Tony Jacklin’s Ryder Cup 2018 player guidebook: Tiger Woods devotes USA the edge

Europes most successful Ryder Cup captain runs the rule over the 24 players who will combat it out in France later this week

Team Europe

Paul Casey( England )

He is an extremely steady all-round performer, but only has difficulty finishing off tournaments in strokeplay. He’s proved his ability in matchplay over the years and the European team is surely better with him in it.

Player rating: 7 out of 10

Tommy Fleetwood( England )

Tommy is a rookie but he was able to prove to be the next European cab off the Ryder Cup rank. He’s a tremendous ball-striker and reaches a lot of fairways and greens. Has zoomed up the world rankings in the last couple of seasons and I don’t think we’ve yet assured the best of him.

Rating: 8

Sergio Garcia( Spain )

I don’t think there’s been a better ball-striker anywhere in the last 20 years than Sergio. The difficulty he’s had is showing it. He is probably an underachiever and on current form he is fortunate to have got a wildcard pick.

Rating: 6

Sergio Garcia has been picked by Thomas Bjorn despite poor form this season. Photograph: Quality Sport Images/ Getty Images
Tyrrell Hatton( England )

I don’t know how he will fare in matchplay but he has created some very good scores and great finishes in strokeplay events. He’s got a hot mood, I know that, and sometimes that can be a help in matchplay.

Rating: 6

Rory McIlroy( Northern Ireland )

The game of golf is almost impossible to perfect but Rory has come almost as close to Tiger Woods in terms of attaining perfection. He’s a world-class player and I’d love to see him reproduction the passion he proved at Hazeltine two years ago.

Rating: 9

Francesco Molinari( Italy )

Judging by what we consider of Francesco in the summer, when he won three tournaments out of five including the Open at Carnoustie, Thomas Bjorn will be hoping that he demonstrates one of the linchpins of the team.

Rating: 8

Alex Noren( Sweden )

When he’s on top of his game, Alex is a classy musician. I don’t know him personally but I can see he’s a very determined individual. Has taken his game to new heights since winning four times in 2016.

Rating: 7

Thorbjorn Olesen( Denmark )

Thorbjorn has qualified for the team by right so his credentials are proven. He is another European player who is a bit of an unknown quantity in matchplay. Will be a help to have his countryman Bjorn on hand in the team room.

Rating: 7

Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark should benefit from having his countryman Thomas Bjorn in the team room. Photo: Quality Sport Images/ Getty Images
Ian Poulter( England )

Ian is the best matchplayer in the whole damn thing. He has a ferocious are willing to win and who can forget the truly inspirational way he fired Europe to victory when they were staring defeat in the face at Medinah in 2012?

Rating: 9

Jon Rahm( Spain )

Jon’s fiery temper gets the better of him occasionally but he is a fine player and very determined. He started the season well but I’m just a bit worried that he might have gone off the boil in recent months.

Rating: 7

Justin Rose( England )

Justin can get too mechanical from time to time but his new claw-style grip has improved his putting and that’s the most important aspect of the game. A genuine world-class player, as he proved by winning the FedExCup in Atlanta on Sunday, and his partnership with Henrik Stenson could be pivotal.

Rating: 8

Henrik Stenson( Sweden )

His consistency, perseverance and determination is always place on. He’s had a few injury problems of late and I just hope he bides fit. He played amazingly well to win the Open at Royal Troon two years ago. A major title was long overdue for Henrik.

Rating: 8

Europe total rating: 90

Team USA

Bryson DeChambeau

He goes about things a bit differently to most but it runs. You can see from the look upon his face that he’s a determined guy, a real warrior, and I think he’ll be a great asset for the Americans. A bit of an unknown quantity in matchplay, though.

Rating: 7

Tony Finau

He may be the fourth and final captain’s picking but Tony Finau is surely no slouch. He’s the PGA Tour’s’ Steady Eddie ‘, their Mr Consistent. He churns out top-1 0 finish after top-1 0 finish and reminds me very much of Vijay Singh with that lovely, languid swaying tempo of his.

Rating: 7

Tony Finau plays from the 3rd tee during the final round of the Tour Championship, where he finished in a tie-in for 15 th at three under. Photo: John David Mercer/ USA Today Sports

Rickie Fowler

Rickie is exceptionally consistent and an excellent putter. It’s simply a question of period before he lands that first major championship victory.

Rating: 7

Dustin Johnson

Back on top of the world rankings, if Dustin putts well nobody can beat him in strokeplay or matchplay. He’s awesome, longer than anyone else off the tee, and the game seems to come so easily for him.

Rating: 8

Brooks Koepka

He came up with a throwaway line a couple of weeks ago that really resonated with me when he said,’ Nobody’s more confident than me ‘. That wasn’t a boast, it was just a matter of fact, and you merely have to watch him to assure he is full of self-belief.

Rating: 8

Phil Mickelson

When Phil talks, you listen, when Phil plays, you watch. He’s a special talent. I’d put him and Tiger Woods on a level footing. Both have all the experience in the world. Tiger might have the edge but Phil is equally as talented.

Rating: 9

Patrick Reed

He revels in the red-hot atmosphere of Ryder Cup combat. It was terrific to be there at Hazeltine to watch him and Rory McIlroy going head-to-head with so much passion. He’s fearless and loves to show off his skills. A real showman.

Rating: 8

Webb Simpson

He’s got his putting sorted out since the anchor prohibit. He was struggling with it but has improved since he started holding the putter alongside his forearm. Once he find the lines on the greens, it virtually seems to become automatic for him.

Rating: 7

Jordan Spieth

A fiery competitor. What he’s achieved in the last five years, at his age, is remarkable. Jordan has no real weakness and will bring an enormous amount to the USA squad room.

Rating: 8

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