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Ryder Cup: Tiger vs. Rory, US vs. Europe for golf dominance

The Ryder Cup golf matches are taking place this weekend near Chicago. The US will try to wrest control of the 85 year-old Ryder Cup from a determined European squad, led by Rory McIlroy.

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"Certainly I am responsible for that, because I didn't earn the points that I was put out there for," said Woods, who is 13-14-2 overall, 4-1-1 in singles in the Ryder Cup.

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The European team is led by veteran Ryder Cup player and now captain Jose Maria Olazabal. His top player is current world No. 1 Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland. Though he's enjoyed a spectacular golf season so far individually, McIlroy says this weekend he just wants to help his side keep the cup.

"This week I'm not the No. 1 player in the world," McIlroy told USAToday.com Wednesday morning. "I'm one person in a 12-man team, and that's it. It's a team effort. There's 12 guys all striving towards the same goal. I'm just part of that."

The Ryder Cup, like the sport of golf itself, has been held up as an example of good sportsmanship. However, in recent years, the level of competition, shot making, and partisan crowd involvement has increased exponentially. Several publications, including USAToday.com, have rated their top 5 Ryder Cups, and most have occurred in the past 30 years.

Medinah Country Club, which was started by Chicago-area Shriners in 1925, has played host to some of golf's biggest events down through the years, including three US Opens, two PGA Championships, and three Western Opens.

The Ryder Cup will be televised over a three-day period. ESPN will broadcast Friday's matches beginning at 8 a.m. Eastern time. NBC will cover all of the weekend action, beginning at 9 a.m. Eastern time Saturday and 12 noon Eastern time on Sunday.

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