I am very excited with the Ryder Cup just around the corner, and my excitment just increases each time I see the images of previous events. The general talk around the office adds further to the euphoria and it’s now a real countdown to Valhalla 2008.

My personal view from the start was that the USA had an ideal opportunity to get ahead with the changes to their selection system introducing four picks. I thought that would do their chances the world of good. After hearing the four wild card picks Mr Azinger had chosen, they did not strike me as the right choices and this filled me with more European optimism.

I also considered the fact that a certain T. Woods would not be teeing it up come September 18th. Although he does not seem to be excited by the team competition that the Ryder cup brings, he is arguably the best player the game has ever seen.

After this I had a detailed look at both teams and on paper Europe’s top 5 players: Harrington, Garcia, Westwood, Jimenez and Stenson look almost unflappable, and even with lingering doubts that the US side will get one over on the Europeans, I just cannot see it materialising.

However I do believe that this year’s matches will be tighter than the two previous comprehensive European victories because I feel the rookies within the European side, with the exception of Justin Rose, are not quite ready to make the step up in class that this event demands. The same could also be said for the US rookies, of course. I do not see players such as Boo Weekly, J.B. Holmes or Steve Stricker giving the Europeans much trouble. So I’m going for a closer score-line, but one favouring the Europeans!