TWENTY FOUR of the best golfers from the USA and Europe face off this week for the 2012 Ryder Cup at the Medinah County Club in Illinois.
Captains Davis Love 111 and José María Olazábal lead star-studded teams battling for the 39th edition of the cup.
Europe currently hold the title, beating the USA by a solitary point, 14 ½ to 13 ½, in 2010 at the Celtic Manor Resort in Wales. The Ryder Cup is a match play event held every alternate year.
The European team includes world no.1 Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland), Justin Rose (England), Paul Lawrie (Scotland), Graeme McDowell (NIR), Francesco Molinari (Italy), Luke Donald (England), Lee Westwood (England), Sergio Garcia (Spain), Peter Hanson (Sweden), Martin Kaymer (Germany), Nicolas Colsaerts (Belgium) and Ian Poulter (England).
Team USA consists of Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson, Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson, Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk, Brandt Snedeker and Dustin Johnson.
US Captain Davis Love says the Europeans can expect a fiery reception from the many thousands of US golf fans who will flock to the course daily.
“Chicago is an incredible sports town, and they are going to be fired up,” Love said this week. Europe captain Jose-Maria Olazabal predicted it would be a “close battle” between the two sides.
Comments by England’s Ian Poulter will no doubt further rev up the partisan crowds.
“There’s something about Ryder Cup which kind of intrigues me: how you can be great mates with somebody, but, boy, do you want to kill them in Ryder Cup?” Poulter said this week. “The Ryder Cup means too much to us for it ever to lose that edge.”
“Kill” was a poor choice of words, but his comments demonstrate the depth of the sentiment.
2012 Ryder Cup Tournament Format & Schedule
The Ryder Cup is a match play event, with each match worth one point. The competition format is as follows:
Day 1 (Friday [US Time]) – 4 foursome (alternate shot) matches in the morning session and 4 fourball (better ball) matches in the afternoon session
Day 2 (Saturday) – 4 foursome matches in the morning session and 4 fourball matches in the afternoon session
Day 3 (Sunday) – 12 singles matches
Medinah Country Club Course
Medinah’s Course No. 3 has hosted a number of Major championships. The U.S. Open has been held at the course three times: 1949 (won by Cary Middlecoff), 1975 (Lou Graham), and 1990 (Hale Irwin). Tiger Woods has won both PGA Championships held at the course (1999 and 2006). Gary Player won the U.S. Senior Open here in 1988.
As part of its 2012 preparations, Medinah commissioned a $1.5 million greens renovation project led by golf course architect Rees Jones. The project included a dramatic redesign of the 15th hole.
The 15th now offers players with a great ‘risk-reward’ opportunity with a driveable par-four by reducing its length by 100 yards and adding a two-acre lake that borders the right side of the fairway and green. The new forward tee allows the hole to be set up as short as 280 yards.
The par 72 course now measures 7,657 yards (7,002 m) off the “Gold” tees. The course is located about 40 minutes outside of central Chicago.
2012 Ryder Cup Australian TV Times
The Ryder Cup is being broadcast live in Australia on Fox Sports.
Friday September 28
7am – 8am: Opening ceremony
10pm – 9am. Day 1: Fourballs and Foursomes
Saturday September 29
10pm – 1am. Day 2: Fourballs
Sunday September 30
3am – 9am: Day 2: Foursomes
Monday October 1
1:50am – 8:20am. Day 3: Singles