PGA Tour
PGA of America, European - Ryder Cup Matches Preview
From The Sports Network

DATES: Friday, September 28th through Sunday, September 30th
SITE: Medinah Country Club (Course No. 3), Medinah, Illinois
COURSE ARCHITECT: Tom Bendelow (1928), Rees Jones (2003, 09-11)
PAR: 72
YARDAGE: 7,658
Hole-By-Hole:1 - Par 4 433 Yds10 - Par 5 578 Yds
2 - Par 3 192 Yds11 - Par 4 440 Yds
3 - Par 4 412 Yds12 - Par 4 476 Yds
4 - Par 4 463 Yds13 - Par 3 245 Yds
5 - Par 5 536 Yds14 - Par 5 609 Yds
6 - Par 4 509 Yds15 - Par 4 391 Yds
7 - Par 5 617 Yds16 - Par 4 482 Yds
8 - Par 3 201 Yds17 - Par 3 193 Yds
9 - Par 4 432 Yds18 - Par 4 449 Yds
36 3,795 Yds36 3,863 Yds
Biennial:  39th
Television:  ESPN - Friday -- 8 a.m.-7:30 p.m. (et),
  NBC - Saturday -- 9 a.m.-7 p.m. (et),
  - Sunday -- 12-6 p.m. (et)
Defending Champion:  Europe
Schedule of Play:  Match Play, including foursomes, 2-man teams in alternate
  shot four-ball, 2-man teams in better ball singles, 18
  holes of match play
Scoring:  Victory in a match scores one point. When a match goes 18 holes
  without a decision, one-half point is awarded to each side.
Series Standing:  United States (25-11-2)
Captains:  Jose Maria Olazabal (Europe)
  Davis Love III (United States)
Assistant Captains:  Thomas Bjorn, Darren Clarke, Miguel Angel Jimenez,
  Paul McGinley (Europe)
  Fred Couples, Mike Hulbert, Jeff Sluman,
  Scott Verplank (United States)
Past Ryder Cup Winners
YearWinner (Score) -- Course
2010Europe (14 1/2 - 13 1/2) -- Celtic Manor Resort, Wales
2008United States (16 1/2 - 11 1/2) -- Valhalla GC, Kentucky
2006Europe (18 1/2 - 9 1/2) -- The K Club, Ireland
2004Europe (18 1/2 - 9 1/2) -- Oakland Hills CC, Michigan
2002Europe (15 1/2 - 12 1/2)-- The Belfry, England
2001Not Held due to the tragedies of September 11
1999United States (14 1/2 - 13 1/2) -- Country Club, Massachusetts
1997Europe (14 1/2 - 13 1/2) -- Valderrama GC, Spain
1995Europe (14 1/2 - 13 1/2) -- Oak Hill CC, New York
1993United States (15 - 13) -- The Belfry, England
1991United States (14 1/2 - 13 1/2) -- Kiawah Island, South Carolina
1989Tie (14 - 14) -- The Belfry, England
1987Europe (15 - 13) -- Muirfield Village, Dublin, Ohio
1985Europe (16 1/2 - 11 1/2) -- The Belfry, England
1983United States (14 1/2 - 13 1/2) -- PGA National, Palm Beach, Florida
1981United States (18 1/2 - 9 1/2) -- Walton Heath, England
1979United States (17 - 11) -- Greenbrier, West Virginia
1977United States (12 1/2 - 7 1/2) -- Royal Lytham, England
1975United States (21 - 11) -- Laurel Valley GC, Pennsylvania
1973United States (19 - 13) -- Muirfield, Scotland
1971United States (18 1/2 - 13 1/2) -- Old Warson CC, St Louis, Missouri
1969Tie (16 - 16) -- Royal Birkdale, England
1967United States (23 1/2 - 8 1/2) -- Champions GC, Houston, Texas
1965United States (19 1/2 - 12 1/2) -- Royal Birkdale, England
1963United States (23 - 9) -- East Lake CC, Atlanta, Georgia
1961United States (14 1/2 - 9 1/2) -- Royal Lytham, England
1959United States (8 1/2 - 3 1/2) -- Eldorado CC, California
1957Britain (7 1/2 - 4 1/2) -- Lindrick GC, Yorkshire, England
1955United States (8 - 4) -- Thunderbird CC, Palm Springs, California
1953United States (6 1/2 - 5 1/2) -- Wentworth GC, Wentworth, England
1951United States (9 1/2 - 2 1/2) -- Pinehurst CC, North Carolina
1949United States (7 - 5) -- Ganton GC, Scarborough, England
1947United States (11 - 1) -- Portland GC, Portland, Oregon
1945Not Held due to World War II
1943Not Held due to World War II
1941Not Held due to World War II
1939Not Held due to World War II
1937United States (8 - 4) -- Southport & Ainsdale GC, England
1935United States (9 - 3) -- Ridgewood CC, Ridgewood, NJ
1933Britain (6 1/2 - 5 1/2) -- Southport & Ainsdale GC, England
1931United States (9 - 3) -- Scioto CC, Columbus, Ohio
1929Britain (7 - 5) -- Moortown GC, Leeds, England
1927United States (9 1/2 - 2 1/2) -- Worcester CC, Massachusetts
Note:Ryder Cup was not held in 2001 due to the tragedies of September 11.

