Ryder Cup 2012: Bubba Watson, Keegan Bradley Provide Glimpse into US Future

Ethan GrantAnalyst ISeptember 29, 2012

MEDINAH, IL - SEPTEMBER 29:  Bubba Watson of the USA watches his tee shot on the first hole as Justin Rose and Ian Poulter of Europe look on during day two of the Morning Foursome Matches for The 39th Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club on September 29, 2012 in Medinah, Illinois.  (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
David Cannon/Getty Images

This Ryder Cup 2012 was supposed to be Europe's display of veteran dominance on a national level. But led by young guns Keegan Bradley and Bubba Watson, the United States is putting on a Ryder Cup clinic, up 8 to 4 in total points heading into Session 4.

Bradley and Watson are a combined 4-1-0 in their matches this year, and Bradley is sitting in the clubhouse getting ready for his singles match while Watson is out on the course in the final four ball event of the Cup.

The Americans have dominated Sessions 2 and 3, and wouldn't you know it, Tiger Woods is the man with two of the four U.S. losses.

While Woods' struggles certainly aren't comforting heading into the most important day of the tournament, Sunday's singles matches, the increased performance of these young golfers is an encouraging sign for this year and beyond.

Bradley has been the darling of the tournament for the U.S.

The 2011 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year is 3-0-0 in his Ryder Cup career. He's captured the hearts of the USA with his patriotic attitude, fiery demeanor and sheer will to win ahead of anything else going on.

His partnership with Phil Mickelson might make the lefty relevant for the next couple of Ryder Cups, especially considering Mickelson had a career 11-17-6 record heading into the 2012 event.

They now look like a pair that needs to be together again in 2014, and while it's far too early to start making those assumptions now, we could very well look back on this Ryder Cup and credit Bradley with saving Mickelson's terrible record for his country.

While Bradley has been getting fans excited about big-time putts, Watson has been doing it on the tee box, even encouraging the gallery to go "Happy Gilmore" style and cheer for him as he starts his swing.

The big drives off the tee box and the charisma of Watson are things we love about the Masters champion, and one of the reasons his inclusion on the roster after a 1-3 stint last year is so important for the future of U.S. golf.

From Bradley, Watson, Brandt Snedeker, Webb Simpson and Dustin Johnson, you're looking at the next decade of Ryder Cup teams for the United States. Headlined by the first two, this team could be very special at the top for the coming years.

Of course, it's all for naught if the United States can't close the door Saturday night and Sunday afternoon at Medinah.

But if they can, we're seeing a new and improved U.S. squad that cares about delivering for their country. It starts with Bradley and Watson, but you can see the effect all over the U.S. roster.