Ryder Cup Preview

With Ryder Cup fever taking hold of the whole golfing world and beyond, we preview an exciting weekend ahead at Medinah Country Club!

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Can you believe it has been almost two years since that euphoric moment when Graeme McDowell clinched the trophy for Team Europe at Celtic Manor? Neither can we, but as you know the Ryder Cup begins tomorrow in the state of Illinois at Chicago's Medinah Country Club - in the first tournament since the passing of the great Severiano Ballesteros. For that very reason, the 39th Ryder Cup is set to be one of the most passionate for years as the European team seek to retain the trophy for Seve whilst the American team would be devastated by a loss on home soil, in front of a notoriously raucous home crowd.

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A fitting tribute by the European team was unveiled this week in the form of a silhouette of Seve embroidered onto every bag of the players and captains, whilst rumour has it that on the final day Team Europe are also set to wear the traditional Sunday colours Ballesteros always chose - navy trousers teamed with a plain white polo shirt. No matter what happens, it is sure to be an emotional week for the team and especially Seve's countrymen and European captains José María Olazábal (C) and Miguel Ángel Jiménez (VC).

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As for the Medinah course itself, it has been extensively redesigned in preparation for this week with many holes altered in layout to bring the total distance to 7,657 yards. Both teams have a broad mixture of big hitters and more accurate players so it will be a fascinating watch - however it has been suggested US Captain Davis Love III has requested for the greens staff to prepare the course to favour his big hitting players like Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson. One hole to watch out for is the 15th - a potentially driveable par 4 with water down the right to create an exciting risk/reward hole. Other key holes include the stretch over the 12th, 13th and 14th.

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Much of the media build up has surrounded the Rory vs Tiger match up, with the headlines suggesting that the young Irishman's sparkling form and ability may well intimidate Woods, before the American team vowed to target McIlroy alongside the hostile Medinah galleries. The reality though is that this is a team event, so let's focus on potential pairings for the Foursome and Fourball matches. Hints can be drawn from previous outings with the likes of Luke Donald & Sergio Garcia remaining unbeaten as a pair, Poulter & Rose playing in 2008 and McIlroy & McDowell as countrymen - whilst the team of Woods & Stricker seems to be a certain pair for Team USA. Everyone can speculate, but we will discover just who is set to match up together later this evening at the Opening Ceremony.

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As ever, the schedule of play begins on Friday with 4 Foursomes (alternate shot) at around 1.20 pm (BST) followed by 4 Fourballs (better ball) which begin at around 6.05 pm or 7.05 pm. On Saturday, this format is repeated with the same scheduled start times before Sunday sees the big singles matches which begin at 5.03 pm. Coverage in the UK will be available through both the BBC (TV and radio) and extensively with Sky Sports - who kick off with television coverage of the opening ceremony from 9 pm tonight!

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Don't forget, throughout the whole Ryder Cup weekend you can take a massive 15% OFF your total order (excluding Galvin Green products) by simply entering Voucher Code: RYDERWEEKEND15 at checkout. This offer expires at midnight on Sunday the 30th of September - by which point we will hopefully be celebrating a European victory on American turf! You can also enhance your enjoyment of the 39th Ryder Cup further online with Golfposer via Twitter and Facebook by joining in with the excitement and discussion!

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The final teams for the 2012 Ryder Cup are as follows:

Team USA:

Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson, Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson, Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk, Dustin Johnson, Brandt Snedeker.

Captains: Davis Love III (C) Fred Couples (AC) Mike Hulbert (AC) Jeff Human (AC) Scott Verplank (AC)

Team Europe:

Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Paul Lawrie, Graeme McDowell, Francesco Molinari, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Sergio García, Peter Hanson, Martin Kaymer, Ian Poulter, Nicolas Colsaerts.

Captains: José María Olazábal (C) Darren Clarke (VC) Thomas Bjorn (VC) Miguel Ángel Jiménez (VC)

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