The Ryder Cup begins in earnest on Friday. Perhaps it's time to talk about who's actually doing the golfing.
In this post, we'll take a look at the Americans.
As usual, the US team is deep and talented. Eight of the 12 players have won a major. Of those who haven't, Steve Stricker is considered one of the most consistent players on the tour. Consistency is vital in the Ryder Cup, especially in the paired events. You'd rather know what your partner is going to do every shot than worry he's going to leave you by the bathrooms or having to par as he goes searching in the woods.
The headline names are as they've always been, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. The worry with Tiger is that when the lights have shone brightest this year -- on the weekend at a major -- he's wilted every time. He hasn't been able to make a putt to save his life, and that's what this comes down to. He's won some other tournaments and looks to be playing well recently, but under this intense pressure no one's sure how this version of Tiger will react. And he's never been a killer in this competition, with a meandering 13-14-2 record.
Mickelson's record is even worse at 11-17-6. His go-for-broke-at-all-times style has never fit in with the precision and conservativeness needed in this. And his putter tends to go away. It's not surprising his best record comes in the singles portion, where he doesn't have to worry about how he's affecting a teammate and can worry about his game. He hasn't played all that well recently, and don't be surprised if captain Davis Love III doesn't use him for every session the first two days.
There are some explosive hitters on the young side here, including Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson who can just bomb it. Webb Simpson, Keegan Bradley, and Brendt Snedeker are in their first Ryder Cup, and you never know how they'll react to their first taste. Jim Furyk is a steady veteran but has gotten rolled by the Europeans in this in past years.
If it were just about talent and major winners, the US would pants their opponent. But it's not about that. It's what happens on the greens.