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Who will win the Ryder Cup

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Who will win the 38th Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor in Newport, Wales? Senior writer Rex Hoggard and editorial director Jay Coffin offer their takes.

By REX HOGGARD

The bookies know it. Twenty-eight out of 31 U.S. scribes crammed into a Welsh media center know it. Maybe deep down U.S. captain Corey Pavin knows it, what else would explain that Bubba Watson-Jeff Overton Friday morning fourball?

There hasn’t been a stone lock like this in golf since the 2009 PGA Championship when Tiger Woods took a two-stroke lead over someone named Y.E. Yang into the final round. No? The point is let this play out before you send Samuel Ryder’s chalice back across the pond.

In many ways the 2010 U.S. team looks a lot like the European squads of old – top heavy with a thin and unproven bench. It’s not an ideal situation, but it worked. The plan is simple, trot out your horses and ride them early and often until the Sunday singles session, which the American side has won nine out of the last 14 times.

If the uber-pairing of Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker can rediscover the edge that made them unstoppable at Harding Park and Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson fulfill expectations it’s not inconceivable that the U.S. side manages something close to .500 ball in team play.

It’s a simple plan and one that will be good enough to keep the cup on this side of the Atlantic for another two years, whether the press and the punters believe it or not.

By JAY COFFIN

Europe, no question about it.

I have been leaning in Europe’s favor the past month, but now that the opening fourball pairings have been released, I feel more confident in the pick. Europe will lead 3-1 after the first session, then hold on tight Sunday during singles and pull out the victory.

The Europeans always want it more. Americans take offense to that, but it’s the cold, hard truth. They bond more as a team, they can check egos at the door for one week and they have always given off the vibe that they’ll have each other’s backs no matter the situation.

There are questions on both sides. How will Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson play? How will the U.S. rookies fare? For Europe, is Lee Westwood in top shape? Can Padraig Harrington find form that helped him win three majors?

I’ll take the side which is playing a home game just about every time in this match. And I like Europe’s depth. They seem to have more combinations of men who will perform well together.

The U.S. seems like it has too many guys they will try to hide until Sunday singles. It’s a role reversal from most Ryder Cups over the past 20 years, but this Europe team is deep, and will not be denied at home.

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