The Europeans

Jose Maria Olazabal has played in seven Ryder Cups and was Europe’s vice-captain for the last two matches. Now, he’s captain. He succeeds Colin Montgomerie, and Olazabal and the Europeans will face the Americans this weekend in Ryder Cup play at Medinah, Ill. Enlarge photo

Nousha Salimi/Associated Press file photo

Jose Maria Olazabal has played in seven Ryder Cups and was Europe’s vice-captain for the last two matches. Now, he’s captain. He succeeds Colin Montgomerie, and Olazabal and the Europeans will face the Americans this weekend in Ryder Cup play at Medinah, Ill.

A look by capsule at the European players, coached by Jose Maria Olazabal, for the 39th Ryder Cup matches to be played Friday through Sunday at Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. Players are listed in the order they made the team.

Rory McIlroy

Age: 23.

Country: Northern Ireland.

World Ranking: 1.

Ryder Cups: 1.

Ryder Cup Record: 1-1-2.

Career Victories: 8.

2012 Victories: Honda Classic, PGA Championship, Deutsche Bank Championship, BMW Championship.

Majors: 2.

2012 Majors: Masters-T40, U.S. Open-Cut, British Open-T60, PGA Championship-1.

Backspin: The undisputed best player in the world, McIlroy gives Europe its first No. 1 player in the Ryder Cup since Nick Faldo in 1993. He went 1-1-2 in his Ryder Cup debut at Celtic Manor. He has four wins this year, including a major. Similar to Tiger Woods for so many years, he will be looked upon to deliver a point in every match he plays, and any loss figures to give the Americans momentum. The kid has shown to be up to the challenge.

Justin Rose

Age: 32.

Country: England.

World Ranking: 9.

Ryder Cups: 1.

Ryder Cup Record: 3-1-0.

Career Victories: 10.

2012 Victories: Cadillac Championship.

Majors: None.

2012 Majors: Masters-T8, U.S. Open-T21, British Open-Cut, PGA Championship-T3.

Backspin: Only his second Ryder Cup, though he helped carry the load in a losing cause at Valhalla. The only European aside from rookie Nicolas Colsaerts who never has experienced winning a Ryder Cup. He has had good finishes since winning the World Golf Championship at Doral in March, though he hasn’t seriously contended since then. Defeated Phil Mickelson in singles at Valhalla.

Graeme McDowell

Age: 33.

Country: Northern Ireland.

World Ranking: 17.

Ryder Cups: 2.

Ryder Cup Record: 4-2-2.

Career Victories: 8.

2012 Victories: None.

Majors: 1.

2012 Majors: Masters-T12, U.S. Open-T2, British Open-T5, PGA Championship-T11.

Backspin: He has not won a tournament in 2012 and is one of three Europeans who has not won this year. He also might be one of the stronger players, considering his record of contending in the majors this year. He has the greatest attribute of a Ryder Cup player: He holes big putts. He delivered the winning point in Wales with a 15-foot birdie on the 16th hole to beat Hunter Mahan in the final match.

Paul Lawrie

Age: 43.

Country: Scotland.

World Ranking: 27.

Ryder Cups: 1.

Ryder Cup Record: 3-1-1.

Career Victories: 8.

2012 Victories: Qatar Masters, Johnnie Walker Championship.

Majors: 1.

2012 Majors: Masters-T24, U.S. Open-DNP, British Open-T34, PGA Championship-T48.

Backspin: It has been 13 years since his inaugural Ryder Cup at Brookline, the second longest gap next to Christy O’Connor Jr., who went 14 years between matches. He skipped the U.S. Open to improve his chances of making the team. He’s won twice this year. He made his first team by winning the British Open, when Jean Van de Velde had his collapse at Carnoustie. Lawrie beautifully teamed with Colin Montgomerie and only lost one match. His putting has been inconsistent this summer.

Francesco Molinari

Age: 29.

Country: Italy.

World Ranking: 31.

Ryder Cups: 1.

Ryder Cup Record: 0-2-1.

Career Victories: 3.

2012 Victories: Spanish Open.

Majors: None.

2012 Majors: Masters-T19, U.S. Open-T29, British Open-T39, PGA Championship-T54.

Backspin: This year, there really will be only one Molinari as his brother failed to make the team. He earned only a half-point in the last Ryder Cup and was drilled by Tiger Woods in singles. But the Italian can be dangerous in this format because of his accuracy off the tee. He’s not very long, which won’t help at Medinah, but he rarely will be out of any hole.

Luke Donald

Age: 34.

Country: England.

World Ranking: 3.

Ryder Cups: 3.

Ryder Cup Record: 8-2-1.

Career Victories: 11.

