2008 European Ryder Cup Team

1 of 12 John Biever/SI
2008 European Ryder Cup Team How do the U.S. and European teams stack up when it comes to the blocking and tackling of golf — long driving, finding the fairway, hitting greens in regulation and holing putts? To find out, we added up each player's rank on his respective tour in those categories and divided by four. We took that number and, from lowest total to highest, listed the 24 Ryder Cuppers from one to 24. Voila! The Ryder Cup Rank. (For Padraig Harrington and Ian Poulter, members of both tours, we combined their U.S. and Euro totals and divided by two.) Players are listed by Ryder Cup Rank. (The U.S. team is here.) — Statistics by Sal Johnson, text by Gary Van Sickle Lee Westwood England Age: 35 RC Rank: 1 Driving Yds. 294.2 (23rd) Fairways Pct. 60.4% (100th) GIR Pct. 75.8% (1st) Putting Avg. 1.750 (14th) Ryder Cup (5) 14-8-3 World Rank 12th Now that his favorite four-ball partner, Darren Clarke, isn't on the team, Westwood may join Sergio Garcia to form Europe's most dynamic duo in all four team matches. Westwood was 3-0-2 in the 2006 Ryder Cup and thrives on match play golf. He is longer off the tee than you think and one of the game's best iron players from out of the rough.
2 of 12 John Biever/SI
Ian Poulter England Age: 32 RC Rank: 22 Driving Yds. 287.5 (144th) Fairways Pct. 63.68% (78th) GIR Pct. 64.97% (112th) Putting Avg. 1.802 (104th) Ryder Cup (1) 1-1-0 World Rank 25th A wild-card pick who passed up the final European tour qualifying event to chase FedEx Cup money in the U.S., Poulter is set up as a potential scapegoat if the Euros don't win. Adding to his burden is that he was selected over beloved Ryder Cup warhorse Clarke. Poulter hasn't won in two years and has had only one top 10 since January.
3 of 12 Mike Ehrmann/SI
Paul Casey England Age: 31 RC Rank: 19 Driving Yds. 299.2 (16th) Fairways Pct. 62.43% (103rd) GIR Pct. 65.71% (42nd) Putting Avg. 1.837 (199th) Ryder Cup (2) 3-1-2 World Rank 36th Although Casey's last victory in Europe was 18 months ago, his game suddenly came together at the British Open, where he tied for seventh. He then caught Nick Faldo's eye and became a captain's pick with four top eight finishes in his last six starts. Casey is a big hitter, the kind of player that Valhalla should favor, and he's gotten on a roll at just the right time.
4 of 12 Mike Ehrmann/SI
Sergio Garcia Spain Age: 28 RC Rank: 17 Driving Yds. 294.1 (46th) Fairways Pct. 59.33% (150th) GIR Pct. 66.22% (29th) Putting Avg. 1.798 (117th) Ryder Cup (4) 14-4-2 World Rank 5th Sergio turns into the reincarnation of Seve Ballesteros at the Ryder Cup, raising his game to a higher level and becoming the man the Americans most want to beat — but can't (until singles, anyway). Sergio has never lost a foursomes match (8-0), so if the Americans topple Sergio in that format, it would be equivalent to the Euros knocking off Tiger.
5 of 12 Mike Ehrmann/SI
Padraig Harrington Ireland Age: 37 RC Rank: 15 Driving Yds. 292.7 (33rd) Fairways Pct. 58.07% (146th) GIR Pct. 63.69% (134th) Putting Avg. 1.735 (6th) Ryder Cup (4) 7-8-2 World Rank 4th Raise your hand if you thought Paddy was going to be the player who stepped forward to assert himself with a pair of majors after Tiger Woods was sidelined. Didn't think so! Winning three of the last six majors makes Harrington the world's best healthy golfer, if not the Celtic Tiger. Playing against Harrington is sometimes annoying because he ... can ... be ... slow.
