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Who holds the key to Ryder Cup glory?

Who holds the key to Ryder Cup glory?

27/09/2018 at 13:11Updated 27/09/2018 at 14:12

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Europe welcome the United States to Le Golf National in Paris as they contest the 42nd Ryder Cup, but which players will decide who emerge victorious.

The US bid for a first win in Europe since 1993 and Jim Furyk’s men begin as strong favourites against Thomas Bjørn's Europe.

Here are five players from either side who’ll help decide the victors:

Video - Can Europe stun the US Ryder Cup dream team?

03:57

USA

Player: Tiger Woods

Achievements: 14-time Major winner

Woods, 42, last won a Major in 2008 and was last PGA Player of the Year in 2013 but 2018 has seen a dramatic upturn in fortunes, a best-ever final round of 64 saw him finish second two shots back from Brooks Koepka at the 2018 PGA Championship. Having led the Open on the Sunday, he finished sixth. He won the Tour Championship on Sunday as he rediscovered his very best form after four back surgeries in five years. Narrowly missed automatic qualification, but a stunning comeback story could end with Ryder Cup glory on Sunday.

Ryder Cup Appearances: 7

Player: Patrick Reed

Achievements: 2018 Masters winner

Ryder Cup Appearances: 2

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Player: Phil Mickelson

Achievements: Five-time Major winner

Mickelson has had a tumultuous season given the improbably high standards he has set. 'Lefty' missed the cut at both the Open and the PGA Championship but, such is his quality, he was always going to be a captain's pick, with his aggressive style perfectly suited to this matchplay format.

Ryder Cup Appearances: 11

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Player: Brooks Koepka

Achievements: 2017, 2018 US Open champion, 2018 USPGA champion

The 28-year-old Koepka has fully recovered from the wrist surgery that ruled him out of the Masters earlier this year, and he has gone on to not only defend his US Open crown but add the USPGA to a growing list of honours. Koepka saw off a resurgent Tiger Woods at the USPGA and has eight top 10 finishes at Majors. Big-hitting Koepka loves the big stage, and will have to be at his best if the US are to win in Europe for the first time in 25 years.

Ryder Cup Appearances: 1

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Player: Jordan Spieth

Achievements: 2015 Masters champion, 2015 US Open champion, 2017 Open champion

An absolute genius around the greens, who dovetails brilliantly with fellow Masters winner Reed. However, he has had a topsy-turvy campaign. The 25-year-old tied the best final round score in Masters history in April - an 8-under 64 - but then missed the cut at the US Open.

Ryder Cup Appearances: 2

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Europe

Player: Rory McIlroy

Came into the 2016 Ryder Cup with a perfect record of three Ryder Cup outings - 2010, 2012 and 2014 - and three wins. At the 2016 tournament, McIlroy won all of his pairings, but was defeated in Sunday's singles in a match for the ages against Patrick Reed. Expect more excellence and fireworks from the 29-year-old.

Achievements: Four-time Major champion

Ryder Cup Appearances: 4

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Player: Paul Casey

Claimed a first win on the PGA Tour in nine years when he won the Valspar Championship in March before the 41-year-old rejoined the European Tour in October 2017 with the specific aim of participating in this year's Ryder Cup. The passion is really illustrated by his comments to the Sunday Times in 2004.

" Oh, we properly hate them. We wanted to beat them as badly as possible."

Hit a hole in one at the K Club in Ireland in 2006 as Europe won 18½ to 9½. Chosen as a wildcard, his experience should prove crucial.

Achievements: 2018 Valspar champion

Ryder Cup Appearances: 3

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Player: Justin Rose

Achievements: World number one, 2013 US Open champion

Ryder Cup Appearances: 4

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Player: Ian Poulter

Ian Poulter comes alive at the Ryder Cup. The 2018 Houston Open champion has won 12 of his 18 matches and never lost a singles match, who was one of the key architects of the Miracle of Medinah back in 2012.

Achievements: 2018 Houston Open champion

Ryder Cup Appearances: 5

Rating: 9/10

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Player: Sergio García

Finally won a Major in 2017 when he claimed the Masters, but his class was never in doubt. Has spent 400 weeks in the top 10, and produced a showdown of the very highest calibre at the 2016 Ryder Cup, where García and Mickelson traded blows in a spellbinding spell of golf that saw the pair share 19 birdies.

Achievements: 2017 Masters champion

Ryder Cup Appearances: 8

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