Ryder Cup: Meet the teams

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Europe and America renew the greatest rivalry in golf at Hazeltine. National from September 30–October 2. Here is how they line up:

The greatest spectacle in golf is here and it promises to be another epic battle. Europe has won eight of the last 10 matches dating back to 1995, but it’s a team in transition.

The USA convened a special Task Force and appointed a captain with previous experience and a score to settle as they search for a winning formula.

Both sides are stacked with world class talent and passions are sure to run high as the three days of intense competition unfold.

Over the next 35 pages we’ll delve into the very different motivations and styles of captains Darren Clarke and Davis Love III, take a closer look at Hazeltine National and relive some of the most iconic moments in Ryder Cup history.

But first, we’ve studied the teams and crunched the numbers to identify the key men and the strongest line up.

OUR EXCLUSIVE RYDER CUP COURSE GUIDE

MEET TEAM EUROPE

Henrik Stenson, Lee Westwood, captain Darren Clarke, Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, (Back L-R) Sergio Garcia, Danny Willett, Rafa Cabrera Bello, Chris Wood, Thomas Pieters, Martin Kaymer, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Andy Sullivan of Europe pose during team photocalls prior to the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National

Rory McIlroy

World ranking: 3rd

Majors: 4

Pro wins: 20

RC record: 6W-6L-4H

Driving distance: 304.9 yds

GIR: 68.4%

Scrambling: 58.8%

Putts per GIR: 1.751

The Northern Irishman hasn’t had his best year but he’s still our number one on paper. He’s never lost a singles match or the Ryder Cup overall in his three previous appearances. The team environment could be just what he needs to find his best form again.

Danny Willett

World ranking: 10th

Majors: 1

Pro wins: 5

RC record: Rookie

Driving distance: 288.3 yds

GIR: 71.2%

Scrambling: 57.2%

Putts per GIR: 1.753

The Masters champion has struggled to live up to those heroics through the summer but there’s no denying his talent and he’s still leading the Race to Dubai. He played in the Walker Cup in 2007 and took two points from three matches in the EurAsia Cup earlier this year.

Henrik Stenson

World ranking: 5th

Majors: 1

Pro wins: 19

RC record: 5W-4L-2H

Driving distance: 290.4 yds

GIR: 72.6%

Scrambling: 56.9%

Putts per GIR: 1.771

The Open champion is arguably the hottest golfer on the planet right now with two wins and seven more top 10s in 16 starts this year. The Swede is also a funny and popular guy in the team room. He’s played three Ryder Cups with two victories on home soil and a loss at Valhalla.

Sergio Garcia

World ranking: 12th

Majors: 0

Pro wins: 29

RC record: 18W-9L-5H

Driving distance: 298.9 yds

GIR: 69.9%

Scrambling: 56.7%

Putts per GIR: 1.778

The Spaniard has already played in seven Ryder Cups at the age of 36 – winning five of them. He’d notched a win and five more top 10s in his previous eight starts heading into the FedEx Cup Play-offs. He loves the Ryder Cup and he’s won twice as many matches as he’s lost in the competition.

Justin Rose

World ranking: 11th

Majors: 1

Pro wins: 20

RC record: 9W-3L-2H

Driving distance: 302.3 yds

GIR:68.2%

Scrambling: 58.0%

Putts per GIR: 1.775

The Olympic champion was undefeated from five matches at Gleneagles, taking four points from three wins and two halves. He struggled a little with injuries in the early part of 2016 but he got healthy over the summer and he’s found his best form at the perfect time.

Rafael Cabrera-Bello

World ranking: 30th

Majors: 0

Pro wins: 5

RC record: Rookie

Driving distance: 284.4 yds

GIR: 75.1%

Scrambling: 52.9%

Putts per GIR: 1.772

The 32-year-old has shown impressive consistency to sit at number four in the Race to Dubai and play his way onto the team.
He hadn’t played a lot of golf in America before this year but top 5s in the WGC – Dell Match Play, Shell Houston Open and Wyndham Championship are encouraging.

Chris Wood

World ranking: 32nd

Majors: 0

Pro wins: 4

RC record: Rookie

Driving distance: 289.9 yards

GIR: 67.0%

Scrambling: 58.9%

Putts per GIR: 1.759

The tall Bristolian leapt up the standings with victory at the BMW PGA Championship in May, following some good form at the end of 2015. He’s played the last five majors without breaking into the top 20 so this will be a big step up for him, but he does have a decent matchplay record.

