Age: 35 World ranking: Eight Pro wins: Eight Majors: Two Ryder Cup appearances: 2010, 2012 Ryder Cup record: 3W-5L-0H
After his second Masters win earlier this year, Watson is now a bona fide superstar and has all the attributes to become a leader. He’s the longest player on the PGA Tour and his ability to move the ball both ways through the air will enable him to attack most of the pins – even if McGinley does try and ‘Bubba-proof’ Gleneagles. He won two out of three matches in partnership with Webb Simpson at Medinah but Simpson needs a wildcard this year. Watson’s father fought in Vietnam and America will be dangerous if Bubba’s passion for representing his country rubs off on his teammates.
Age: 44 World ranking: Six Pro wins: 26 Majors: One Ryder Cup appearances: 1997, 1999, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012 Ryder Cup record: 9W-17L-4H
He doesn’t have the best Ryder Cup record but he’s shown some incredible form of late and his calmness should help younger and less experienced team members.
Age: 36 World ranking: Seven Pro wins: 11 Majors: None Ryder Cup appearances: 2010, 2012 Ryder Cup record: 3W-2L-2H
Kooch is one of the most consistent players in the world and one of few Americans with a winning individual Ryder Cup record, although he did withdraw from the US PGA with a back injury.
Age: 44 World ranking: Nine Pro wins: 51 Majors: Five Ryder Cup appearances: 1995, 1997, 1999, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012 Ryder Cup record: 14W-18L-6H
Lefty is hitting top form at the right time after a lacklustre first half of 2014. He won three out of three matches in partnership with Keegan Bradley at Medinah.
Age: 21 World ranking: 12 Pro wins: One Majors: None Ryder Cup appearances: None
Spieth’s meteoric rise has continued into 2014. There’s nothing to suggest he won’t take his Ryder Cup debut in his stride as well, although his form dipped a little in late summer. He won two and lost two in last year’s Presidents Cup.
Age: 25 World ranking: 13 Pro wins: Two Majors: None Ryder Cup appearances: 2010 Ryder Cup record: 0W-1L-2H
Fowler has come on leaps and bounds under the tutelage of Butch Harmon this year and finished top-five in all four majors. He’s deceptively long off the tee and his chipping and holing-out has been terrific. Expect a big performance.
Age: 38 World ranking: 14 Pro wins: 26 Majors: One Ryder Cup appearances: 2006, 2010, 2012 Ryder Cup record: 6W-4L-1H
The 2007 Masters champion won three events in an incredible run around the turn of the year, but he’s only had one top 10 since the Masters. Has a winning record despite playing in three losing teams.
Age: 35 World ranking: 19 Pro wins: Six Majors: None Ryder Cup appearances: None
This will be the icing on the cake of a career year in which Walker has won three PGA Tour titles. He’s finished inside the top 10 in three majors this year, but there are some doubts about how he’ll handle the cauldron of the Ryder Cup.
Age: 24 World ranking: 26 Pro wins: Three Majors: None Ryder Cup appearances: None
He burst onto the scene with three PGA Tour wins in 14 starts, culminating in this year’s WGC Cadillac Championship, but he’s missed six cuts in 13 starts since. His confident and aggressive mentality will suit matchplay.
Age: 28 World ranking: 23 Pro wins: 7 Majors: One Ryder Cup appearances: 2012 Ryder Cup record: W3-L1-H0
The 2011 US PGA champ formed a formidable partnership with Mickelson at Medinah. He usually plays his best golf at this time of the year and he’s shown some good form in recent weeks. He finished 13th in the automatic qualification list.
Age: 29 World ranking: 32 Pro wins: 4 Majors: 1 Ryder Cup appearances: 2012 Ryder Cup record: W2-L2-H0
It’s been a poor year for the 2012 US Open champion, with only two top 10s since March. However, he did team up with Bubba Watson to take two points at Medinah.
Age: 32 World ranking: 20 Pro wins: 9 Majors: None Ryder Cup appearances: 2008, 2010 Ryder Cup record: W3-L2-H3
To introduce the team, we speak to captain Tom Watson. The five-time Open champion – and winning captain of 1993 – tells us he is determined to avenge the ‘Miracle of Medinah’.
“I’ve followed the Ryder Cup intently and was so disappointed with the team’s loss last time at Medinah. It stuck with me in the pit of my stomach for a long time afterwards. It really hurt. Our team is going to be thinking about Medinah. I’m going to make sure they are thinking about Medinah! In my career, when I had a big setback, the way I reacted to it was pretty positive most of the time.
“Europe has dominated in recent times but it’s not fair to attribute that to the theory they have pulled together more as a unit in recent times. Quite simply, Europe has won because they’ve played better. Without a doubt, our team is as cohesive as their team, but you can’t ignore the fact their team has played better so we’re going to try and change that direction.
“From a player’s standpoint it’s the only time in your career you have the chance to pull for other guys, be part of a team. You want other players to do well, help them do well and make sure the team as a whole wins, though you still have to perform as an individual. Playing in the Ryder Cup is very nerve-wracking. We play under pressure all the time and you learn how to deal with a level of pressure. But when the level gets higher the big question is can you maintain that level of pressure and still play your best quality golf? That’s the question… and some players can’t do that.”