OAKLAND HILLS COUNTRY CLUB The South course at Oakland Hills Country Club was designed by Donald Ross and opened on July 13, 1918. It was renovated by Robert Trent Jones Sr. in 1950 and has been upgraded throughout the years by his son Rees Jones; it's now 7,077 yards, par seventy. For this year's Ryder Cup, Rees has narrowed the fairways on seven holes and shortened the sixth to make it a drivable par four. The signature hole, the par-four sixteenth, has a green with water front and right and large bunkers back and left. The South has hosted ten majors, including the 1951 U.S. Open, in which the winner, Ben Hogan, gave the host a new moniker when he said, "I'm glad I brought this course, this monster, to its knees." The undulating, tiered greens—which have not been touched by Rees Jones—are going to be the most difficult aspect of the Monster. According to U.S. captain Hal Sutton, due to the greens, "Guys who thought they were out of it suddenly will find themselves back in the match."
United States: The U.S. Ryder Cup team is chosen on the basis of points that players accumulated from January 3, 2002, through the PGA Championship on August 15, 2004, and are tallied by the PGA of America. The top ten finishers on the points list qualify for the twelve-man team; the captain selects the other two.
2004 U.S. RYDER CUP STANDINGS*
1. Tiger Woods** 1,781.667
2. Phil Mickelson** 1,775.250
3. Davis Love III** 1,114.107
4. Jim Furyk 814.479
5. Kenny Perry 750.107
6. David Toms 695.125
7. Chad Campbell 680.000
8. Fred Funk 596.959
9. Steve Flesch 530.937
10. Jeff Maggert 504.143
*As of July 25 **Clinched spot
Europe: The European Ryder Cup team is composed of the top five players from the Ryder Cup World Points list (A, below) and the top five not in that group from the Ryder Cup Points list (B). European captain Bernhard Langer chooses the remaining two. This year there is a new rule requiring 2004 participants to have played in eleven European Tour events in the past year. Certain players, including Luke Donald and Jesper Parnevik, have chosen not to play the minimum knowing that they will not qualify for the tournament, even as captain's picks.
A. 2004 RYDER CUP WORLD POINTS*
1. Padraig Harrington (Ireland) 232.09
2. Sergio Garcia (Spain) 219.10
3. Darren Clarke (No. Ireland) 174.51
4. Miguel Angel Jimenez (Spain) 166.55
5. Lee Westwood (England) 143.72
B. 2004 RYDER CUP POINTS*
1. Lee Westwood 1,565,797.68
2. Miguel Angel Jimenez 1,520,367.88
3. Darren Clarke 1,364,954.31
4. Padraig Harrington 1,303,008.06
5. Thomas Levet (France) 1,293,779.62
6. Paul Casey (England) 1,114,066.50
7. David Howell (England) 1,074,623.18
8. Joakim Haeggman (Sweden) 1,018,136.22
9. Ian Poulter (England) 1,001,727.34
*As of July 26
United States: U.S. captain Hal Sutton has competed in four Ryder Cups; with an overall record of seven wins, five losses and four halves, he shares a .56 winning percentage with Langer. The gritty Louisianan explained that he intends to focus on keeping his twelve Americans "a little bit more like a team this year."
Europe: Bernhard Langer has played on ten Ryder Cup teams and has a record of twenty-one wins, fifteen losses and six halves. He is the number two all-time Ryder Cup points winner with twenty-four, and he has beaten Sutton twice in singles (1985 and 2002). "I think the two of us will get along very well, except maybe when it comes to holding onto that trophy or giving it away," he said.
There have been thirty-four Ryder Cup tournaments dating to 1927. Originally formatted as the U.S. versus the U.K., the competition was opened to include all Europeans in 1979. The U.S. has won twenty-four matches; the Europeans, eight; and there have been two ties. The period of 1935–'83 was dominated by the U.S., which took every tournament save for the British win in 1957 and a tie in 1969. However, the Euros have won five and tied one of the last nine matches.
There will be a total of twenty-eight matches, all in match-play format. Each is worth one point and can be halved. The U.S. needs fourteen and a half points to win the Cup; the Europeans need only fourteen, since in the event of a tie, the team that last won the Cup retains it.
Day One: Eight matches—four of foursome play, four of four-ball; captains decide which is played first. (Foursome play is two men per team alternating shots on one ball. Four-ball is two men per team each playing his own ball.)
Day Two: Same format as first day.
Day Three: Twelve singles matches.
Thursday, September 16: Opening ceremonies on the Golf Channel and USA Network (times to be determined)
Friday, September 17: USA Network (8 a.m. EST)
Saturday, September 18: NBC (8 a.m. EST)
Sunday, September 19: NBC (12 p.m. EST)
*As of press time