Conventional wisdom says that Europe will win this Ryder Cup in a blowout. Wrong! Here are 10 reasons why the conventional wisdom is just plain incorrect.
2 of 11Zuma/Icon SMI
Ian Poulter is incapable of losing a Ryder Cup. Wrong. Poulter was a member of Europe’s losing 2008 team at Valhalla, where he and Justin Rose dropped a Friday foursomes match to Chad Campbell and Stewart Cink. What’s more, Poulter’s win percentage in four appearances (.80) isn’t sustainable. Watch for Poulter -- who turned in just two top-10s on Tour in 2014 -- to regress toward the mean and inch closer to Colin Montgomerie (.65), Seve Ballesteros (.59) and Nick Faldo (.54).
3 of 11Fred Vuich/SI
Europe has Rory McIlroy, who is inarguably the best player on any type of course and in any conditions. Wrong. The U.S. has Rickie Fowler, whose four top-five finishes in the four majors in 2014 was matched by no one -- not even the great McIlroy.
4 of 11UPI/Mark Cowan /LANDOV
Sergio rallies the Euros to victory. Wrong. Garcia, whom the Americans love to hate, can rally the Americans, too. He and Luke Donald got the Yankee juggernaut of Keegan Bradley and Phil Mickelson rolling in 2012 as the Americans posted a 4 and 3 victory. Bradley yelled so loud at the culmination of the match he got dizzy and nearly passed out on the green -- a source of great hilarity to his veteran partner, Mickelson. And Anthony Kim’s 5 and 4 pasting of Garcia in the lead singles match set the stage for Team USA’s romp at Valhalla in 2008.
5 of 11Chris Cole/Getty Images
The U.S. has no chance on the road. Wrong. The last time Tom Watson led a group of Yanks into battle overseas, at the Belfry in 1993, they won 15-13. Plus, as an adopted son of Scotland, five-time British Open champion Watson will confound and torment the locals as they try in vain to root against him.
6 of 11Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
The Americans are too young. Wrong. The Europeans are too old. Thomas Bjorn (pictured), 43, hasn’t played in a Ryder Cup since 2002, and has hardly lit it up since his T8 at the Masters way back in April. The same can be said of captain’s pick Lee Westwood, 41, who missed the cut at the U.S. and British Opens and failed to advance beyond week one of the FedEx Cup playoffs with a T57 at the Barclays.
7 of 11AP/Patrick Semansky
Tiger’s absence will kill the Americans. Wrong. Woods is wired for individual domination, not team play. His absence helps the U.S. team maintain balance as 12 men pulling together, not 11 men and one golf deity. The last time Tiger missed a Ryder Cup, in 2008, the Yanks won 16 ½ to 11 ½ and broke a nine-year winless streak.
8 of 11Fred Vuich/SI
Phil is having an off year, and that’s going to kill the Americans, who desperately need his veteran leadership. Wrong. Team USA supporters should feel optimistic precisely because Mickelson has done almost nothing in 2014. In the past, he’s gotten to this point in the season with little left to prove, but this year Mickelson has one last chance to salvage what has been an utterly forgettable 2014. He’s 44, but the Mickelson magic is still in there. Sometimes it just takes a big stage (like the PGA Championship, or the Ryder Cup) to bring it out.
9 of 11REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Watson picked the wrong three guys as his captain’s picks. Wrong. Chris Kirk and Billy Horschel may have won FedEx Cup playoff events in Boston and Denver, respectively, but that’s nothing compared to the pressure of playing in the Ryder Cup. Keegan Bradley, Hunter Mahan and Webb Simpson have been there.
10 of 11Graham Chadwick/Daily Mail/ZUMA Press
Europe will win because Europe always wins. Wrong. That’s why the Americans will win. These 12 guys have been bruised and battered. They have a score to settle, this so-called “Redeem Team,” and they’re going to settle it.
11 of 11Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports
The U.S. has weaker rookies. Wrong. Patrick Reed (pictured) was a match play killer as an amateur, and Jordan Spieth was so intimidated by playing with Tiger at Torrey Pines early this year, Spieth dusted the 14-time major winner by eight strokes. Et tu, Europe? How many highlights has Victor Dubuisson authored since the WGC-Match Play way back in February? And if your life depended on it, could you tell the difference between Jamie Donaldson and Stephen Gallacher? Didn’t think so.
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