2016 RYDER CUP PREVIEW: Teams, golf course, format and talking points

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The always enthralling Ryder Cup rolls around again this week; this time Team USA and Europeans will battle it out on American soil at Hazeltine National Golf Club.

Even without a vested interest in team Europe or USA, make sure you watch The Ryder Cup this week if you can. It’s truly one of the great golf spectacles as teams from Europe and USA go head-to-head in a series of match play matches that have produced some of the most memorable moments in competitive golf history.

This week The Ryder Cup returns to American soil, Hazeltine National golf Club; that place where YE Yang beat Tiger Woods to the US PGA championship in 2009 – was Tiger ever the same after that? So needless to say, the crowd are going to be raucous. Rowdy, even.

As we discuss in our TALKING POINTS below, some barbs have already been thrown. Johnny Miller says it’s the worst European team in many years, David Love III says it’s the best US team ever, but with a special task force assembled to ensure a US victory for the first time since 2008 the pressure is all on the USA this week. Don’t miss it.

TEAMS AND CAPTAINS


Captain
Darren Clarke

Assistants
Thomas Bjorn
Padriag Harrington
Paul Lawrie
Ian Poulter
Sam Torrence

EUROPE
Rory McIlroy
Henrik Stenson
Rafa Cabrero Bello
Matthew Fitzpatrick
Andy Sullivan
Sergio Garcia
Martin Kaymer
Thomas Pieters
Justin Rose
Danny Willett
Chris Wood
Lee Westwood
USA
Dustin Johnson
Zach Johnson
Brooks Koepka
Jimmy Walker
Phil Mickelson
Matt Kuchar
Jordan Spieth
Patrick Reed
Brandt Snedeker
Rickie Fowler
JB Holmes
Ryan Moore

Captain
Davis Love III

Assistants
Jim Furyk
Tom Lehman
Steve Stricker
Bubba Watson
Tiger Woods


FORMAT
The Ryder Cup takes places over three days – with three or four days of practice rounds, dinners and fashion shoots preceding it.

Friday and Saturday consist of 4x fourball matches in the morning, followed by 4x foursome matches in the afternoon.
Sunday sees every player from each team playing 12 singles matches. With 28 points up for grabs, 14.5 points are required to win the Ryder Cup.

Can the ‘Task Force’ get a USA victory?
Without doubt the major talking point will be whether the USA can actually win one of these things again. Europe have won the last three Ryder Cup’s and six of the last seven. With a special ‘Ryder Cup task force’ established, the pressure is on Team USA to get a win on home soil this year.

TALKING POINTS

Can the ‘Task Force’ get a USA victory?
Without doubt the major talking point will be whether the USA can actually win one of these things again. Europe have won the last three Ryder Cup’s and six of the last seven. With a special ‘Ryder Cup task force’ established, the pressure is on Team USA to get a win on home soil this year.


Best USA team ever assembled?

And maybe they will be difficult to beat if captain Davis Love III’s words are anything to go by. Love claimed that his Ryder Cup team “is the best team, maybe, ever assembled”. Strong words before a Ryder Cup, espeically when you consider the 1981 American Ryder Cup team of Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Lee Trevino, Johnny Miller, Hale Irwin, Raymond Floyd, Tom Kite, Ben Crenshaw, Larry Nelson, Jerry Pate and Bill Rogers. All were, or went on to become major champions and smashed Europe by 9 points at Walton Heath in Surrey.

Worst European team in a long time?
Johnny Miller isn’t afraid of a controversial comment or two and he has got on the front foot proclaiming that Europe has “the worst team they’ve had in many years.”

No Poulter, no Europe?
This will be the first Ryder Cup without one of Europe’s most passionate golfers since 2006, Ian Poulter. Poulter has had a poor couple of years but no matter what form he always seems to perform at the Ryder Cup and was vital in their incredible Miracle at Medinah victory in 2012.

Bubba Watson the assistant captain
It was surprising to see David Love III leave Bubba Watson out of the Ryder Cup team in favour of Rickie Fowler, Ryan Moore and Matt Kuchar. Watson seems to have embraced the idea of simply being at the event as an assistant captain but you have to wonder if Bubba may have got the crowd going and been a vital cog in a potential US victory. Especially when you think back to scenes like this one.

HOW TO WATCH AND FOLLOW

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