The 2016 Ryder Cup arrives this week, and the U.S. team is finally set after captain Davis Love III on Sunday picked Ryan Moore for his final selection. Despite losing three straight competitions, the Americans think things are looking up this time around.
Recent history suggests the U.S. Ryder Cup team will walk away from Hazeltine National Golf Club displeased with the result, but we think that trend will change this year, as the Europeans cope with a myriad of rookies on their squad.
Led by Dustin Johnson, arguably the best player in the world right now, the U.S. will look to put to bed their Sunday singles woes.
Here are three reasons the U.S. will find a way to win:
1. This team is built around unity and camaraderie, which gives Love a lot of options with pairings — Despite Dustin Johnson saying he shouldn't be paired with Phil Mickelson after their disastrous run together in 2010, they could succeed together. But they don't have to.
This team is equipped with good putters, dangerous wedge players, long hitters and crisp iron players. There are fiery players, calm players, passionate players and guys who are just sick of hearing about the U.S. always losing. Most of the players making up the U.S. team are friends off the golf course, and everyone on the team will be in Minnesota determined to do whatever it takes to win.
There was a lot of talk about discord two years ago when Mickelson publicly humiliated then-captain Tom Watson in the team's post-tournament interview. That can't happen again. Players and captains need to be on the same page, and so far, for the most part (Mickelson did raise some concerns again Sunday), that seems to be the case for the U.S.
Fowler was a classic case of someone being picked because he is well-liked by his peers and could play alongside anyone. His form hasn't been great since a hot start to the season, but he's a proven Ryder Cup performer who has played some of his most inspired golf in match play. Fowler might be the guy Mickelson chooses to play with this time around.
2. Hazeltine suits the U.S. squad better than the Europeans — Not only do the Europeans have six Ryder Cup rookies on their roster, but they also have four guys who play almost exclusively on European soil, which typically means links courses. While Hazeltine doesn't have the long rough often associated with giving European Tour players fits, it has slick greens and overwhelming length.
The U.S. has a great combination of long hitters and great wedge players, two of the most important things on this course. The Europeans have a few of those too, but it will be harder for captain Darren Clarke to pair everyone with a partner who fills his weakness.
3. The Europeans have never won four in a row — It's true, the Europeans have dominated the Ryder Cup in recent years, winning six of the last seven. But smack in the middle of Europe's two three-competition winning streaks was a U.S. win at Valhalla Golf Club.
Davis Love III and vice captain Tiger Woods are fiery competitors who assembled a team of players tired of losing, especially at home. Though the Europeans have a number of talented players, including two of this season's major winners — Danny Willett (Masters) and Henrik Stenson (British Open) — they have a lot of question marks in Matthew Fitzpatrick, Andy Sullivan, Chris Wood and Thomas Pieters. Those guys may come out and light up the course, but history points to a U.S. win.