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‘Battle of giants’ in Ryder Cup

ST. LOUIS (AFP) – Most of the world’s greatest golfers will visit France next month for the 42nd Ryder Cup, with US and Europe captains predicting a “battle of giants” in the heated rivalry.

The biennial showdown coming September 28-30 at Le Golf National near Paris will match holders United States, who haven’t won on European soil since 1993, against a Europe squad that won six of seven before falling in 2016.

“I think you’ve got a battle of two giants,” US captain Jim Furyk said. “You look at the world rankings right now, the top 20 players, they’re dominated by Europeans and Americans.

‘’They’re going to have a really strong team, possibly the strongest team Europe has ever fielded. We have our hands full.’’

Four-time major winner Rory McIlroy, third-ranked Justin Rose and British Open champion Francesco Molinari are likely to be European stalwarts once the side is finalized in early September.

“These guys know each other so well, they play together pretty much every week now, and both teams are going to relish the chance of having a go at each other,” European captain Thomas Bjorn of Denmark said. ‘’Both teams are going to be great.’’

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson, second-ranked Justin Thomas, Masters champion Patrick Reed and two-time US Open champion Brooks Koepka have sealed berths on the American side.

“The American team is going to be one of the strongest ever and it won’t be easy at all for us in Paris,” Molinari said. “We need to get prepared and raring to go and make life hard for them on the course in Paris.”