Writers from around Tribune Co. discuss the Ryder Cup, which starts Friday at Medinah Country Club near Chicago. Check back throughout the day for more of their responses and join the conversation by voting in the poll and leaving a comment of your own.
Jeff Shain, Orlando Sentinel
Predicting Sunday’s final score at Medinah might be easier than picking the winner. Let’s call it 14 1/2 to 13 1/2, same as two years ago in Wales.
Yes, it’ll be that close. The underdog almost always plays above its rank in these matches – and with every golfer among the world’s 35 best, there’s no true underdog.
The result tilts on how the American young guns -- seven are playing in their first or second Ryder Cup – contend with Europe’s established duos. Sergio Garcia/Luke Donald is 4-0 as a tandem; Ian Poulter/Justin Rose went 2-1 in Europe’s losing effort at Valhalla. World No.1 Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell are major champions.
In the end, though, we’ll go with the planet’s hottest putter -- Brandt Snedeker -- and a loud lift from the home crowd. Put Team USA next to that winning number.
Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune
I’m torn. I think Europe will win. But I always root for my picks -- mentally, not actual cheering.
So for the purposes of this, I’ll pick the Stars and Stripes. You can justify the pick like this: Even though the Americans have lost four straight on the road, they’ve won two of their last three in the land of the free. Plus Tiger Woods is to Chicago golf what pre-busted Lance Armstrong was to the Tour de France. Woods won the last two majors played at Medinah.
But the Europeans have the better putters (Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy, Ian Poulter) and the whole team unity thing that helps them in alternate shot and best ball. So if you gave me $1 million and told me I had to throw it on the favored Americans (-150) or underdog Euros (+125), I’d say: Ole ole ole ole.
[Updated at 11:19 a.m.:
Tom Yantz, Hartford Courant
The Europeans are 4-1 in the last five Ryder Cups. On Sunday, they’ll be 4-2. This Ryder Cup isn't in Ireland or Spain. The Americans will be energized by the fans and spirit outside of Chicago.
The U.S. has the hottest player and best putter going in FedEx Cup champion Brandt Snedeker. The Euros do have the world's No. 1 player, Rory McIlrory.
Though the Euros barely won the last cup, the U.S. didn't have Tiger Woods. He's back and motivated. The U.S. has more depth and fewer question marks than the Euros.
Lee Westwood, who's not known for his skill with the flat stick, said, "At the end of the day, it's who holes the most putts."
That will be the Americans, who'll drink champagne Sunday.]