2012 Victories: Transitions Championship, BMW PGA Championship.

Majors: None.

2012 Majors: Masters-T32, U.S. Open-Cut, British Open-T5, PGA Championship-T32.

Backspin: Donald can make a case as Europe’s best player, and he’s the only European on this side who has played on more than two teams without ever losing the Cup. He lost his No. 1 ranking to McIlroy, maybe for good, but put up a good fight for a long time. He never has lost a foursomes match in six tries – four of those with Sergio Garcia and the last time with Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood.

Lee Westwood

Age: 38.

Country: England.

World Ranking: 4.

Ryder Cups: 7.

Ryder Cup Record: 16-11-6.

Career Victories: 38.

2012 Victories: Indonesia Masters, Scandinavian Masters.

Majors: None.

2012 Majors: Masters-T3, U.S. Open-T10, British Open-T45, PGA Championship-Cut.

Backspin: The most experienced player for Europe, Westwood is starting to come on strong. He combines decent power with excellent accuracy and strikes the ball well. His putting runs hot and cold, and the chipping is a sore spot with him. He has had eight partners over the years and five of those matches have been with Sergio Garcia. He won only two singles matches – against Kenny Perry in 2004 and Chris DiMarco in 2002.

Peter Hanson

Age: 34.

Country: Sweden.

World Ranking: 23.

Ryder Cups: 1.

Ryder Cup Record: 1-2-0.

Career Victories: 5.

2012 Victories: Dutch Open.

Majors: None.

2012 Majors: Masters-T3, U.S. Open-Cut, British Open-T23, PGA Championship-T7.

Backspin: The Swede made his second consecutive team, his most memorable event this year was when he had the 54-hole lead at the Masters. He split his matches at Wales with Miguel Angel Jimenez and lost to Phil Mickelson in singles. He can partner with just about anyone.

Sergio Garcia

Age: 32.

Country: Spain.

World Ranking: 19.

Ryder Cups: 5.

Ryder Cup Record: 14-6-4.

Career Victories: 21.

2012 Victories: Wyndham Championship.

Majors: None.

2012 Majors: Masters-T12, U.S. Open-T38, British Open-Cut, PGA Championship-Cut.

Backspin: He returns to the Ryder Cup after missing in 2010, and he brings more passion than anyone, even Poulter. He won at least three matches in every Ryder Cup until his last one in 2008 when he went 0-2-2. He partners extremely well with Donald in foursomes. He talked at the Masters as though he was not capable of winning a major, though his game turned around when he won at Greensboro and had the lead at The Barclays. The Ryder Cup is different. By the end of his career, he could set the record for most points.

Martin Kaymer

Age: 27.

Country: Germany.

World Ranking: 32.

Ryder Cups: 1.

Ryder Cup Record: 2-1-1.

Career Victories: 10.

2012 Victories: None.

Majors: 1.

2012 Majors: Masters-T44, U.S. Open-T15, British Open-Cut, PGA Championship-Cut.

Backspin: The former PGA champion has all but disappeared this season, missing the cut in his last two majors and failing to win a tournament for the first time since his rookie season in Europe in 2007. This might be a player Europe has to hide. He played tho matches (win, halve) with Westwood at Celtic Manor, and he won his match with Ian Poulter over Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler.

Ian Poulter

Age: 36.

Country: England.

World Ranking: 24.

Ryder Cups: 3.

Ryder Cup Record: 8-3-0.

Career Victories: 13.

2012 Victories: None.

Majors: None.

2012 Majors: Masters-7, U.S. Open-T41, British Open-T9, PGA Championship-T3.

Backspin: Not so surprisingly, his game appears to be rounding into form as the Ryder Cup nears. He has won all three of his singles matches and guaranteed a win over Matt Kuchar two years ago by saying, “I will deliver a point.” His teammates now call him “The Postman.” Not very long, not the greatest iron player, but he makes putts from everywhere when they matter and has a great short game.

Nicolas Colsaerts

Age: 29.

Country: Belgium.

World Ranking: 35.

Ryder Cups: Rookie.

Ryder Cup Record: 0-0-0.

Career Victories: 2.

2012 Victories: World Match Play Championship.

Majors: None.

2012 Majors: Masters-Cut, U.S. Open-T27, British Open-T7, PGA Championship-Cut.

Backspin: The only rookie on the European side and the first time since 1989 (Ronan Rafferty) that Europe has had only one newcomer. Medinah should be the perfect place for him to make his debut because he plays an American-style game – long and high off the tee. He likely will be used only in fourballs. He has struggled to maintain his game over four days in stroke play, with his lone win this year in Spain at the World Match Play Championship.

Associated Press