Ryder Cup matchplay - Assessing the strengths and weaknesses of USA's team

Davis Love III

Our Ryder Cup preview continues by assessing the USA's strengths and weaknesses for the deciding matchplay which will ultimately decide the prestigious trophy.

Nick Stuart, editor of www.mrsportsbook.com takes a look at Team USA and their expectations going into the singles. Our 2012 Ryder Cup Preview will give some background in how this powerful US team, captained by Davis Love III, will approach the singles with a brief look at their matchplay experience in the last two years taking in last year’s President’s cup match. So sit back and read up on the players and their potential roles.

USA

Tiger Woods: Tiger is back on form and will enter this Ryder Cup under less scrutiny than any before which can only be a good thing. Golf is no longer just about Tiger and this shift in pressure should be a huge help. Woods’ Ryder Cup record is not the best but when it comes to singles he is on a different plane having on 4 of his 6 and undefeated since his debut in 1997. Woods comfortably beat Aaron Baddeley 4&3 in the President’s Cup in 2011. Ryder Cup Singles Record: Played 6 Won 4 Lost 1 Halved 1.

Bubba Watson: Happy Gilmore is a hugely improved player since his debut in 2010 and will be a tough player to pigeonhole for the Europeans. Watson lost in 2010 and was knocked out in the second round of the 2012 WGC Matchplay. He did reach the semi-finals in 2011 before losing to Martin Kaymer and a lot will be expected of him this time around. Ryder Cup Singles Record: Played 1 Lost 1.

Jason Dufner: Dufner has almost no matchplay experience as a professional having never experienced a Ryder Cup or a President’s Cup and was knocked out in the first round of the WGC Matchplay by Peter Hanson in 2012. Dufner’s accuracy off the tee and surprising length along with his ability to find the green in regulation will make him a tough opponent for any European. No Ryder Cup Singles Experience.

Keegan Bradley: Bradley has very little matchplay experience having missed the 2011 President’s Cup and only joining the tour after the last Ryder Cup. Bradley lost in the second round of the WGC Matchplay to Jimenez and has never played in the Walker Cup all adding up to a lack of experience in this situation. With Davis Love III setting the course up for the grip and rip it style though it should suit Bradley’s game completely. No Ryder Cup Singles Experience.

Webb Simpson: Simpson won three of his four matches when playing with a partner at the President’s cup but then lost to Kim Kyung-tae of South Korea in the singles. He also lost in his singles match in the 2007 Walker Cup and lost in the first round of the WGC Matchplay to young Italian Mannassero. Second on the tour in making birdies it is hard to see him not improving on his past performances. No Ryder Cup Singles Experience.

Zach Johnson: Zach Johnson lost to Hunter Mahan on the latter’s way to victory at the WGC Matchplay but beat Harrington comfortably in pressure circumstances in 2010 and Love will be hoping he can continue in this form. A very consistent player he could find the long course a tough test but he will be a tough scalp for any European to claim. Ryder Cup Singles Record: Played 2 Won 1 Lost 1.

Matt Kuchar: Kuchar’s performance in 2010 was a little disappointing but can have no complaints about his singles match having been dispatched by Ian Poulter 5&4. An accurate driver of the ball he is Mr Consistent and will be hoping to cause some damage whoever he is playing against. Another singles match where it will largely depend on who he is playing as Kuchar will not give up without a fight but may not make enough birdies. Ryder Cup Singles Record: Played 1 Lost 1

Phil Mickelson: Mickelson’s lack of form will be a real concern for Love and the most experienced player in this US team has a 50/50 record in singles which doesn’t bode that well. Nobody can doubt the fire in his belly or his competitive instincts and with a raucous home crowd we can expect big Phil to up his game immeasurably. Ryder Cup Singles Record: Played 8 Won 4 Lost 4.

Steve Stricker: Stricker has only played in two Ryder Cups but has risen in prominence due to his partnership with Tiger Woods. In singles though the easy going Stricker has won 1 and lost 1 including beating Lee Westwood in the crucial first singles match in 2010. Stricker lost in the first round of the WGC Matchplay in 2011 and lost to Mahan early on in 2012 making his matchplay record less than stratospheric. Ryder Cup Singles Record: Played 2 Won 1 Lost 1.

Jim Furyk: Furyk has an exceptional record in the singles at the Ryder Cup having won four of his seven singles matches. He lost to Donald in 2010 but Donald was playing some exceptional golf at the time and would have beaten almost all of the US team that day. Furyk’s consistency and unerring accuracy off the tee can put a lot of pressure on his opponents and he will be one of Love’s big guns come Sunday. Ryder Cup Singles Record: Played 7 Won 4 Lost 2 Halved 1

Brandt Snedeker: When all the best golfing pundits and former players put the Ryder Cup down to who holes their putts a player like Snedeker will always be a tough nut to crack. Quite possibly the best putter in the world he will be looking forward to testing himself against the best head to head. Nobody will want to face Snedeker in the form he is in making Brandt a trump card for Davis Love III. No Ryder Cup Singles Experience.

Dustin Johnson: The powerhouse of the American team Johnson is perfectly suited to this course and has a good record in Matchplay having defeated some of the best Europe has to offer at the WGC Matchplay including potential opponent Francesco Molinari 7&5 in 2012. He thumped Martin Kaymer 6&4 in 2010 and will be another player most European’s will want to avoid. Ryder Cup Singles Record: Played 1 Won 1.

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