We are just days away from kicking off the biennial Ryder Cup, a friendly but still fierce competition between the United States and Europe. This year the squads will face off at Medinah Country Club in Chicago.
Europe has won six of the last eight Ryder Cups and comes into Chicago led by world No.1 Rory McIlroy.
The Davis Love-led United States team boasts five of the world's top 10 golfers, including FedEx Cup winner
—and rightly so. Here is why the Americans will walk away with the trophy they lost in Wales.
Home Course Advantage
The most obvious advantage the United States has entering the Ryder Cup is that it is on American soil. Even as the golfers simply walked over a bridge to the first tee at Medinah, the crowd at Medinah roared.
Imagine what it will be like when one of the golfers makes a big putt!
Peter Hason of Sweden talked about the home course advantage with the Associated Press, saying:
"We talked a lot about it and there's no doubt, playing at home is a big advantage. We saw it last time in Wales, and we have seen it over here in the past. So I think it's just something we have to deal with, and we have to be stronger this time than we were the last time when we won by one point. So if we are going to get that cup back overseas, we know we have to perform very well."
Home advantage is said to be worth one point. That is the margin that the Europeans won by at Celtic Manor at the last Ryder Cup in 2010.The slight edge of playing close to home may be the slight edge that the Americans need to walk away with the win.
European Squads Lack of Experience on the Road
While the European team has only one rookie rostered on their team, it has plenty of others who only know what it's like to play before the home crowd.
Hanson, Rory McIlroy, Martin Kaymer and Francesco Molinari are members of the European team who are playing their first Ryder Cup before away from home.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Graeme McDowell, one of Europe's golfers who has played in the a Ryder Cup on foreign soil, said
"There's no doubt, there's a world of difference between playing in front of your home fans and playing in front of the U.S. fans. Putts that drop in front of your home fans are like a bomb going off, and putts that go in this weekend will be like someone's got a silencer on. It's kind of a muted applause."
While applause does not decide tournaments, it could be a contributing factor in the Americans victory.
Combination of Veteran Leadership and Talented Rookies
Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods have done it at multiple Ryder Cups and if they catch fire at this year's tournament the European team needs to watch out. Stricker was selected mostly because, unlike most players, he meshes very well with Woods when paired together.
Woods and Stricker will also be accompanied by Phil Mickelson. Mickelson had a disappointing year, but really turned it on in the FedEx Cup and is coming into the Ryder Cup hot.
Webb Simpson, Keegan Bradley and Jason Dufner are the rookies on the U.S. team.
The 26-year-old Bradley is ready to go and is thrilled to be sporting the red, white and blue. Bradley tweeted Sunday:
It's FINALLY Ryder cup time!! #USA— Keegan Bradley (@Keegan_Bradley) September 23, 2012
Tiger is Taking it Personally
On Tuesday, in an interview with USA Today, Tiger Woods came out saying he takes the blame for the recent U.S. failures in the Ryder Cup.
"Well, certainly, I am responsible for that because I didn't earn the points that I was put out there for. I believe I was out there for five sessions each time and didn't go 5-0 for our side. So I certainly am a part of that and that's part of being a team. I needed to go and get points for my team and didn't do it. Hopefully I can do that this week, hopefully the other guys do the same and we can get this thing rolling."
Since making his debut in the 1997 Ryder Cup, Tiger Woods has won 13 of his 14 major championships and 68 of his 74 PGA Tour titles, including 16 World Golf Championships. He has not performed to these standards in the Ryder Cup and has been on only one winning team during his career.
Expect Tiger to take the tournament more seriously than ever this year and lead by example. His contributions will go a long way in bringing the trophy back to the U.S. side.