The 2014 Ryder Cup will take place at the PGA Centenary Course, Gleneagles Scotland with the first games teeing off on Friday 26th September. It is, without doubt, one of the most eagerly awaited sporting events of the year and thousands of golf fans will descend on this picturesque setting to see if Europe can defend the trophy that they won in spectacular style in Medinah back in 2012.
Of course, the United States will be itching to put that hurtful loss behind them as they seek to end a run of two European victories and regain the trophy. History however suggests that the Americans have a tough task ahead of them, their last victory on European soil came back at The Belfry in 1993. Indeed, since 1981, American has only won on European soil twice, though they did retain the trophy in 1989 at The Belfry when as defending Ryder Cup winners, they achieved a 14-14 draw.
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The Ryder Cup will take place this year at the PGA Centenary Course at Gleneagles. Designed by Jack Nicklaus, this is a course which will test all areas of your game with players likely to face some tricky long putts, tough tee shots and risky approaches.
Of course, much depends on the weather. Benign conditions will soften up the course and give the players a better chance of lower scoring, however if the wind picks up and the rainclouds descend, this can be a very tough test of golf for even the world’s finest players.
Let’s take a look at each hole that this years Ryder Cup stars will face over the three days of action:
Although celebrations start on the 23rd September, the actual Ryder Cup competition starts on 26th September 2014, with the superb Gleneagles Hotel the host of what promises to be one of the most hotly contested sporting events of 2014.
Europe have been on top in recent years, and are favourites to retain the trophy yet again, but it hasn’t always been like that and whichever side comes out on top this time around will know they been in dog fight.
So as the tournament is just around the corner let’s take a look at some of the best ever Ryder Cup players by looking at who has scored the most points overall in this historic event.
One of the most intriguing aspects about the Ryder Cup is that for the first two days of competition, golfers must play two relatively novel types of the game in order to earn points for their team. The Fourballs and Foursomes may sound the same, but each requires a certain skill set and abilities in order to master.
It is perfectly feasible for one player to be a great fourball player, but stink at foursomes and vice versa. Part of the manager’s skill, and the dilemma that Tom Watson and Paul McGinley will be ruminating over, is which of their 12 players will form the best partnerships over the crucial first two days of action.
While the Ryder Cup drama usually unfolds on the third day, teams performing well in these pairs matches gain a mighty advantage and as such, picking the right pairings at the right time and in the right format of the game, is the essence of being a successful Ryder Cup captain.
So which players in history have had the best Ryder Cup pairings records?
It may seem almost impossible to pick five single events from Ryder Cup history that have encapsulated this incredible golfing competition for Europe, but we have attempted to do so. We are sure not everyone will agree, and there are many incredible moments we have left out, holes-in-one by Howard Clark and Paul Casey for example, but for us these are the five moments in European Ryder Cup history that have left us breathless.
5. Justin Rose – Final Three Holes of Singles v Phil Mickelson – 2012 Ryder Cup
After a strong start by Europe in the 2012 Ryder Cup singles, winning the opening three matches, plus the fifth match to level the score at 10-10. Attention switched to Justin Rose encounter with American legend Phil Mickelson.
At the 16th hole both players missed the green with their approaches and their third shot left them with tricky putts to ensure par. Mickelson went first and sank the putt to heap all the pressure back on Rose, who amazingly had nerves of steel, rolling in the putt to stay just 1-down to the American.
However it was on the 17th that the drama unfolded. Mickelson hit through the green, but chipped his second shot just past the hole, almost holing it. A certain gimme-3. Rose was left with a hugely difficult 30-foot putt, downhill with a left to right break to win the hole, although most feared that the game may be over in the US favour if Rose missed as a two putt was not a certainty.
What followed next was one of the finest putts you are likely to witness in golfing history.
Rose incredible putt tied the game up after 17 holes and even drew acclaim from Mickelson who applauded the putt in a remarkable show of good sportsmanship.
Better still, Rose then went up the 18th tee and turned a half into a full point, by winning the final hole too and laying the foundation for what was to follow.
The Ryder Cup hasn’t been particularly rich pickings for the US team in recent times, even their victories, notably at Brookline in 1999 and Kiawah Island in 1991, were tinged with controversy.
However, that should not detract from some truly spectacular moments and just a few weeks before the start of the 2014 Ryder Cup, let’s take a look at some of the US best moments from this most dramatic of sporting events.
5. The United States Wins the 2008 Ryder Cup
The 2008 Ryder Cup was the first time since 1999 that America lifted the trophy. It remains their only victory thus far in the 21st Century.
Paul Azinger’s team took on Nick Faldo’s Europe at Valhalla and the home team were in electric form from the off. The American’s lead 3-1 after the first morning foursomes and it was a lead they would never relinquish.
Europe battled back to 9-7 down ahead of the singles, but despite heroics from Ian Poulter, the US team, led by rookies like Anthony Kim, Kenny Perry, Boo Weekley, JB Holmes, Ben Curtis and Chad Campbell proved too strong.
Victory was assured when Spaniard Miguel Angel Jiminez missed a putt on 17th, to win the hole and force Jim Furyk to play the 18th.
The pressure on Jiminez was immense and it told as the ball rolled off line handing Furyk the point and the United States the Ryder Cup for the first time in many years.