Wednesday, September 29, 2010



On paper, the Europeans have the edge as the 2010 Ryder Cup officially tees off Friday at the Celtic Manor Resort in Wales. The potential European team was so strong this summer that Paul Casey -- currently ranked seventh in the world -- was left off the team.
But upsets happen, especially at the Ryder Cup. So who does the staff at PGATOUR.COM like for the matches? We break it down:

STAN AWTRY.  Result forecast: US 15, Europe 13. Star man - Tiger Woods.
The United States may be the underdog this weekend, but they've still got three of the best players in the world and plenty of experience in match play. Performance of the players picked by U.S. captain Corey Pavin will be critical to the team's success, while the picks made by Colin Montgomerie will come back to bite him.

MIKE McALLISTER. Forecast:  Europe 15, US 13. Star man - Ian Poulter.
 Europe has six rookies, while the U.S. has five, but it's much easier to be a rookie when you've got the gallery supporting you. So a slight advantage has to go to the Europeans there in terms of who'll be less nervous. Plus, I just think more Europeans than Americans are in top form right now.

RYAN SMITHSON. Forecast: Europe 19, US 9. Star man - Francisco Molinari.
You know the Yanks are in for a tough time when Paul Casey can't even make the European team. The United States have a lot of guys who are not playing their best golf right now (Overton, Watson, Mahan). Coupled with the ultimate of away games, they are in for a tough weekend. The Ryder Cup is going back to the other side by a huge margin.

JOHN SCHWARB. Forecast; US 14.5, Europe 13.5. Star man - Steve Stricker. 
This pick defies recent Ryder Cup history, the strength of each roster and just about any other logical measure. But weird things happen in match play, and the Americans can feed off the widespread notion that they'll come home without the Cup. And if you think captains make a difference, don't you think Monty will slip up somewhere?

LAUREN DEASON. Forecast: Europe 19, US 9. Star man - Rory McIlroy.
The U.S. has the advantage when it comes to long hitters and the top players in the Official World Golf Ranking, but Team Europe has location and experience on their side. Tiger's not at his best right now, and several of the U.S. players, including Jim Furyk, will be tired from the Playoffs finale. I think Europe takes back the Ryder Cup this weekend.

HELEN ROSS. Forecast: US 15, Europe 13. Star man - Jim Furyk.

I know the Europeans are heavy favourites -- particularly in front of a home crowd on a home course in Wales -- but I am going with the United States. Nearly half of the Americans are rookies, and I think that could be a bonus -- just as it was at Valhalla. They won't have any baggage, and hopefully the veterans will have left theirs in the majestic rooms at Celtic Manor.

ANNE SZEKER. Forecast: US 16.5, Europe 11.5. Star man - Rickie Fowler.
Americans thrive as underdogs. We have the No. 1 player in the world with something to prove, the FedExCup champion, the Masters champion, a rookie with great match-play credentials -- to just name a few. In the words of Herb Brooks, "Great moments ... are born from great opportunity. And that's what you have here, tonight, boys."

BRIAN WACKER. Forecast: Europe 16, US 12. Star man - Lee Westwood.
The U.S. has five rookies and serious question marks surrounding Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson in terms of their play this season. Plus, the U.S. almost never wins in Europe -- the last time it did was in 1993 at The Belfry. Europe is just a better team with Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer, Ian Poulter and Rory McIlory. Westwood is an absolute stud in this event.

CHRIS DURHAM. Forecast: Europe 15.5, US 12.5. Star man - Luke Donald.
I don't believe the talent difference is what many perceive it to be, but many on the U.S. team are stumbling into this competition. Of the nine U.S. players who made it to THE TOUR Championship, just two two finished better than 15th in the 30-man field. Obviously, it's a home game for the Europeans, and their consistency will make the difference.

MELANIE HAUSER. Forecast: US 14.5, Europe 13.5. Star man - Tiger Woods.
I was all set to take the logical choice -- the Euros. The homeboys. They know the course. But something stopped me. Got to thinking and ... well, let's just say the table is set a bit too nicely for the Euros. It simply could be the perfect time for the upstart Yanks to take one across the pond and retain the Ryder Cup. There, I said it.

JOHN MAGINNES. Forecast: US 16, Europe 12. Star man - Tiger Woods.
At some point in time, I probably had a few Ryder Cup qualifying points and even though I was never even close to making the team, it is still my team. The U.S. has come to realise that it takes a team effort to win, and that every point is critical. Even though there are a handful of rookies on the squad, they are ready. I predict a close match.

CRAIG DOLCH. Forecast: Europe 16, US 12. Star man - Martin Kaymer.
There is a reason why the American have won just once in Europe since 1981. The boisterous European crowd is only part. Others are: 1. The top American players are not playing their best. 2. Montgomerie set up the course the way that favours his team's strengths. 3. The Europeans have already played an event at Celtic Manor. It won't be a blow-out, however.



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