Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Tiger, best ever US and Europe teams spice up Ryder Cup battle




Tiger, best ever US and Europe teams spice up Ryder Cup battle

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Tiger Woods checks his club during a practice session ahead of the 42nd Ryder Cup at Le Golf National Course at Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, southwest of Paris on, on Wednesday. Eric FEFERBERG/AFP

Tiger, best ever US and Europe teams spice up Ryder Cup battle

Resurgent star Tiger Woods and the highest-ranked lineups in Ryder Cup history have built anticipation for thrills and excitement ahead of Friday’s dramatic opening matches between Europe and trophy-holders United States at Le Golf National.

The Americans seek their first triumph on European soil in 25 years in the biennial team showdown while Europe’s 12-man squad hopes to win for a ninth time in 12 attempts and reclaim the hardware they lost at Hazeltine in 2016.

“It’s all lined up to be something special,” European captain Thomas Bjorn said Wednesday. “These teams are the two best teams world ranking-wise that have been across from each other in this event. So it’s for those 24 players to go out and show that.”

“The golf course, the stands, the fans, all the buildup, being in this great city – that just adds on for it to be a really, really special occasion.”

The US roster has nine major winners and 11 of the world’s 17 top-ranked players, led by world number one Dustin Johnson and third-ranked Brooks Koepka, this year’s US Open and PGA Championship winner.

“There are definitely obstacles to overcome, but that group out there is feisty and confident,” US captain Jim Furyk said of his team. “They are trying to do the best they can to brace themselves and get ready for the battle.”

Europe boast four of the top eight, paced by England’s second-ranked Justin Rose and reigning British Open champion Francesco Molinari of Italy. In all, the teams combine to have 22 of the world’s top 28 ranked players.

“Are we underdogs? Probably on paper we are,” Bjorn said. “But we still believe that we can win.”

US golfers lead the all-time rivalry 26-13 with two drawn but Europe own a 10-8 with one drawn edge since the expansion from a British-Irish squad.

The top spectator attraction will be Woods, a 14-time major champion who snapped a five-year win drought Sunday at the US PGA Tour Championship, capping an amazing comeback season after spinal fusion surgery with his 80th career title.

“It’s a nice boost for everyone, and I think for Tiger in general,” Furyk said. “A guy with his status and that number of wins, he can flip the page and turn his attention to this week.

“He’s working hard and grinding and trying to help this team as much as he can.”

Woods has played on only one Cup winner in seven tries with an overall match record of 13-17 with three drawn. He is 4-1 with two drawn in Sunday singles but has eight losses in both foursomes (alternate shot) and four-ball (best-ball) pairs formats.

Woods says it will be critical to win the French layout’s tricky 18th hole.

“Those were the matches that swing,” Woods said. “Those little half-points to point swings are enormous over the course of the entire Cup. Usually who plays the last hole well determines the Cup.”

First tee tensions

With a 7,000-seat grandstand looming over a first tee crucible plus narrow fairways and dangerous water hazards, Le Golf National offers an impressive stage for the drama to unfold.

“You get punished if you hit it off-line,” Northern Ireland’s sixth-ranked Rory McIlroy said. “They have guys that just hit it so long. For the bulk of the European team, they would welcome a setup more of this style.”

Expectations are for players to attack with second shots to a putting surface that could surrender some impressive long putts.

“You’ll see less aggressiveness, more conservative tee-to-green, but once you get on the greens, they are a little bit flatter and you can really make putts here,” US five-time major winner Phil Mickelson said. “You can be aggressive from 20 to 40 feet. I think you’re going to see a lot of putts made and that will be most likely the difference.”

Tension will start from the first tee with huge, vocal crowds singing and chanting in one of golf’s toughest situations.

“Feeling that adrenaline, feeling that emotion, I think is what it’s all about and I think there’s no more intense session than the first morning on Friday,” Rose said. “Everything is a crescendo there.”

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Kingdom one of safest to visit in Covid-19 era’

    The Ministry of Tourism on January 12 proclaimed Cambodia as one of the safest countries to visit in light of the Kingdom having been ranked number one in the world by the Senegalese Economic Prospective Bureau for its success in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. In rankings

  • Kingdom accepts Chinese vaccine, PM first to get jab

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said China would offer Cambodia an immediate donation of one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by the Sinopharm company. In an audio message addressing the public on the night of January 15, he said Cambodia has accepted the offer and

  • Reeling in Cambodia’s real estate sector

    A new norm sets the scene but risks continue to play out in the background A cold wind sweeps through the streets of Boeung Trabek on an early January morning as buyers and traders engage in commerce under bright blue skies. From a distance, the

  • PM asks India for vaccine help

    Prime Minister Hun Sen is seeking assistance from India for the provision of Covid-19 vaccines as the country has produced its own vaccine which is scheduled to be rolled out to more than 300 million Indians this year. The request was made during his meeting with

  • Cambodia, India agree to start direct flights, tourism exchanges

    Cambodia and India have agreed to start direct flight connections and promote closer tourism exchanges and cooperation in all areas after the Covid-19 saga comes to a close. The agreement was reached during a meeting between Cambodian Minister of Tourism Thong Khon and newly-minted Indian

  • Plastic-to-rice initiative transforms waste into bricks

    Volunteers in Kampong Khlaing commune of Siem Reap province’s Sotr Nikum district have been collecting plastic waste to use as a raw material for the production of bricks and clemence tiles. The volunteers are hoping that, in addition to helping clean up the environment,