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Faldo backs McIlroy to roar over Tiger

Story highlights

  • Nick Faldo has won more points at the Ryder Cup than any other European player in history of competition
  • Faldo captained Europe during their disastrous defeat at Valhalla four years ago
  • World No.1 Rory McIlroy set to lead European challenge at Medinah
  • Faldo unable to predict a winner with both teams so evenly matched

Nick Faldo knows what it takes to win the Ryder Cup -- so when he says he would rather go into battle with Rory McIlroy in his side than Tiger Woods, it is probably worth listening.

Six-time major winner Faldo remains Europe's most successful player in the competition having taken 25 points from his duels against the U.S.

While his captaincy during the 2008 defeat at Valhalla was firmly criticized following a disappointing defeat, he remains one of the most iconic figures of the competition.

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With the U.S. and Europe set to go head-to-head at Medinah Country Club in Chicago on Friday, world No.1 McIlroy is expected to lead the charge for Jose Maria Olazabal's team.

The 23-year-old has enjoyed a sensational run of form, winning the 2011 U.S. Open and the 2012 PGA Championship and more recently the Deutsche Bank Championship, before pocketing a cool $3 million at the FedEx Cup last weekend.

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    Those achievements have convinced Faldo to back a man playing in just his second Ryder Cup tournament ahead of 14-time major champion and current World No.2 Woods

    "I'd pick Rory," said Faldo. "They're both really marked men now.

    "Rory is at the top of the game and everybody in America wants to beat him now and at 23 he has a pretty daunting job on his shoulders.

    McIlroy dismisses claim that Tiger is 'intimidated'

    "You send out your teams you think are going to give you a point but he's a marked man so it gives him a moral victory if somebody beats him as well and that's what I'm trying to say.

    "It's the same with Tiger. I think Tiger has obviously changed a lot. I think he recognises the importance of having that team around him and how good it is for him to do his bit for the team.

    "Every player would love to do their part for the Ryder Cup team."

    Europe triumphed by a single point at Celtic Manor two years ago with Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell sinking the winning putt following his titanic tussle with Hunter Mahan.

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    A quick glance at the world rankings shows that Europe has four players inside the top five with Woods at No.2 separating the likes of McIlroy from Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Justin Rose.

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    But the U.S. is looking a far more accomplished team this time around with the likes of Brandt Snedeker hoping to build on his stunning Tour Championship and FedEx Cup victory.

    U.S captain Davis Love III also has the likes of Bubba Watson, Jason Duffner and Webb Simpson to call on in addition to the more experienced players such as Steve Stricker, Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk.

    "On paper you look at the two teams and they're really well matched," said Faldo.

    " Both teams have got bombers, both teams have got steady-eddies and both have got fiery putters

    "At the start of the year I said it would maybe be a tie to try and dismiss the question early on. But now it could be.

    "I'm not sitting on the fence, it could be a point either way and who knows who is going to get the momentum.

    "I'm split in the middle and it could well be a tie."