The Ryder Cup is finally upon us, and with just hours to go until the opening tee shot in the battle between Team Europe and Team USA, we take a closer look at the players competing at Gleneagles.
Each player's Ryder Cup ranking is based on individual records to-date, and whilst Paul McGinley's side start as favourites, you never can tell when the two teams take to the course.
Here's the definitive guide to the two teams...
Since landing a maiden-major victory at the 2013 U.S. Open, Justin Rose has continued to shine. There are few more consistent players on the PGA Tour, and his accuracy and iron-play make him a great partner for anybody paired with him in the foursomes or the fourballs.
2014 Form Rating: 9/10 Ryder Cup Rating: 9/10
‘Mr Ryder Cup’ as he is otherwise known is a proven matchplay maestro. His form, since a strong close to his 2013 season, has been fairly woeful though, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him hit the staggering heights of his previous Team Europe outings. Equally it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him yet again bring his ‘A-Game’ to the Team Europe cause.
2014 Form Rating: 5/10 Ryder Cup Rating: 9.5/10
To date the current world number one has a positive record both in terms of team victories, and his personal outings for Team Europe, and he will be hoping that both of these statistics will have improved further come Sunday night. His team mates will be queuing up down the hall for the chance to play alongside him!
2014 Form Rating: 9.5/10 Ryder Cup Rating: 7.5/10
It’s been an odd year for Martin Kaymer. Two stunning performances, including his mind-blowing domination of the U.S. Open at Pinehurst, have seen him shoot back up the rankings, but he hasn’t been as ruthlessly consistent as he once was. On balance though, this will go down as a great year for him given the stature of his two ‘W’s.
2014 Form Rating: 9/10 Ryder Cup Rating: 8/10
GMac crucially defended his Open de France title earlier in 2014, and this was ultimately what made the difference in terms of confirming his automatic spot in the European side. It hasn’t been a vintage year on the course though for the Northern Irishman, and he’ll be hoping that he can find his best touch this week.
2014 Form Rating: 7/10 Ryder Cup Rating: 7/10
The great Dane has not had a wholly satisfying 2014 having blown a huge lead at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in May, but he is a hugely imposing figure, capable of birdie-blitzes, and he is a fierce competitor with a successful history in the event.
2014 Form Rating: 7/10 Ryder Cup Rating: 8/10
The enigmatic Frenchman stormed into the public consciousness at last year’s Turkish Airlines Open, and then followed up that Tiger-ousting victory with an awe-inspiring exhibition of short game skill at the WGC World Matchplay in 2014. He may not have won in Arizona, but he demonstrated the sort of potentially match-winning touch and imagination that will ensure that plenty of his European team mates will be excited about the opportunity of lining up alongside him at Gleneagles.
2014 Form Rating: 8/10 Ryder Cup Rating: Rookie (Potentially tailor-made for Ryder Cup golf)
Some felt that Westwood was fortunate to bag himself a place on the European side, courtesy of a pick from Paul McGinley, but his experience, and more crucially his taste for success in the famous event earned him his spot. After a win in Malaysia early in the 2014 calendar he has struggled to find his best golf, and to justify his selection he’ll have to conjure up some form from somewhere.
Form Rating: 5.5/10 Ryder Cup Rating: 8.5/10
An early season victory set Sergio off on a very successful path in 2014, and his form has maintained throughout the season. This has been a great year for the notorious major-nearly man, and it could have been even better had it not been for Rory McIlroy’s outrageous mid-season form that denied ‘El Nino’ a couple of further victories. He has an outstanding Ryder Cup record to match his form this season too!
Form Rating: 9/10 Ryder Cup Rating: 9/10
Gallacher’s close family connections with the Ryder Cup are well documented, and having played his way firmly into Paul McGinley’s consciousness over the final few weeks of the qualification process he’ll be hoping to justify his selection on his first outing in golf’s greatest spectacle.
2014 Form Rating: 8/10 Ryder Cup Rating: Rookie (He’ll be looking to do himself and Bernard Gallacher proud)
JD has had something of a watershed year. His runner-up finish to Patrick Reed at the WGC Cadillac Championship pumped him further full of confidence, and this boost has seen him carry is form right the way through 2014 to his win at the Czech Masters, and yet another strong performance at Celtic Manor last weekend. He is not the youngest rookie you’ll ever see, but he is up there with the keenest.
2014 Form Rating: 8/10 Ryder Cup Rating: Rookie (In-form, and versatile, Donaldson could prove an invaluable asset for Team Europe)
After striking fear into the rest of the golfing world with seemingly every swing in the latter half of 2013, Henrik Stenson hasn’t quite hit the same heights this year. He has however had a solid year, and he came close to landing a first major at the PGA Championship. At his best he is the sort of player who can obliterate an opponent.
