Five major players give US a great chance to defy odds

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Even the hapless Great Britain & Ireland skippers of old would declare themselves "delighted" with their team before the match began, so it is patently unwise to deduce a side's chances from their captain's confidence. But Corey Pavin does have genuine cause for optimism; whatever the doubters may say.

The bookies have Europe as 4-6 favourites and many "experts" have already declared Colin Montgomerie's men as the winners. But they must be heavily factoring in home-course advantage as the statistics do not back up these outlandish claims. With Tiger Woods, Pavin made it four of the world's top five in his 12 and with Zach Johnson he was able to close the America deficit on the top-20 players' charts to one (8-7). Hardly a golfing David and Goliath scenario, now is it?

Saying that, in Rickie Fowler and Jeff Overton the US do have the only two players who have never won. In contrast 10 of the Europeans have lifted silverware this season – the count for America reads eight. Yet perhaps Pavin is countering this imbalance with the fact that he has five major-winners (with 21 between them) in his ranks compared to Monty's three (with a collective five majors). When put alongside the team unity the US were at last able to forge in Kentucky, their challenge does become ever more persuasive.

And who says playing in Wales in October will favour the Europeans? It certainly would if, as he is entitled to, Monty told the Celtic Manor greens staff to procure the slow greens which the Americans hate or instructed them to grow the rough. But, as of last week, The Independent understands Monty had yet to issue any course demands. Europe can only pray he was planning to soon as he has the straighter hitters. Maybe, Monty could still put the "fore!" into foregone conclusion.