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Ryder Cup 2012: Americans Aim To Reclaim Trophy From Europe

The 2012 Ryder Cup tees off at Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill., on Friday. Europe defeated the U.S. in 2010, 14½-13½.

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American captain Davis Love III and European captain Jose Maria Olazabal lead their teams into the 39th Ryder Cup this week, which tees off on Friday at Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. Europe won the last event in 2010, edging the U.S., 14½-13½. The Europeans have won four of the last five Ryder Cups.

Phil Mickelson holds the most Ryder Cup experience of any American on the 2012 team, making his ninth appearance in the event. Jim Furyk is playing for the eighth time, and Tiger Woods is on his seventh Ryder Cup team.

Aside from these three stalwarts, the American team is fairly inexperienced. Zach Johnson is making his third appearance, and Bubba Watson and Matt Kuchar are playing in the event for the second time. Four players will be making their Ryder Cup debuts for the United States.

Europe may be playing just one rookie, Nicolas Colsaerts, but the team lacks overall experience. Rory McIlroy leads six European players making their second Ryder Cup appearances -- a group that includes Justin Rose.

Ian Poulter and Luke Donald are two of the more seasoned European veterans, making their fourth appearances. Lee Westwood will be playing in his eighth Ryder Cup, which leads Europe.

Play on Friday and Saturday features four foursome and four four-ball matches on each day. Sunday's competition consists of 12 singles matches. With 28 points available, the U.S. needs 14½ points to with the Cup. As defending champions, Europe can claim victory with 14 points.

For more Ryder Cup coverage, check out SB Nation's golf hub.

Photographs by, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.