2014 Ryder Cup: What you need to know

Here is our summary on what you need to know ahead of the 2014 Ryder Cup.

One might expect that us Australian golf fans, on the far side of the planet from Scotland, may be fairly neutral when it comes to the biennial showdown between Europe and the United States – The Ryder Cup.

But it wouldn’t be much fun to watch this golf tournament with one cheek on either side of the fence, and I’ve yet to meet anyone who is supporting (or rooting) for one team in preference over the other.

So with the 2014 Ryder Cup teeing off at Gleneagles in Scotland on Friday, here is what Australian golf fans need to know.

Is it on Australian TV?
Yep. FoxSports has all the action from 4:30pm this Friday. Perfect for post-work drinks!

Who won last time?
Europe. And it was quite possibly the best golf tournament in the last 10 years. Europe trailed 10 -6 going into the final 12 singles matches with the US needing just 4.5 points to win. Europe won eight matches and halved one match to win the Ryder Cup and make grown men react like this:

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What is the overall score?
The 2014 Ryder Cup marks the 40th time the event has been held. The Ryder Cup was originally contested between Great Britain and United States but in 1979 European golfers formed were invited to play and make up the European team.
Overall, the United States had won 25 of the 29 matches with two ties. But since 1979, Europe has a winning advantage winning nine of the 17 times with one draw. Most notably, Europe has won seven of the last nine Ryder Cups and the US haven’t won on European soil since 1993.

What are the teams and how are they chosen?
The majority of the teams are chosen based on how well the golfers have fared over the past two years. The European players are chosen on a points system based on European Tour results and world golf rankings.  Selection for the US team is based on points earned in majors and the PGA Tour.

The teams
Don’t expect to see Tiger Woods at the Ryder Cup. He ruled himself out of contention a while ago due to recurring back pain. Jason Dufner is also out due to injury and Dustin Johnson is on extended leave from golf right now.

Team Europe
Rory McIlroy
Henrik Stenson
Victor Dubuisson
Jamie Donaldson
Thomas Björn
Sergio Garcia
Martin Kaymer
Graeme McDowell
Justin Rose
Stephen Gallacher*
Ian Poulter*
Lee Westwood*
Paul McGinley (captain)

Team USA
Bubba Watson
Rickie Fowler
Jim Furyk
Jimmy Walker
Phil Mickelson
Matt Kuchar
Jordan Spieth
Patrick Reed
Zach Johnson
Keegan Bradley*
Hunter Mahan*
Webb Simpson*
Tom Watson (captain)

* Captain’s pick

Any controversy in the captain’s picks?
Yes. Paul McGinley left out Ryder Cup regular Luke Donald but his form hasn’t exactly been stellar.
Tom Watson’s picks needed to be in a month ago. At the time he made his selections, his choices of Webb Simpson and Hunter Mahan raised a few eyebrows. But after the form of Chris Kirk and FedEx Cup champion Billy Horschel over the past few weeks, those choices look increasingly bad.

The course
Gleneagles is in Scotland, but it isn’t your typical Scottish golf course. Forget links style golf, the Jack Nicklaus designed PGA Centenary Course is more like a golf course you would expect to find on the PGA Tour. It’s inland about an hour north-west of Edinburgh but most golf experts are saying it favours the American style of golf.

The format
Unlike the Presidents Cup, the Ryder Cup takes places over just three days – with three or four days of practice rounds, dinners and fashion shoots preceding it. And unlike the Presidents Cup, some players sit out of the matches on Friday.
Friday and Saturday consist of 4 fourball matches in the morning, followed by 4 foursome matches in the afternoon. Sunday sees every player from each team playing 12 singles matches. With 28 points up for grabs, 14.5 points are required to win the Ryder Cup.

Best tweet so far?
I think it was this one from CBS Sports Kyle Porter.

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