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Who has the Ryder Cup advantage?

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By Greg Moore

GolfWRX Staff 

Medinah Country Club is the host site of the 39th Ryder Cup and will be played at the famed No. 3 course Sept. 28-30.

The course has been the venue for three U.S. Opens (1949 — Cary Middlecoff); 1975 — Lou Graham and 1990 — Hale Irwin), two PGA Championships (1999 and 2006, both won by Tiger Woods), as well as a U.S. Senior Open in 1988 (Gary Player).

Tom Bendlow originally designed No. 3, with Roger Packard making substantial changes to the course in 1986. Rees Jones reworked the course in 2006, extending the yardage to 7,561, which made it the longest golf course in major championship history at the time.

The 39th Ryder Cup marks the first time the match has been contested in the state of Illinois, as well as the first time since 1971 that the event will be played on U.S. soil outside the Eastern Time Zone. With the late September dates it will be interesting to see if weather plays any part in the final outcome.

Historical says the daytime highs generally run in the high 60s to low 70s, with the nighttime lows averaging in the mid to high 40s. Perfect football golf weather and really better than the hot, humid weather that the players endured during the summer.

Does this weather favor either team or any particular player(s)? I think not. With as much golf as these world-class players have played in their globe-trotting careers, they will be ready for whatever Mother Nature throws at them (and yes, the U.S. Team’s rain suits have been thoroughly tested). I think most every player will welcome the cooler temps.

Which team should be considered the odds on favorite? Based on World Rankings, the Euros on paper might seem to have the slight edge once again but looking at the current standings, the U.S. players have narrowed that chasm. Also when you consider how the European team seems to gel a bit better in the team competition, along with their record since 1985 (the European team is 8-4-1), Jose Maria Olazabal’s team might be worth putting a few Dollars, Pounds or Euros on (where gambling is legal, of course). Olazabal’s captain’s picks only add strength to his team. Ian Poulter adds veteran experience and energy to an already seasoned and passionate squad, and Nicolas Colsaerts, although a rookie, provides the driving distance and ball striking skills that could impact a match.

But hold on just one second — Captain Love’s squad has a very strong list of players who have automatically qualified. Tiger leads the way with three wins, Bubba with a win at The Masters, Webb Simpson winning the U.S. Open, Keegan Bradley with a win at WGC Bridgestone the week before the PGA Championship (and then a strong defense at Kiawah of his PGA win from 2011) and Jason Dufner with two wins. In fact, all eight automatic qualifiers have at least one win.

What is going to be tough for DL III is making that phone call to tell a couple of players they have been left off the team. With Davis still playing against his potential team members out on the PGA Tour, he will have a very good idea as to who is ready and who is not.

I’m not sure how some guys will take being left off the U.S. Team and then teeing up with Davis at a Fall series event!

Davis’ choices run so deep down the standings, he might be going as far down the list as the 15th, 16th or 17th place for one of his picks, based on how a player is playing at the time (though it sure would make his decision more palatable, if guys in the 9th through 12th-and-13th places were to win during the FedEx Cup events). Nick Watney certainly has given Captain Love reason to consider him with his win of The Barclays at the brutal setup of Bethpage Black.

All in all, this 39th Ryder Cup is showing all signs of being a very exciting event. Will it be one where some of the old guard is left off the U.S. roster in favor of getting some of the new blood playing experience? Or will the roster be loaded with veteran’s being given one last opportunity to shine?

Only a few more weeks until we all will know. Below are the current Ryder Cup team standings as of The Barclays.

Click here for more discussion in the “Tour Talk” forum. 

1 Tiger Woods 6,014.184
2 Bubba Watson 5,815.054
3 Jason Dufner 5,697.302
4 Keegan Bradley 5,551.206
5 Webb Simpson 4,635.500
6 Zach Johnson 4,491.544
7 Matt Kuchar 4,448.942
8 Phil Mickelson 4,233.108
9 Hunter Mahan 4,082.228
10 Steve Stricker 4,015.069
11 Jim Furyk 3,369.616
12 Rickie Fowler 3,313.338
13 Brandt Snedeker 3,176.787
14 Bo Van Pelt 3,152.315
15 Dustin Johnson 3,040.020
16 Robert Garrigus 2,604.580
17 Bill Haas 2,546.017
18 Ben Curtis 2,457.284
19 Scott Piercy 2,416.346
20 Kyle Stanley 2,341.219

 

 *Bold denotes players already qualified

 

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Greg, a member of the PGA of America for 30 years, travels around the U.S. taking photos for GolfWRX.com on the PGA Tour, Champions Tour, Web.com Tour, LPGA Tour and Symetra Tour. He also covers collegiate and amateur golf, and is a contributing writer for GolfWRX.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. James Lythgoe

    Aug 28, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    The Americans have the home field advantage in that they will have the fans supporting them. But, typically, Ryder Cup is simply a hard won battle between two groups of very talented golfers who are fiercely loyal to their cause. In the end, the spectator benefits because such a foundation from which to base the competition makes for some of the best theatre we will see in sport this year.

    All I can say, I prefer not to armchair quarterback the outcome, I prefer to watch every minute and enjoy the TV telecast.

    The Medinah Country Club is a wonderful golf course and will view very well on TV.

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Tour News

5 things we learned on Sunday of the 2018 U.S. Open

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Opportunity knocked for so many golfers, yet it was the 2017 champion who seized the moment when it was his. Brooks Koepka fired his second sub-par round of the week on Sunday to separate from playing partner Dustin Johnson, and enter the pantheon of multiple major champions. He became the 7th player to defend his title, joining old-school legends like Willie Anderson and John McDermott, mid-century icons like Ralph Guldahl and Ben Hogan, and the last man to accomplish the feat, Curtis Strange. With that introduction, let’s move to the main event, the 5 things we learned on Sunday at Shinnecock Hills.

