EUROPE will start as underdogs in the defense of the Ryder Cup at Whisting Straits Golf Club in Haven, Wisconsin.
And it makes sense. The United States, with home ground advantage and a lot of vocal support, stand a good chance of regaining the small, coveted gold trophy, with a the team that comprises nine of the 11 top-ranked players in the world.
But it is unlikely Europe relinquish the Ryder Cup without a fight. They trail their hosts 26-14 in the count since it started in 1927. And perhaps more importantly they are only three behind (11-8) since the whole of Europe became a part of it, as opposed to Great Britain & Ireland before 1979.
Padraig Harrington is Europe captain this year and he has a team that may not be as strong as the Americans on paper, but is certainly one that has dogged determination.
Since the successive victories with Tony Jacklin at the helm in 1985 and 1987, Europe have proven tenacious customers. During this period they won 11 of 17 Cups.
Harrington opted for Sergio Garcia (nine Ryder Cups), Shane Lowry and Ian Poulter (six) as his three captain’s picks.
They will line-up with Paul Casey, Matt Fitzpatrick, Tyrrell Hatton, Tommy Fleetwood, four-time Major winner Rory McIlroy, Viktor Hovland, world number one Jon Rahm, 10-time team member Lee Westwood and Bernd Wiesberger.
All have played on the PGA Tour, so they know what to expect in the US.
That in itself should go some way to helping their cause of trying to retain the biggest prize in team golf. But they also know that it will not be easy, not in front of a crowd baying for blood.