2014 Form Rating: 8/10 Ryder Cup Rating: 5.5/10
Team Europe Total: 2014 Form Rating: 77.5% Ryder Cup Rating: 80.6% Average: 79.05%
Good ol’ ‘Lefty’ is certainly no stranger to the Ryder Cup, but it would be fair to say it hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for him. The multiple major winner boasts a less than impressive Ryder Cup record, but did forge a strong partnership with wildcard pick this year Keegan Bradley last time out at Medinah.
2014 Form Rating: 7/10 Ryder Cup Rating: 5/10
Furyk, despite having not won a tournament, has had another impressive year on the PGA Tour in 2014. Sadly though for Team USA he is another player that boasts a great wealth of experience in the Ryder Cup, but most of it pretty unhappy...
2014 Form Rating: 8/10 Ryder Cup Rating: 5/10
2014 has been a strange year for Bubba. An early season victory in Phoenix, and another Masters triumph looked set to make this an incredible year for the big-hitting American, but he has stuttered a little as the year’s gone on. On paper at least he is well-suited to matchplay golf, and he and Webb Simpson enjoyed a strong partnership at Medinah.
Form Rating: 8.5/10 Ryder Cup Rating: 5/10
An incredible start to the year for Jimmy Walker, with three wins in no time at all on the PGA Tour, saw him leap into spotlight, and into an almost guaranteed spot on Team USA. Calm, collected, a strong driver, and a good putter of the ball, Walker looks set to be a hit for Tom Watson’s side.
Form Rating: 9/10 Ryder Cup Rating: Rookie (Could be a dream partner for someone within the USA ranks on his debut outing)
He isn’t backward in coming forwards this guy. Some provocative comments in the wake of his WGC Cadillac Championship victory in the early part of the 2014 season, made many sit up and take note, but perhaps they should have already have done so given the quality of his early season performances…
Form Rating: 8.5/10 Ryder Cup Rating: Rookie (Partnered with the right man, the outspoken Texan could prove a threat for the USA)
He may not have bagged himself a victory on tour this year, but Rickie Fowler’s emergence as a consistent, and serious threat in the majors has made this an awesome year for the young gun. Usually clad in orange garb on a Sunday, Team USA will hope he instead flourishes in red, white, and blue this week at Gleneagles.
2014 Form Rating: 9/10 Ryder Cup Rating: 6/10
Keegan Bradley is a man made for matchplay golf. Fiercely competitive, capable of birdie-blitzes when hot, and irritatingly quirky in his ball address and pre-shot routine, the major champion was an obvious captain’s pick for Tom Watson. Bradley will no doubt be looking forward to resuming his ‘bromance’ with Phil Mickelson at Gleneagles.
2014 Form Rating: 7/10 Ryder Cup Rating: 9/10
Webb Simpson has had a solid if not a spectacular year on tour. He did make it to the final round of the FedEx Cup playoffs at the Tour Championship, suggesting he’s in decent form, but he finished well down the field. Despite losing his singles clash to Ian Poulter, Simpson came out of the Miracle at Medinah with his head held high after a decent showing.
2014 Form Rating: 7/10 Ryder Cup Rating: 6.5/10
Former Masters champion Zach Johnson hasn’t set the world alight in 2014, but he does boast a great Ryder Cup record considering the era of European dominance in which he has made his appearances for Team USA. He should make for a very useful foursomes/fourballs partner.
2014 Form Rating: 7.5/10 Ryder Cup Rating: 8.5/10
Despite not winning perhaps as much as he should given the positions he gets in to, Matt Kuchar has upheld his reputation this year as the man who just doesn’t ever really have a bad week on tour. USA will need this reputation to be upheld this week if they are to give Team Europe a real run for their money.
2014 Form Rating: 8/10 Ryder Cup Rating: 8/10
It has been far from a vintage year for Hunter, but in recent weeks he has finished his season with a flourish. A great win at The Barclays sparked a charge which saw him go into the Tour Championship with a chance of landing the jackpot. Though he didn’t take home the big prize, he will certainly be buoyed by a recent turnaround in his form going into Gleneagles.
2014 Form Rating: 7/10 Ryder Cup Rating: 7.5/10
After setting the world alight in 2013, and then again at the U.S. Masters early in 2014, young gun Spieth hasn’t recently been able to find his very best form. He has however played solidly, and he did make it all the way to the Tour Championship in the FedEx playoffs. No one will underestimate him, and his precocious talent if they come up against him in Scotland.
2014 Form Rating: 7.5/10 Ryder Cup Rating: Rookie (Undoubtedly one of the biggest young talents in world golf, and without any Ryder Cup baggage he could star at Gleneagles)
Team USA Total - 2014 Form Rating: 78.3% Ryder Cup Rating: 67.2% Average: 72.75%