THOMAS BJORN will have a job on his hands if he is to mastermind a European triumph over a fearsome United States team at the Ryder Cup this weekend.
USA earned a thumping success on home soil at Hazeltine two years ago and with nine Major winners among the ranks, Jim Furyk's men are a formidable outfit this time around.
And yet there is something about the Ryder Cup that galvanises the boys in blue with Europe having won eight of the past 11 editions.
So, with that in mind, here are four reasons why Europe will defy the odds and prevail at Le Golf National.
USA don't travel well
USA may be defending champions and favourites to retain the trophy but there is no doubt they have suffered from travel sickness in the Ryder Cup.
You have to go back to 1993 for the last time America triumphed on European soil as a team led by the legendary Tom Watson won 15-13 at The Belfry.
Indeed Team USA turned back to Watson four years ago at Gleneagles but the experience was markedly different as Europe romped to a 16.5-11.5 victory.
The heavy defeat led to an infamous post-event news conference where Phil Mickelson threw Watson under the bus with a damning assessment of his leadership.
Revenge is sweet for Europe
On the face of it this is one of the best chances Team USA will have to end their away-day hoodoo.
A 17-11 scoreline at Hazeltine two years ago, coupled with the fact seven of the past nine Major winners have come from America, points towards one logical conclusion.
But the Ryder Cup rarely follows logic and a Europe team that has lost just three times since that 1993 reverse will be smarting from such a comprehensive defeat last time out.
Europe have revelled in being the underdogs before and such a status will suit them just fine in front of what will be a partisan crowd.
Horses for courses
Familiarity, as the saying goes, can breed contempt, but it can also undoubtedly breed success.
And there are success stories at Le Golf National in Bjorn's team. The past two winners of the Open de France have been Ryder Cup rookies Tommy Fleetwood and Alex Noren while Francesco Molinari is a three-time runner-up.
Perfect blend of rookies and experience
As in any team environment it can be difficult to get the right mix of wide-eyed newcomers and seasoned veterans.
But it appears on the surface Bjorn has got the right combination with five first-timers as Jon Rahm, Noren, Thorbjorn Olesen, Tyrrell Hatton and Fleetwood all preparing to make their Ryder Cup debuts.
Bjorn was clearly looking for experience in his captain's picks with Ryder Cup regulars Sergio Garcia and Henrik Stenson added to the mix despite being out of form this season.
Justin Rose heads to France as the FedEx Cup champion, four-time Major winner Rory McIlroy adds star power and Ian Poulter – a man so synonymous with the Ryder Cup – is a welcome return.
- (5-4, Unibet)
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