The 2014 Ryder Cup Set To Begin On Friday Morning


Sep 25, 2014; Auchterarder, Perthshire, SCT; Crowds gather towards the course during a practice round for the 2014 Ryder Cup at The Gleneagles Hotel-PGA Centenary Course. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been over twenty years since Ryder Cup Captain, Ben Crenshaw mentored Justin Leonard through the biggest moment in his life, and golfing career at The Belfry. It was the last time that Team USA won a Ryder Cup on European soil, and the last time they were able to retain the Cup. Although Leonard’s win over Jose Maria Olazabal was the highlight of the Sunday matches, it was Davis Love III’s win over Constantine Rocca that secured passage of the Cup back to the USA.

It’s all set to begin again tomorrow at the Jack Nicklaus designed Centenary Golf Course at The  Gleneagles Hotel in Scotland. You will need to set the alarm early to catch the matches live, as the broadcast begins at 2:30 AM Eastern Time. Friday’s matches will be featured on The Golf Channel. Saturday’s Matches start at 3 AM Eastern on NBC, and Sunday you can sleep in until 7 AM. The Sunday Singles will again be shown on NBC.

More from Golf News

The golf course dubbed, The Riveria on the Highlands, is 7243 yards long, and plays to a par of 72. The Gleneagles golf course was first opened in 1924, and got its early championship pedigree when the it hosted the 1936 Curtis Cup.

Jack Nicklaus designed, and built the Centenary Course in 1993, and Nicklaus said it was the finest parcel of land he had ever been given in which to put a golf course.

The course was upgraded in 2011 in an effort to get it ready for this Ryder Cup. They modernized the landing areas, and added some bunkering on four additional holes.

Although the US holds a 25-12-2 advantage in the Ryder Cup, Team Europe has a 9-7-1 advantage since they brought continental Europe into the matches.

Team USA, and Captain Tom Watson have a daunting task ahead this weekend, as they face a battle-tested Team Europe that features many of the players who engineered the Sunday comeback at Medinah two years ago. Watson has a team full of players who were on the loosing end of the ‘meltddown at Medinah, and will need a miracle of their own, to go into Scotland and retrieve this Cup.

The one thing I believe could be a factor, and maybe an advantage for Team USA this weekend. Team Europe is under tremendous pressure to win, and if Captain Tom can get an early lead, it would certainly add some pressure for Euro Captain, Paul McGinnly to win at home.

Rory McIlroy comes to Gleneagles as the number one player in the world, and for the first time, will need to mentor the three Ryder Cup rookies on Team Europe, instead of the nurtured role he has had in his previous two appearances. He has been mentored by fellow countryman, Graeme McDowell, and it’s time for Rory to step up and be a leader on this team.

McDowell has always played well in a mentoring role, and I suspect he will be paired with one of the youngsters during the team events. He will need to be paired with someone who is playing well at this point in the season, as like Ian Poulter, he has had a less than stellar season.

On Rory, McDowell said:

"“He would now be the leader of the two of us and perhaps that dynamic doesn’t work as well as it did in the past,” McDowell said Tuesday. “Perhaps I’m the kind of guy who needs that leadership role a little bit, who needs to feel like he is at least on a level with the guy he is playing with.”"

Although Team USA looks better on paper, the golfing world is not giving them much of a chance to pull off a victory here. I wouldn’t count them out so early though. Most of the European players were playing well through the summer, and the major season, but all have cooled somewhat down the stretch.

I think this gives Team USA a chance. With Henrik Stenson, and Martin Kaymer in a slump, Rory will need to carry this team. They have some holes in their lineup, and if our boys can roll some putts in the hole, you can’t count out a miracle at Gleneagles on Sunday morning. I’m giving some credit to a wily old veteran like Tom Watson to go in to Scotland and bring our Cup home.