Layout means we're on course to win, says G-Mac

Graeme McDowell suspects he knows why Colin Montgomerie has decided not to exercise his right to tailor the Twenty Ten layout to Europe's advantage; and it has little, if anything, to do with the Scot's love of a fair fight. "The course suits us more anyway," says McDowell.

The Americans will take note of the Northern Irishman's warning and not just because he is their national champion, following his major breakthrough at Pebble Beach in June. The 31-year-old also happens to be the reigning Wales Open champion – and knows how to tacklethe 7,400-yard test better than any golfer on earth. His 64-63 finish provided overwhelming proof of that.

Montgomerie acknowledges what an asset he has in McDowell. "They can all go to Graeme for advice when it comes to the Twenty Ten," croons the captain. "Although, in Luke [Donald] and Edoardo [Molinari] we also have the players who finished third and fourth there this year."

At the very least the three team-mates who have yet to play the course competitively will no doubt go to McDowell and will be delighted to hear what he has to report, particularly as all 12 US players will only have last year's tied-for-43rd experience of their captain, Corey Pavin, to go on.

"A number of us obviously know our way round, so won't be under huge pressure in terms of learning the golf course," says McDowell. "There's a few little humps and hollows you've got to learn and that always helps. In fact, I think there's a lot that will play into our favour at Celtic Manor. I see it as a total driving course. You've got to hit very long and very straight off the tee as there's a lot of trouble around."

The general consensus is that Europe have by far the straighter drivers and Paul Azinger, US captain in 2008, warned that if the rough is thick, his country will be operating under a big disadvantage. He will not be pleased to hear that Jim McKenzie, the director of golf, has employed fertiliser to encourage uniform growth. If the weather is wet – as, alas, the long-term forecast is predicting – the lush grass will only accentuate the necessity for accuracy. This truly could be a case of boom it and bust.

Little wonder, therefore, the visitors are praying for the sun, although McDowell envisages bright skies for the home team either way. "I think the weather will be a major factor, whatever," he says. "Even if it stays dry it's still going to be pretty chilly and that will play into our hands."

He also contradicts all those who have been hailing the Twenty Ten as an American-style course. "Celtic Manor has a mix of everything," he says. "It's got a lot of big swales and run-off areas, where a linksy-style short game is required. It's less American-style than the K Club in Dublin [where Europe won in 2006]. I think it's a much better fit for us with big, rolling, links-style greens. I think our team will perform well around there."

The only shame for McDowell is that many matches are unlikely to reach the 18th. "It is a pity as it's a great risk-and-reward par five with water in front of the green and the decision to lay up or not," he said. "It'll be incredibly dramatic, just like the 18th at the Belfry. But let's be honest, you can't call it a key hole as not many games will get that far. The stretch from the 13th to the 15th (see graphic, right) will be key. This where the matches will be won and lost."

The Ryder Cup explained

Timetable

Thursday: Opening ceremony (3.30pm).

Friday: Morning: Four fourballs (7.45am start). Afternoon: Four foursomes (1.15pm start).

Saturday: Morning: Four fourballs (7.45am start). Afternoon: Four foursomes (1.15pm start).

Sunday: 12 singles (11.35am start).

Closing ceremony (5.30pm).

Formats

Fourballs: Both players play their own ball, the lower score on each hole counting as the team score.

Foursomes: Each partner takes alternate shots until the hole is completed. One player tees off at the odd holes, the other on the evens.

Points

28 available (1 point per match, half a point for tied matches). US need 14 points to retain the Cup, Europe need 14 and a half to regain the Cup.

Draw

For every fourball, foursomes and singles match, the captains submit line-ups independently. Their lists are then put together to decide who plays who.

News
The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised
people
Life and Style
tech

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

Sport
football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
News
First woman: Valentina Tereshkova
peopleNASA guinea pig Kate Greene thinks it might fly
News
Brian Harvey turned up at Downing Street today demanding to speak to the Prime Minister
news

Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and that no-one was arrested

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Voices
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'
voices

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Life and Style
The charity Sands reports that 11 babies are stillborn everyday in the UK
lifeEleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK, yet no one speaks about this silent tragedy
News
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)
news

Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
Northern soul mecca the Wigan Casino
fashionGone are the punks, casuals, new romantics, ravers, skaters, crusties. Now all kids look the same
Life and Style
gaming

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Salisbury ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities

The city is home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, along with the world’s oldest mechanical clock
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album