Who would have thought that Europe would retain the trophy two years ago in Medinah when they trailed by four points coming into the final day?
Everything would appear to suggest Europe will win the Ryder Cup for an eighth time in the last ten contests but predictions are notoriously difficult to make in this thrilling biennial competition.
Lee Westwood has it about right when he says Europe are confident but not complacent about retaining the Ryder Cup and the golf betting would appear to back up such a viewpoint.
Europe currently have four of the world’s top-six players, with Rory McIlroy at number one, Sergio Garcia third, Henrik Stenson at five and Justin Rose at six, while the USA have only Jim Furyk at four.
To add to the USA’s woes they are without several key players, including of course Tiger Woods who is continuing his rehabilitation from the troublesome back injury that has ruined his season.
US captain Tom Watson is also without Dustin Johnson, who is taking a break from golf because of “personal challenges” as well as the former USPGA champion Jason Dufner, who is sidelined with a neck injury.
But whereas the likes of Ian Poulter and Bubba Watson are expected to come up with crucial points at vital times, it could be the lesser names that have a pivotal role to play.
For instance, little is known of Europe’s Victor Dubuisson even though he made the Match Play Championship final in February, eventually losing out to Jason Day.
The Frenchman remains the European team’s mystery man with Thomas Bjorn even saying in the build-up to the Ryder Cup: “Does anybody really know Victor?”, while Lee Westwood admitted: “It’s very difficult to know what to make of Victor.”
Even Graeme McDowell got in on the act, saying: “He’s a bit of an enigma and just a tough guy to get your head round what he’s thinking.”
If his team-mates know so little about Dubuisson, it is doubtful whether the US have any more inside knowledge, although it is fair to say that they have some little-known men of their own.
Bubba Watson, Furyk, Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Zach Johnson, Hunter Mahan, Keegan Bradley, Rickie Fowler and Webb Simpson are all household names but the likes of Jimmy Walker, Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed may all have key roles to play at Gleneagles.
It is unfortunate for Tom Watson that two of the players he decided not to hand wildcards to – Chris Kirk and Billy Horschel – have enjoyed successful tournaments since being omitted from the team, but the chances are that the USA will once again ensure that the 2014 Ryder Cup will be a tight and memorable occasion.