Courtesy of Ryder Cup
Vice Captains: Des Smyth, Sam Torrance, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Padraig Harrington, Jose Maria Olazabal
Rory McIlroy (Age, 25)
OWGR: 1 Ryder Cup Appearances: 2 Record (4W-3L-2H)
It’s always nice when you know your side has the best player in the world. His dominance this year will be ingrained into all of the American team. But as much as this is a positive, it also means he is there to be shot at and every American will go that extra yard to beat Europe’s star man. His length off the tee will be daunting for anybody he faces and quite frankly, if he plays well – he wins.
Sergio Garcia (Age, 34)
OWGR: 3 Ryder Cup Appearances: 6 Record (16W-8L-4H)
Only Lee Westwood has more Ryder Cup experience than the supremely talented Spaniard. 2014 has been full of high profile nearly misses including the Open and WGC Bridgestone. Regardless, Garcia is in the form of his life. He’s added maturity to his game, which has come with age. His level head and undeniable ability means he will be a player the American’s would rather avoid.
Henrik Stenson (Age, 38)
OWGR: 4 Ryder Cup Appearances: 2 Record (2W-3L-2H)
It’s been a largely mediocre year for the Swede despite contending at both the US Open and PGA Championship. But considering the 2013 he had, where he became the first player to win the Fed-Ex Cup and Race to Dubai in the same season, it’s understandable. His match play record is very respectable having won the World Match Play Championship in 2007 and finished 3rd the year after. Last appearance was in the losing 2008 side, will want to avenge these memories!
Justin Rose (Age, 34)
OWGR: 6 Ryder Cup Appearances: 2 Record (6W-3L-0H)
Since his US Open victory last year, Rose has been recognised as one of the best players on the planet. Has a title on both the European and PGA Tour this year. One of his wins came at the Scottish Open on a links course – similarities between that and Gleneagles are there for all to see. Only Ian Poulter has a better win % in Ryder Cups and his unerring consistency makes him a rock solid match play competitor. Was also one of the main catalysts in the Mircale at Medinah after his final day performance against Phil Mickelson.
Martin Kaymer (Age, 29)
OWGR: 12 Ryder Cup Appearances: 2 Record (3W-2L-1H)
If it wasn’t for Rory McIlroy, the German would have a good claim for player of the year in 2014. He won the US Open by 8 strokes and that followed a win at what some call the ‘fifth major’, the Players Championship. He is the ultimate golfing machine at his best and finds greens like they’re going out of fashion. Has a runner-up spot at the WGC Match Play and sank the winning putt in the Mircale at Medinah.
Graeme McDowell (Age, 35)
OWGR: 18 Ryder Cup Appearances: 3 Record (5W-5L-2H)
The Northern Irishman is one of the most consistent performers in the world. Anybody who comes up against him will know they’re in for a fight whether he’s playing well or not. Retained his French Open title this year in tough, windy conditions and also recorded a top 10 at the Open. Can be put in the Poulter category where passion is concerned and this alone will win him points. We’ve seen worse bets than McDowell top European points scorer.
Victor Dubuisson (Age, 24)
OWGR: 23 Ryder Cup Appearances: 0 (ROOKIE)
One of the most exciting talents in the game after bursting onto everyone’s radar last November with a win in the Race to Dubai final series. 2014, despite being winless, has seen him make huge strides forward on the biggest stages. T9 at the Open and T7 at the PGA Championship followed up a year where he earned exemption onto the PGA Tour for the remainder of the year. This came about after his magnificent display at the WGC Match Play, where he lost out to Jason Day in the final.
Jamie Donaldson (Age, 38)
OWGR: 28 Ryder Cup Appearances: 0 (ROOKIE)
2014 has also been a year where the Welshman rose to the top of the game, now inside the top 30 in the world. Of course a win in the Czech Republic was good but it was his 2nd at the WGC Cadillac that was almost more impressive. His season includes 7 top 10’s – helping him to 3rd in the Race to Dubai standings. Arguably one of the most in form players in the team off the back of a 1st, 7th and 3rd in his last 3 starts. Might be a rookie but could easily play 5 matches.
Thomas Bjorn (Age, 43)
OWGR: 30 Ryder Cup Appearances: 2 Record (3W-2L-1H)
Bjorn is in a very similar position to America’s Jimmy Walker – both had stunning starts to their year and have led their respective tour rankings for large periods but have struggled relatively in recent weeks. Even so, his age and experience will be vital in a team that includes 3 rookies. Has 15 wins to his name on the European Tour and his been victorious in both his appearances at the Ryder Cup. Might not excite the fans as much as others but a team needs experience and level heads as much as youthful exuberance.
OWGR: 34 Ryder Cup Appearances: 0 (ROOKIE)
Arguably the biggest talking point in this team but we are absolutely buzzing to see him there. Not only has he earned his spot but it sends out a message to all other European Tour stalwarts that you can make the team without plying your trade in America. The Scot has enjoyed his most successful year ever on the European Tour and being a local lad, this is a special time for him. The scary thing for America is his record at Gleneagles – 7 top 10’s including a runner-up last year. Magnificent ability with his irons too.
Ian Poulter (Age, 38)
OWGR: 37 Ryder Cup Appearances: 4 Record (12W-3L-0H)
Sir Ian needs no introduction. Quite simply an outstanding performer on the Ryder Cup stage – has only ever lost 3 times in 15 matches which is a win % of 80%! Never lost a singles match and has 2 WGC Match play titles. Only Keegan Bradley comes anywhere near that sort of win % in Ryder Cups. Okay, he might not be in the best of form but match play is as much about passion and temperament as it is about the golf. Poulter will have a presence on every green he stands on and nobody will want to be up against him. Watch him roar!
Courtesy of Ryder Cup
Lee Westwood (Age, 41)
OWGR: 41 Ryder Cup Appearances: 8 Record (18W-13L-6H)
Has sneaked in the back door you could argue but he is the most experienced member of the team – 8 Ryder Cups no less. 2014 has been disappointing but 7th at the Masters and a win at the Malaysian Open still shows he’s one of the best out there. We all know his ability tee to green, just needs to make sure he dispels the usual negativity that surrounds his putting. But similar to Bjorn, victorious teams are built on a combination of youth and experience and Lee brings copious amounts of the latter. Huge influence in the dressing room too.
ALSO SEE OUR – Guide to Team USA
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