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3 reasons why USA’s 2016 Ryder Cup team will be strongest yet

| 25.02.2015

Ryder Cup golf in America has sunk to such a shambolic low that a specially-formed task force were enlisted to find a formula that would restore pride to the country’s involvement.

The upshot is the reappointment of Davis Love III as captain for next year’s competition at Hazeltine, handing the 50-year-old a chance at redemption for the American team’s capitulation at Medinah in 2012.

Many may see his selection as a backward step, but in truth his presence is among the main reasons why the 2016 USA side will be one of the strongest to take on Europe in some time:

Beware the captain scorned

Already Love III looks a man on a mission. “I am here with the same goal as in 2012 but not as the same captain,” Love said ominously at his introduction to the press.

Over two days of competition, the USA skipper outperformed Jose Maria Olazabal in Chicago. The Sunday-singles meltdown that followed is a clear driving force in the former PGA Championship winner’s motivation to return.

He already has an advantage over his European counterpart, Darren Clarke, in that he knows what to expect from the event. But arguably the bigger weapon available is the liberation Medinah gave him; he knows it can never get any worse than that Sunday night.

American golf is full of young, fearless talent

The biggest positive from the car-crash that was Tom Watson’s tenure at Gleneagles last time out, was the discovery of Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed as future Ryder Cup bedrocks.

Add the aggressive play of that pair to Rickie Fowler, Keegan Bradley, Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson and it becomes clear that 11/10 on a USA win isn’t as short as it should be.

Consider also that Jimmy Walker is becoming a golfer of mechanical consistency, Brooks Koepka is an emerging talent this season and last year’s FedEx Cup top-two, Billy Horschel and Chris Kirk, were cruelly overlooked for the side in Scotland and the USA’s chances grow further.

A tournament without Woods and Mickelson is a positive

Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, both of whom were on the task force that selected Love, look to be struggling to make the 2016 team even at this early stage.

Woods’ chronic injuries means it’s unclear when we will even see him back on the golf course again, while Mickelson is disconsolate over the state of his game, especially on the putting greens.

The presence of either man has not always been a positive for the USA and the chance to start a fresh new dawn without them could be a blessing in disguise.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.