Andy Sullivan

World ranking: 50th

Majors: 0

Pro wins: 3

RC record: Rookie

Driving distance: 290.2 yds

GIR: 70.2%

Scrambling: 55.4%

Putts per GIR: 1.767

Sullivan burst onto the scene with three European Tour wins last year. He’s a consistent player whose overall performance is far greater than the sum of its parts. He was part of a winning Walker Cup team in 2011 and had a 100% record at the EurAsia Cup earlier this year.

Matt Fitzpatrick

World ranking: 44nd

Majors: 0

Pro wins: 2

RC record: Rookie

Driving distance: 278.5 yds

GIR: 74.8%

Scrambling: 52.6%

Putts per GIR: 1.801

The 22-year-old didn’t have a status on any tour when Europe won at Gleneagles so his journey to automatic qualification is incredible. He’s potentially Europe’s weakest link on paper – mixing a win and three top 10s with 10 missed cuts this season – but he did win the 2013 US Amateur.

Europe wildcards

Lee Westwood

World ranking: 46th

Majors: 0

Pro wins: 42

RC record: 20W-15L-6H

Driving distance: 287.7 yds

GIR: 66.9%

Scrambling: 59.9%

Putts per GIR: 1.792

Clarke’s close friend will bring invaluable experience to the team if he’s selected. Europe has only lost two of the nine Ryder Cups he’s played in and his personal record is fantastic over such a long period.
A T2 at the Masters has been followed by consistently good form through the summer.

Martin Kaymer

World ranking: 48th

Majors: 2

Pro wins: 22

RC record: 4W-3L-3H

Driving distance: 290.3 yds

GIR:68.6%

Scrambling: 55.8%

Putts per GIR: 1.813

The German is another player needing a pick but Clarke won’t overlook a two-time major winner who’s been part of Europe’s last three winning teams. He hasn’t won since letting a 10-shot lead slip in the final round in Abu Dhabi in 2015 but notched five top 10s in 11 starts this summer.

Thomas Pieters

World ranking: 42nd

Majors: 0

Pro wins: 3

RC record: Rookie

Driving distance: 295.8yds

GIR: 63.19%

Scrambling: 59.43%

Putts per GIR: 1.775

Many believe Luke Donald paid the price for Pieters inclusion, the Belgian added a late twist to the script when it came to wildcard picks and no we wait to see if he can rise to the occasion.

MEET TEAM USA

Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, captain Davis Love III, Matt Kuchar, Brandt Snedeker, (back L-R) Ryan Moore, Zach Johnson, J.B. Holmes, Patrick Reed, Jordan Spieth, Brooks Koepka, Jimmy Walker and Rickie Fowler pose during team photocalls prior to the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine National Golf Club

Dustin Johnson

World ranking: 2nd

Majors: 1

Pro wins: 13

RC record: 3W-3L-0H

Driving distance: 313.9 yds

GIR: 67.7%

Scrambling: 59.6%

Putts per GIR: 1.725

DJ has always been impressive on paper but his US Open win in June has elevated him to the next level. His form this year has been magnificent with two wins and another nine top 10s. He’s surprisingly only played two Ryder Cups – losing in 2010 and 2012 – but his individual record is decent.

Jordan Spieth

World ranking: 4th

Majors: 2

Pro wins: 10

RC record: 2W-1L-1H

Driving distance: 295.5 yds

GIR: 63.2%

Scrambling: 63.7%

Putts per GIR: 1.707

The two-time major champion from 2015 hasn’t quite hit the same heights this year, but he still has
two wins and five top 10s. He was impressive as a rookie at Gleneagles and the lack of rough will help shield his recent struggles off the tee. The leader of America’s new generation.

Phil Mickelson

World ranking: 15th

Majors: Five

Pro wins: 51

RC record: 16W-19L-6H

Driving distance: 293.8 yds

GIR: 66.2%

Scrambling: 64.3%

Putts per GIR: 1.722

Lefty is the most decorated individual in either team and he returns for an 11th consecutive Ryder Cup appearance. His individual record is reasonable considering he’s been on the losing side eight times. He’s a natural leader having played a lot of golf with the younger players.

