of Ryder Cup success, we give you McIlroy (Honda), Justin Rose (Doral) and Donald (Tampa) -- that's a lot of Europe in Florida.
5. Simpson and Watson went 3-1 in the team matches at last year's Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne, giving U.S. Captain Davis Love III a tandem to be reckoned with going into Medinah.
Yeah, but... European Captain Jose Maria Olazabal has more well-oiled tandems than a bike shop, starting with Donald and a resurgent Sergio Garcia, and extending to G-Mac and McIlroy, plus Westwood and Ian Poulter and anyone you want to pair them with.
6. With his third missed cut in four starts at the U.S. Open, McIlroy was still trying to regain the form he showed at Congressional in 2011. Poulter, Europe's match-play genius, was in the throes of a slump. And Colin Montgomerie, America's most vexing Ryder Cup foe as a player and a captain, won't be a factor.
Yeah, but... Poults can be playing like Charles Barkley, but when he gets to the Ryder Cup he transforms before our very eyes. McIlroy's so-called slump is misleading, since one of his missed cuts was at TPC Sawgrass, which he hates, and another was at quirky Olympic Club. As for Monty, he didn't win the cup for Europe at Celtic Manor. His players did.
7. Woods hadn't won all season when he went into the 2010 Ryder Cup, and he still went 3-1-0. Woods is playing much better than he was two years ago.
Yeah, but... Woods may be in better form heading into these matches, but that's cold comfort for the Americans: He did all that was asked of him two years ago, and the Yanks still lost.
8. Forget for a moment what Tiger has done at Medinah -- two PGA wins, in 1999 and '06 -- and think about who he's done it to: Donald and Garcia. In both Medinah installments of The Legend of Tiger, Woods broke El Nino's heart. And, in '06, he was tied with Donald as they entered the final round. Woods thrashed the Brit, 68 to 74.
Yeah, but... That was not even close to the same Donald who is now World No. 1. Heck, the guy's won six times since the last Ryder Cup alone. Plus, the PGA is one thing, the Ryder Cup another -- Garcia knows that better than anyone. He thrives in this event, and as if he needs more motivation, he'll be playing for a Spanish captain. OIé!
9. Yeah, yeah, everybody knows Garcia is a fiery Ryder Cupper, but he didn't even qualify in 2010. He was relegated to being one of Europe's vice-captains.
Yeah, but... Our point exactly. Garcia could have sat at home and sulked. Instead, he stayed involved. Bold prediction: Sergio will be the MVP at Medinah.