Ryder Cup set to tee off

September 25, 2014

U.S. vs. Europe on Golf Channel 11:35 a.m. PT 

US team captain Tom Watson stands on the 16th tee box during a practice round ahead of the Ryder Cup golf tournament at Gleneagles, Scotland, Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

US team captain Tom Watson stands on the 16th tee box during a practice round ahead of the Ryder Cup golf tournament at Gleneagles, Scotland, Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

By The Korea Times Los Angeles staff

The 2014 Ryder Cup is set to begin Sept. 26 and will be hosted by Scotland’s own Gleneagles PGA Centenary Course – a site that has hosted a multitude of professional golfing events since the first-ever Ryder Cup in 1921.

After coming off of a disappointing 2012 Ryder Cup loss, the U.S. seeks to avenge the final-round tragedy in which the European team achieved a historic comeback victory after trailing 10-6 going into the last day.

As dominant as the U.S. looked two years ago both on paper and in the majority of the actual matches, the narrative has changed. Now they will assume the role of underdogs playing against a stacked European opposition.

Europe boasts a lineup with the world’s best player, Rory McIlroy. Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose, and Martin Kaymer, are other notables who are ranked third, fifth, sixth and twelfth, respectively.

Among the team, they have won three of the four majors this year – two by Rory and the other by Kaymer.

That’s not to say the U.S. team isn’t bubbling with talent. 2014 Masters champion Bubba Watson will be the top player at seventh in the world rankings.

Rickie Fowler, who came off of a career year, was in the top-five in every single major this year and is ranked as tenth in the world.

Rankings aren’t everything though. What makes the Ryder Cup exciting though is that a roster of strong individual players does not necessarily translate into a strong team performance.

For example, Tiger Woods, who will not be a part of the team this year due to back injuries and recent poor play, has a losing 13-14-2 Ryder Cup record. He has played in five of the last six Ryder Cup tournaments and only had a winning record of 3-2-0 in 2006 despite his individual dominance over the same span of time.

Part of the reason might be the tournament’s format.

On the first two days, the players engage in 2-on-2 team match play. Instead of counting an 18-hole stroke total, a team receives a point for each hole won by a team member. The easiest way to think of it is a best out of 18 hole format.

On the third and final day, players go head-to-head with the team captains – Tom Watson for the U.S. and Paul McGinley for Europe - choosing the match-ups.

The Ryder Cup presents a unique experience for players and fans alike and if we’ve learned anything from previous years, it’s that anything can happen.

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