6 of 12 John Biever/SI
Miguel Angel Jimenez Spain Age: 44 RC Rank: 13 Driving Yds. 280.5 (129th) Fairways Pct. 59.6% (114th) GIR Pct. 69.2% (53rd) Putting Avg. 1.735 (6th) Ryder Cup (2) 2-5-2 World Rank 18th An easygoing and popular player known as the Mechanic, Jimenez will be Europe's surrogate for the fun-loving Clarke, with whom he shares a love of wine and cigars. Like Vijay Singh, Jimenez has gotten better with age. Eight of his European tour wins have come in the last four years, including this year's triumph at the European PGA.
7 of 12 Simon Bruty/SI
Oliver Wilson England Age: 27 RC Rank: 11 Driving Yds. 285.4 (85th) Fairways Pct. 54.9 (152nd) GIR Pct. 70.5 (33rd) Putting Avg. 1.759 (20th) Ryder Cup (R) 0-0-0 World Rank 48th Wilson will be the surprise of the Cup. You'll repeatedly hear that he's the first European to make the team despite never having won, but the fact is that he's made for match play because he's crazy good around the greens. He's an excellent chipper also known for making clutch putts. In his brief stint as a pro, Wilson has been runner-up seven times.
8 of 12 Robert Beck/SI
Henrik Stenson Sweden Age: 32 RC Rank: 7 Driving Yds. 288.5 (62nd) Fairways Pct. 61% (91st) GIR Pct. 70.1% (39th) Putting Avg. 1.753 (17th) Ryder Cup (1) 1-1-1 World Rank 6th Stenson looks like a superstar. He hits it long, has an excellent short game and is a birdie machine. When he whipped the field at the 2007 Accenture Match Play it appeared as if it were just a matter of time before he ascended to the top five in the World Ranking. Stenson, who has made it to sixth, has been something of an enigma ever since.
9 of 12 Fred Vuich/SI
Graeme McDowell Northern Ireland Age: 29 RC Rank: 6 Driving Yds. 284.7 (94th) Fairways Pct. 63.7% (53rd) GIR Pct. 70.9% (27th) Putting Avg. 1.764 (28th) Ryder Cup (R) 0-0-0 World Rank 31st McDowell won twice in Europe this year and lived up to the expectations originating when he was a star at Alabama-Birmingham. McDowell has been susceptible to the big number, but two items sparked his recent rise: He mastered the cut shot, which led to improved iron play, and by doing radio commentary at the '06 Cup, he hardened his resolve to make this team.
10 of 12 Robert Beck/SI
Robert Karlsson Sweden Age: 39 RC Rank: 4 Driving Yds. 292.3 (32nd) Fairways Pct. 59.6% (114th) GIR Pct. 71.1% (25th) Putting Avg. 1.742 (8th) Ryder Cup (1) 0-1-2 World Rank 21st This 6' 5" Swede is scary good. He was the only player to finish in the top 10 in the first three majors this year — Masters (tie 8th), U.S. Open (tie 4th) and British Open (tie 7th) — and was 20th at the PGA Championship after holding the early first-round lead. A Karlsson-Stenson pairing would take a backseat only to Garcia-Westwood for the Euros.
11 of 12 Bob Martin/SI
Soren Hansen Denmark Age: 34 RC Rank: 2 Driving Yds. 292.8 (31st) Fairways Pct. 64.4 (42nd) GIR Pct. 73.6 (6th) Putting Avg. 1.787 (61st) Ryder Cup (R) 0-0-0 World Rank 44th Never mind that you've never heard of Hansen. What you need to know is that he owns a classic swing that holds up under pressure. In fact, Padraig Harrington said that there isn't a player in Europe who wouldn't trade for Hansen's swing. He is very accurate with his irons, but it's his putter that has held him back.
12 of 12 John Biever/SI
Justin Rose England Age: 28 RC Rank: 24 Driving Yds. 286.4 (108th) Fairways Pct. 64.06% (87th) GIR Pct. 61.85% (148th) Putting Avg. 1.826 (186th) Ryder Cup (R) 0-0-0 World Rank 14th Though he's known as a good ball striker, Rose hasn't had his best year in '08. He's losing tee shots left, and his iron play is off, especially from 150 yards and in, which explains why he ranks a pathetic 201st on the PGA Tour in birdies per round. Rose has not been a strong closer. Several meltdowns in majors raise questions about whether he can handle pressure. See the Ryder Cup Ranks for the U.S. team