Sports Network Selections

Pick to Win - United States
Darkhorse - NA
Last Week's Pick to Win (Rory McIlroy) - Finished tied for 10th
Last Week's Darkhorse (Ryan Moore) - Finished tied for 3rd
All eyes will be on Illinois this week, as the 39th Ryder Cup matches will be staged at Medinah Country Club outside of Chicago. Team USA will be led by captain Davis Love III, while the Europeans have Jose Maria Olazabal at the helm. The European team currently owns the Cup thanks to a 14 1/2 - 13 1/2 win at Celtic Manor Resort in Wales in 2010. The European team has dominated this event in recent years, winning six of the last eight Ryder Cups.

Europe will be led by world No. 1 Rory McIlroy, who has dominated the game in recent months. McIlroy has won three of his last five events on the PGA Tour, including his second major title at the PGA Championship. World No. 2 Tiger Woods will lead the way for the Americans. Woods has three PGA Tour victories this year and has finished in the top eight in his last three events.

Lee Westwood is the most successful Ryder Cup player in the field. He owns a 16-11-6 record in his seven appearances. Sergio Garcia has dominated with a 14-6-4 record in five appearances. He returns this year after not making the team in 2010.

Phil Mickelson and Woods have the most points earned by American players. Mickelson has a record of 11-17-6 for 14 points, while Woods has compiled a mark of 13-14-2 for 14 points. The Americans do not have a single player with a winning record on the team.

There are five rookies playing this week, with four on the United States team. The first-timers for the U.S. are Keegan Bradley, Jason Dufner, Webb Simpson and Brandt Snedeker, while Nicolas Colsaerts is the lone rookie for Europe.

The format has the teams playing four Foursome and four Four-ball matches Friday and Saturday and then play wraps up with 12 singles matches on Sunday.

In 2010, Europe won the Cup by a single point on Monday when Graeme McDowell secured the winning point in the anchor match against Hunter Mahan. McDowell won the 17th hole to give Europe the 14 1/2 points it needed to reclaim the Cup it lost in 2008. With the matches tied at 13 1/2 apiece, McDowell needed a full point to give Europe the Cup. A halve in the last match would have given the Cup back to the U.S. based on its victory in 2008. After he made a mess of No. 15 en route to a loss of the hole, McDowell poured in a 15-foot birdie putt on the 16th to win and go 2-up with two to play. He knocked his tee shot at the par-three 17th right of the hole on the collar. Mahan nervously left his tee ball well short of the putting surface. Facing enormous pressure, Mahan chunked his chip short of the green. McDowell putted his second four feet short of the flag stick. Mahan needed to make his putt and hope McDowell missed to have a chance. Mahan's putt never threatened the hole, and he walked over and shook McDowell's hand to concede their match, 3 & 1, and the Cup to the Europeans.

The 2010 matches were the first time the Cup came down to the final singles match since 1991, when Bernhard Langer missed a six-foot putt on the 18th that would have given Europe the Cup. It was the closest Ryder Cup since Brookline, Massachusetts in 1999.

It took nine years, but the United States finally won back the Cup in 2008. Jim Furyk beat Miguel Angel Jimenez, 2 & 1, in singles at Valhalla to get the United States the necessary 14 1/2 points to win the Cup. The U.S. claimed a 16 1/2 - 11 1/2 win, which was the largest margin of victory for the Americans since 1981. It was the first win for America in this competition since 1999. Europe had taken three in a row, including the previous two by record-setting nine-point margins. For U.S. Captain Paul Azinger, it was validation for all the work. He got the PGA of America to change the points system in order to get the hottest players at the time of the matches. Azinger received four picks, a change from two, and those four went 6-3-5 for the week.

When Luke Donald rolled in a 3-foot putt at the 17th hole in 2006 to win his match against Chad Campbell, that gave Europe 14 1/2 points, the number needed to win the Cup -- again. The European side captured the Cup by a final score of 18 1/2 - 9 1/2, which matched the largest margin of victory by its side that was established the last time around in 2004 at Oakland Hills. All totaled, Europe pounded the Americans in singles, winning 8 1/2 - 3 1/2, the largest margin of victory in singles ever for a European team. The European side captured all five sessions, a feat accomplished for the first time by either team since the inception of the current format in 1979. This was another historic victory for the Europeans. It was the third straight win for that team, which is the first time that happened for the European side. The European team had inspirational leadership from Darren Clarke, who went 3-0 for the week, just one month after the death of his wife, Heather, from cancer. The U.S. team only won six matches out of the 28 played for the week.

There were two holes-in-one at the 2006 Ryder Cup, both coming at the 14th hole. Paul Casey aced the 14th with a 4-iron in the Saturday foursomes. Scott Verplank aced the 14th with a 3-iron in Sunday's singles. Verplank's hole-in- one was the sixth in Ryder Cup history and first by an American.

The 2004 Ryder Cup was anti-climatic, as the Euros drubbed the United States on the South Course at Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Captain Bernhard Langer's squad opened up an impressive 11-5 advantage after the first two days and then won 7 1/2 out of a possible 12 singles points on the final day for the win.

In 2002, Paul McGinley drained the clinching putt when he saved par from seven feet out on the 18th hole to halve his match with Furyk. The European side gained 7 1/2 points in 12 singles matches to cruise to the win.

The Europeans last loss prior to 2008 came in 1999 at The Country Club in Massachusetts. That win for the United States team is most remembered for the wild celebration set off when Justin Leonard holed a lengthy birdie putt on the 17th green in his battle against Jose Maria Olazabal that led to the halving of their match. That halve clinched the Cup for the Americans. In a classy move after that wild scene, the late Payne Stewart conceded his match to Colin Montgomerie.

The 2014 Ryder Cup will be staged on European soil in Scotland at Gleneagles in Perthshire.

09/24 14:23:36 ET

As of September 24, 2012, at 02:23 PM ET