2014 Ryder Cup Preview: Who Has the Edge?

2014 Ryder Cup, image: golfchannel.com

2014 Ryder Cup, image: golfchannel.com

With all of the excitement building in anticipation of the 2014 Ryder Cup Series, golf fans and professionals alike can’t help but speculate about which team has the edge for this week’s battle in Scotland.

This year’s venue is especially fitting, since the biannual Ryder Cup is being held at the Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire, Scotland – the country where golf was born, as well as home to a course that hasn’t hosted the Ryder cup since 1973.

With the American and European crews both consisting of a mixed bag of the world’s best golfers, this year’s tournament is destined to be one for the record books. Let’s take a look at the teams to see which side of the pond has the best advantage to take home this year’s 2014 Ryder Cup trophy.

Team USA: Tom Watson Leads an All-Star Team of Players

If you’ve been following the Ryder Cup for the last few decades, then you probably already know that Team USA hasn’t had a win on foreign soil since 1993. Luckily, that was also the last time that Tom Watson was U.S. captain, and this time he plans to tap into the same determination and resolve that won the Cup back in ’93:

In an interview Watson gave for Golf Digest, Watson stated that, “We’re not going to Gleneagles to have a nice time. We’re going there to bring back the Ryder Cup. Win at all costs, basically.”  That’s exactly the type of attitude that the U.S. Team needs in a captain.

Watson went on to say that, “I want players who hate losing as much as I do. No, more than I do. And I think I’ve got them.”

It’s refreshing to hear that Watson has full confidence in his comrades, including his three Ryder Cup captain’s picks.  Keegan Bradley, Hunter Mahan and Webb Simpson all possess the ability to outperform the competition during the match-play event, with all three boasting consistent career success over recent tournament performance.

Combined with a veteran golfer like Phil Mickelson and the promising Rickie Fowler, who famously marks his Titleist golf balls with an orange dot to the left of the logo, this year’s U.S. Team may have just what it takes to win the coveted Cup.

Team Europe: The Established Force of the Ryder Cup

It’s no secret that the European team garners some of the best professional golfers in the world.  Their dominance in the biannual tournament certainly showed in 2012 during a win that has been called one of the greatest Ryder Cup comebacks of all time.

2014’s Team Europe is being led by team captain Paul McGinley, who will have the privilege of overseeing the best golfers from across the continent.

Although the battle for the European Team’s captain spot was rather contentious at times, Rory McIlroy’s confidence in the 2014 team captain is no secret.

In a statement made to the Associated Press, the Nike golf club devotee said of his team captain that, “He makes you feel so good about yourself.  He put me at number one and he’s like `I want you lead out the team’. He builds you up and makes you feel confident.”

When a guy like McGinley has got the number one ranked golfer in the world backing him as team captain, he’s clearly got great odds for leading his team to victory. What’s more, with the likes of Sergio Garcia as well as Ian Poulter – One of McGinley’s wildcard picks who is no stranger to Ryder Cup play – the European team looks poised to have a substantial edge on the Americanso

But don’t rule out the U.S. Team just yet:  With Watson at the helm, the Westerners could very well be positioned for an upset. The 2014 Ryder Cup is certainly going to be worth the two-year wait.  We’ll be watching.

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