Ryder Cup 2012: America to Overpower Emotional Europe
By Nick Howson | September 28, 2012 8:50 PM EST
If the London 2012 Olympic Games was Live Aid's equivalent to Queen, a British experience with bells on, then the Ryder Cup is Paul McCartney singing 'Let It Be', an apt ending which pays tribute to an old friend.
If the emblem evoking the memory of Seve Ballesteros on each of the European bags wasn't enough of an indication of the motivation behind this year's Ryder Cup campaign, then the emotion with overcame team captain Jose Maria Olazabel during Thursday's opening ceremony suggested this weekend's festival of golf is so much more than a battle for world supremacy; it's about telling the story of Seve.
But if the Spaniard is charging his European team to match the imagination of Seve at Medinah, then Europe may come unstuck in their attempts to win the Ryder Cup on American soil for just the third time.
Davis Love III has taken full advantage of possessing the influence as home captain with several alterations to the Medinah course, the most significant being its extension to one of longest golf courses used in the competition's history and is just 16 yards shorter than the longest used in major championship history, at Hazeltine in 2009.
Love wasn't only able to dictate conditions beyond Olazabel's control, but the selection of his team wasn't left down to the form book either. Being able to include Jim Furyk, far from the biggest hitter in the US team, hints towards trying to dilute the inexperienced dozen, four of which are rookies, while Dustin Johnson and Brandt Snedeker's inclusion is surely motivated by the length required to force the European's hand.
While Olazabel can boast the biggest hitter of the match in Nicholas Colsaerts, Rory McIlroy is the only other who can strike 300 yards plus from the tee. On the 509-yard par four sixth and 617-yard par five seventh, Europe could find themselves consolidating.
The course layout does lend itself to exciting golf. The deluge to hazards along the way make many holes risk-reward, with the teasing par four 15th and testing par three 17th contributing to a thrilling back nine.
As has become the way in recent years of the Ryder Cup, the European team possess not only a depth of knowledge from the PGA tour, but also a series of major champions. Three majors have been claimed by European's since the clash at Celtic Manor; the same as the American's with the new breed of Keegan Bradley and Webb Simpson leading the way.
The final variable in Chicago will be the boisterous crowd which will greet both teams. In that sense, the booking of Medinah is inspired. A sporting city blessed with some of sports' biggest names, the Bulls, the Cubs and the White Sox, and with it a deluge of hard-core supporters who will contribute to the greatest single event in the sporting calendar. It's now down to the players to make it memorable.
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