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How the European Team Shapes Up

By: | Mon 24 Sep 2018 | Comments

Thomas Bjorn has blended experience and youth within his Ryder Cup team as Europe look to regain the Trophy at Le Golf National. We take a look each of the 12 players representing the home side.

Francesco Molinari

Age: 35

Caps: 2 (2010, 2012)

Record: Won 0 Lost 4 Halved 2

Majors: 1 (2018 Open)

Molinari has never been on the losing side in the Ryder Cup despite failing to win any of his six matches to date. Won half a point from two matches alongside his brother Edoardo at Celtic Manor in 2010 before losing to an inspired Tiger Woods in the singles, but famously halved the final singles against the same player in 2012 as Europe completed the ‘Miracle at Medinah’. Has taken his game to another level in 2018 with three wins in nine weeks, including becoming Italy’s first major champion with victory in The Open at Carnoustie.

Justin Rose

Age: 38

Caps: 4 (2008, 2012, 2014, 2016)

Record: Won 11 Lost 6 Halved 2

Majors: 1 (2013 US Open)

Played all five matches in each of the past three contests and was unbeaten at Gleneagles in 2014 with three wins and two halved matches, but could only claim two points in the 2016 defeat at Hazeltine. Has become one of the most consistent players in the world with 18 top-10 finishes in his last 26 events, including victory in the Fort Worth Invitational and a tie for second behind Molinari at Carnoustie.

Tyrrell Hatton

Age: 26

Caps: 0

Majors: 0

Won his first European Tour title in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in 2016 and made a successful title defence the following year. Then won the Italian Open seven days later and two top-three finishes in early 2018 sealed his place in the team. Finished sixth in the US Open and 10th in the US PGA before making headlines for carding a final round of 64 in the first FedEx Cup play-off event with a putter he bought from a local store the night before. Has an explosive temper.

Tommy Fleetwood

Age: 27

Caps: 0

Majors: 0

Won twice in 2017 - including the French Open at the Ryder Cup venue - on his way to becoming European number one and started this season by defending his Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship title. Carded a record-equalling final round of 63 in the US Open at Shinnecock Hills to finish just a shot behind Brooks Koepka and has missed just two halfway cuts in 2018. Produces low scores on the most difficult courses for fun.

Jon Rahm

Age: 23

Caps: 0

Majors: 0

A former world number one in the amateur ranks who has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the professional game, Rahm ended 2017 by finishing in the top seven of all four FedEx Cup play-off events and then winning the season-ending Dubai World Championship. Also claimed two victories in 2018 and top-four finishes at The Masters and US PGA and was fifth in the French Open at Le Golf National.

Rory McIlroy

Age: 29

Caps: 4 (2010, 2012, 2014, 2016)

Record: Won 9 Lost 6 Halved 4

Majors: 4 (2011 US Open, 2012 US PGA, 2014 Open, 2014 US PGA)

Famously described the Ryder Cup as “an exhibition” the year before making his debut in 2010, but changed his opinion following the narrow victories at Celtic Manor and Medinah, where he beat Keegan Bradley in the singles despite only arriving at the course with minutes to spare. Won three matches in tandem with Thomas Pieters at Hazeltine but understandably ran out of steam in a thrilling opening singles contest with Patrick Reed.

Alex Noren

Age: 36

Caps: 0

Majors: 0

Found top form too late to make the team in 2016, winning once in the qualifying period but then three more times in the space of seven events at the end of the season. Lost a playoff to Jason Day in the Farmers Insurance Open early in 2018 and also reached the semi-finals of the WGC-Dell Match Play before sealing his place on the team in spectacular fashion by overturning a seven-shot deficit to win the French Open.

Thorbjørn Olesen

Age: 28

Caps: 0

Majors: 0

It would be easy to underestimate the Dane. It would also be a mistake to do so. He is a brilliant ball striker who is deceptively long, but his real strength is on and around the greens. Bjorn’s team should be fighting over him as a foursomes partner. A five-time winner on the European Tour who clinched his place on the team with victory at the Italian Open. Don’t be surprised to see him emerge as one of the stars of the team.

Ian Poulter

Age: 42

Caps: 5 (2004, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014)

Record: Won 12 Lost 4 Halved 2

Majors: 0

Nicknamed ‘The Postman’ because he always delivers a point, Poulter was forced to settle for a vice-captaincy role in 2016 due to injury and looked to have lost his PGA Tour card in 2017 before a mistake in the way his points had been calculated was spotted by a fellow player. Finished second in the Players Championship in his next event and won the Houston Open in 2018, his first victory since 2012, to get into the Masters.

Paul Casey

Age: 41

Caps: 3 (2004, 2006, 2008)

Record: Won 3 Lost 2 Halved 4

Majors: 0

Famously overlooked for a wild card by Colin Montgomerie in 2010 despite being ranked seventh in the world at the time, Casey later gave up his European Tour membership and only rejoined at the end of 2017 with the Ryder Cup in mind. Won his first PGA Tour title since 2009 in the Valspar Championship in March, finishing a shot ahead of a rejuvenated Tiger Woods. Strong matchplay record includes victory in the HSBC World Match Play at Wentworth in 2006 and twice being runner-up in the WGC Match Play.

Henrik Stenson

Age: 42

Caps: 4 (2006, 2008, 2014, 2016)

Record: Won 7 Lost 7 Halved 2

Majors: 1 (2016 Open)

Played a vital part in the victory at Gleneagles in 2014, combining with Justin Rose to win all three of their matches together, although the same pair could only win one of their three matches at Hazeltine. Claimed his first major title with a record-breaking performance in the Open at Royal Troon in 2016 and claimed silver behind Rose in golf’s return to the Olympics in Rio. Ongoing elbow injury and patch form could be a concern.

Sergio Garcia

Age: 38

Caps: 8 (1999, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2012, 2014, 2016)

Record: Won 19 Lost 11 Halved 7

Majors: 1 (2017 Masters)

A talismanic figure for Europe, so much so that he was brought in as a vice-captain by Montgomerie in 2010 despite becoming disenchanted with golf and taking a two-month break from playing. However, after averaging 3.75 points in his first four Ryder Cup appearances, the Spaniard has averaged just 1.88 in his last four and has missed the cut in his last five major starts. His only top 10 since March did at least come on the Ryder Cup course.

The Ryder Cup is unlike any other tournament in golf and the atmosphere is something that every golf fan should experience. The experts at Golfbreaks.com can help with all aspects of your Ryder Cup experience, from accommodation and ticket packages to hospitality and travel and playing some of the fantastic nearby courses.

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