Stan Hey: 6-5 Against

Take Europe to regain the Ryder Cup with McDowell playing the lead role
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The Independent Online

Summer has ended abruptly with thunder and hailstones.

The sporting equivalent can be expected at Newport's Celtic Manor next Friday when a storm of fair but partisan support gets behind Europe's Ryder Cup team. After three successive wins, including two by 18 points to 9 , Europe lost by five at Valhalla in 2008. Reclaiming the cup, by reaching 14, won't be easy but Europe has three elements in its favour.

The first is the form of key players – Graeme McDowell and Martin Kaymer, have won majors this season, while Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter bagged wins on the PGA Tour. The Molinari brothers are the reigning World Cup matchplay champions. Europe will also hope a course unfamiliar to the Americans can count. And they'll expect captain Colin Montgomerie, whose Cup record was terrific (played 36, won 20, halved 7), to inspire them, while keeping his short fuse unlit. Europe has worries about Padraig Harrington – a quiet year and no great cup record (played 21, won 7); while Westwood hasn't played competitive golf for seven weeks.

The American team boast five major winners and five rookies to Europe's three major winners and six rookies. But Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson have losing Cup records, while Steve Stricker, Jeff Overton and Bubba Watson could be weak links. Europe to win, £20 at 8-11, Skybet; £10 on a 15-13 score at 11-1, Boylesports; £10 on McDowell to be Europe's top points-scorer, 15-2 at Bet 365; £10 on Hunter Mahan to score most for America at 11-1, Stan James.