Ryder Cup 2016: Why Europe will win


The Ryder Cup has predominantly provided a story of European success for the past two decades.

Europe have triumphed in six of the last seven editions, with the United States' only victory during that time coming at Valhalla in 2008.

Indeed, there have been just two wins from 10 events for the US.

Nevertheless, the bookmakers and many golfing pundits have this year's hosts as favourites to end Europe's stranglehold.

It is not hard to see why. On paper, the US have the experience and, arguably, the stronger line-up.

Darren Clarke has six rookies in his 12-man European team, while only two newcomers - Brooks Koepka and Ryan Moore - will make their bow for USA.

There is no question that Davis Love III - back in the captaincy spotlight after the heartbreak of the 'Miracle of Medinah' in 2012 - has the upper hand in terms of experience.

But can that experience really be a benefit when it has overwhelmingly been one of defeat?

Peter Hanson looks at three reasons why Europe will triumph on Sunday.


USA have become experts at failure 

Of the home team's playing line-up, only Phil Mickelson and JB Holmes know what it is like to feel the euphoria of finishing on the winning side.

No US player has featured in more Ryder Cups than Mickelson, but his personal record is 16 wins to 19 losses.

Rickie Fowler, talented and inconsistent in equal measure, will be playing his third Ryder Cup and seeking a first win, while Zach Johnson - a two-time major winner - has six wins and as many defeats.

Those records hardly scream certain victors.

And the ghosts of Ryder Cup past are now a growing psychological weight on the shoulders of Team USA.

The frustration boiled over at Gleneagles two years ago. Not even the great Tom Watson could inspire a victory and his leadership was publicly, and somewhat harshly, questioned by a seething Mickelson in the immediate aftermath of defeat.


Europe boast a wealth of winning know-how 

In Clarke, the away team have a canny captain and a Ryder Cup stalwart. The Irishman has four wins as a player and two more as a vice-captain to his name, his most memorable moment coming in 2006 when he took three points from three just six weeks after the death of his wife.

Clarke also has some trusty lieutenants in the form of his vice-captains. Sam Torrance was the leading man for Europe's 2002 victory, while Ian Poulter's career is synonymous with the Ryder Cup and he was the man who rallied the troops at Medinah.

Thomas Bjorn, Padraig Harrington and Paul Lawrie are all wise heads that will provide a calming influence for Clarke.


New faces will learn from the best

The players themselves are also strong. A lack of experience has been highlighted, but Europe have one of golf's greatest talents in Rory McIlroy, who comes into the event in supreme form having won the FedEx Cup. 

There are two 2016 major-winners in the team - Danny Willett and Henrik Stenson - while Justin Rose is the Olympic champion. Add the experience of Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia and Martin Kaymer and the new faces have plenty of leaders to turn to.

Moreover, the new names also have winning pedigree. Matthew Fitzpatrick, Chris Wood and Thomas Pieters all have European Tour successes to their name this year, while Andy Sullivan was a three-time victor in 2015.

It has been said by many that the Ryder Cup needs an American victory at Hazeltine.

But history suggests it will be Clarke celebrating another memorable Ryder Cup moment.