Jimmy Walker

World ranking: 16th

Majors: 1

Pro wins: 10

RC record: 1W-1L-3H

Driving distance: 300.5 yds

GIR: 64.5%

Scrambling: 58.1%

Putts per GIR: 1.772

The US PGA champion was a long way down the standings until that major win – he’d gone 11 starts without a top 10 before it. He proved a difficult man to beat in
his five matches as a rookie at Gleneagles but only won one match so there are a few doubts over his killer instinct.

Brooks Koepka

World ranking: 22nd

Majors: 0

Pro wins: Six

RC record: Rookie

Driving distance: 303.6 yds

GIR: 67.5%

Scrambling: 58.1%

Putts per GIR: 1.746

The 26-year-old is the only rookie to qualify automatically for the American team. He’s likely to be more dangerous than his stats here suggest. He’s recorded four major top 10s in the last three years and no worse than a T13 in the US Open at his five starts before the FedEx Cup Play-offs.

Brandt Snedeker

World ranking: 23rd

Majors: 0

Pro wins: 11

RC record: 1W-2L-0H

Driving distance: 292.9 yds

GIR: 65.8%

Scrambling: 62.9%

Putts per GIR: 1.748

His only previous appearance was under Captain Love in the Miracle at Medinah in 2012, so he’s got a score to settle. His short game skills can’t be undervalued and he’s carrying some positive form but nothing stands out from his previous matchplay record.

Zach Johnson

World ranking: 28th

Majors: 2

Pro wins: 28

RC record: 6W-6L-2H

Driving distance: 280.1 yds

GIR: 65.5%

Scrambling: 62.1%

Putts per GIR: 1.759

Johnson has wound up on the losing side in all four of his Ryder Cup appearances so there’s bound to be some scar tissue. Having said that, he’s managed to win as many matches as he’s lost so he’s a good matchplayer. Playing pretty well but his form has tailed off a little in late summer.

Patrick Reed

World ranking: 8th

Majors: 0

Pro wins: 4

RC record:  3W-0L-1H

Driving distance: 296.7 yds

GIR: 64.9%

Scrambling: 63.9%

Putts per GIR: 1.759

The youngster dubbed ‘America’s Ian Poulter’ was superb at Gleneagles, taking three-and-a-half points from four matches and showing passion Team USA has often been accused of lacking.
He’s been a top 15 machine in 2016 but hasn’t added to his four PGA Tour wins.

US Wildcards

Rickie Fowler

World ranking: 9th

Majors: 0

Pro wins: 6

RC record:  0W-3L-5H

Driving distance: 300.4 yds

GIR: 69.3%

Scrambling: 61.8%

Putts per GIR: 1.768

Fowler silenced his critics by winning the Players Championship, Scottish Open and Deutsche Bank Championship last year but he’s not had a great 2016. He’s mixed just two top 10s with four missed cuts in 12 starts since the Masters. He’s still looking for his first win after eight Ryder Cup matches.

Matt  Kuchar

World ranking: 17th

Majors: 0

Pro wins: 12

RC record:  4W-5L-2H

Driving distance: 286.0 yds

GIR: 67.9%

Scrambling: 62.6%

Putts per GIR: 1.751

The Olympic bronze medallist has done exactly what you’d expect him to this summer – racking up nine top 10s but not actually winning.
His consistency and calmness should get him a pick. Plus, he’s got to defend his table tennis crown from Gleneagles in the team room.

JB Holmes

World ranking: 21st

Majors: 0

Pro wins: 7

RC record:  2W-0L-1H

Driving distance: 314.5

GIR: 65.17%

Scrambling: 56.68%

Putts per GIR: 1.769

JB Holmes has only played in one Ryder Cup before, when he helped the US to victory in 2008 and his game has come on a lot since then. He should add a cool head under pressure which could be vital come Sunday.

Ryan Moore

World ranking: 31st

Majors: 0

Pro wins: 5

RC record: Rookie

Driving distance: 283.2

GIR: 65.78%

Scrambling: 60.12%

Putts per GIR: 1.779

Moore, 33, was picked by captain Davis Love III after losing to Rory McIlroy in a play-off at the Tour Championship and if we can take that form to Hazeltine then he will be a formidable opponent.

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