5) The USGA gave golf a chance

True to its word, the USGA pulled out all the stops in the wee hours of Sunday morn. The course set-up team ensured that enough water was distributed to putting surfaces, that worthy shots would not be punished. Hole locations were assessed and confirmed, also ensuring that multiple opportunities for success were available. As a result, 15 golfers turned in scores under par of 70, highlighted by Tommy Fleetwood’s 7-under stunner. Although many fans, writers and players were quick to assault the organizers for losing control of the course, the USGA reminded us that it always had control of the conditions at Shinny, and that its only mistake was to soar too close to the sun.

4) Captain America ran out of gas

If Patrick Reed had been able to sign his card on the 9th tee, when he stood 5-under on the day and 1-over for the tournament, he would be in a playoff with the eventual champion as I type. Unfortunate for this year’s Masters champion was that 10 holes remained. Reed promptly bogeyed the 9th, added 3 more bogeys on the inward half, and summoned just one birdie toward the end. His fourth-place finish was his best in a U.S. Open, but knowing that victory was in the cards will sting for a while.

3) DJ and Finau gave it a run

Where to begin? How about this: DJ had four bogeys on Sunday. He totaled that many on Thursday-Friday combined. He had birdies, too, but couldn’t find the game that possessed him over the opening 36 holes. Oddly enough, this type of experience won’t be a setback for the 2016 champion. After all, he came back from a career-killer in 2015, when he 3-whacked his way out of a playoff with Jordan Spieth at Chambers Bay. As for Milton Pouhau Finau, aka Tony, the Utah native had never before been in the final group on any day of a major professional championship. He acquitted himself well, standing even on the day and 3-over for T2 at the 18th tee. Knowing that he needed eagle for a playoff might have taken the final winds from his sails, and he limped home with double bogey and solo third. Looking ahead to the final August playing of the PGA Championship, Bellerive near St. Louis might just be his type of course.

2) Tom Terrific nearly made his own U.S. Open history

I’ll write this cautiously, as I’m certain I would have intimated in the 1980s and 90s that Colin Montgomerie and Lee Westwood would have been major champions by now. Tommy Fleetwood ought to win one of these things soon. His record-tying 63 was a short putt away from a record-breaking 62. Eight birdies against a single bogey was the stuff of legend, and if only he had trusted that final putt a bit higher on the break … that’s not fair. Fleetwood right now is the fellow to watch at Carnoustie next month. Bet a few quid or bob or whatever on the Southport native, as he should contend for the title.

1) Brooks cooks up a winning broth

It’s easy to look back and see all the great shots that the defending champion hit over the four days of the 2018 U.S. Open, shots that would win him his second consecutive trophy. Remember that 60-feet bomb to save par on Saturday? Shades of Costantino Rocca. How about the approach shots to within mere feet that earned him 5 birdies on Sunday, including a competition-killer on 16? Koepka was the guy we thought Dustin Johnson would be. Perhaps it was the time off for wrist rehabilitation early this season that gave him the burning desire to win. Out for nearly 4 months, Koepka had plenty of time to ponder what he achieved last June in Wisconsin, and what might lay ahead for him. The begged question is, does the most recent, two-time major winner have the game to acquire more of the game’s cherished trophies?

Related: Brooks Koepka’s Winning WITB from the 2018 U.S. Open

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Wednesday’s Photos from the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills

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GolfWRX is live from the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club (par 70; 7,440 yards) in Southhampton, New York. The U.S. Open returns to Shinnecock for the first time since 2004 when Retief Goosen won (he failed to qualify for the 2018 event).

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Phil Mickelson, who has two top-5 finishes at Shinnecock Hills, will seek to fill out his career Grand Slam with a win this week. Also, it’s Tiger Woods’ 10-year anniversary of winning the legendary 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines — that was his most recent major championship victory.

Also in the field are headliners Dustin Johnson (now ranked No. 1 in the Official World Golf Rankings), Justin Thomas (No. 2), Justin Rose (No. 3), Jon Rahm (No. 4) and Jordan Spieth (No. 5).

Brooks Koepka (No. 9) is the defending champion; he won last year by four shots for his first and only major so far in his career.

Check out our photos from Shinnecock Hills below!

Wednesday’s Galleries

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Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums

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Spotted at Shinnecock: #RVLife, superb staff bags, stellar stampings

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We’re on the famed grounds of Shinnecock Hills Golf Club for the second major of the year. With the U.S. Open returned to such a visually and historically rich venue, it may be a bit tough to focus on equipment.

Nevertheless, we spotted some cool stuff, Tuesday, as the players move ever closer to the second major of th eyear.

Let’s get to the photos.

#RVLife propronent, Jason Day’s putter cover is incredible.

Michael Greller displays an essential caddie skill…

Face of Tiger’s wedge. Do these look like standard TaylorMade MG grooves to you?

Greatest side panel on a bag ever?

Who isn’t happy to see “Woods” on USGA tournament signage?

Shintaro Ban’s unique dot stamping is, well, money.

A look at the Bridgestone U.S. Open staff bag and headcovers.

Kenny Perry: Still gaming R7 irons.

Scott Gregory with some solid wedge stamping.

What is this lead taped and war torn beauty?

All our photos from Tuesday

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums

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