I had the chance recently to talk with Paul Azinger, captain of the victorious 2008 U.S. Ryder Cup team, about what he sees looking at the matches this week at Medinah.
Here's some of what Azinger, who will be part of ESPN's television crew, had to say.
On Phil MIckelson: "Phil Mickelson has always been worth at least a point a day in the team room. He's phenomenal."
On Tiger Woods: "Tiger is more reserved. Tiger's Ryder Cup record (13-14-2) is better than people think. "I didn't have Tiger on my team. I would have loved to have Tiger in a small group. I would have put him with Boo (Weekley), J.B. (Holmes) and Kenny Perry. He'd have been in the redneck pool. What's important is to get Tiger with guys he not only gets along with but he can be an encourager, too.
On the Tiger-Rory McIlroy relationship: "It's a surprising turn of events. McIlroy said some things Tiger could have gotten mad about. I think Tiger has made a career out of wanting players to be uncomfortable with him. I think the only guy I can think of who was comfortable with Tiger and didn't change who he was Rocco Mediate. Rocco idolized him and laughed at how good he is, in his face, like, 'Oh my god, I can't believe you hit that shot. His personality didn't change head to head against Tiger.
"Tiger shows up in character. He's playing a part. When he gets out of his car in the parking lot he's a pro golfer in part. He's wearing a shirt the color of blood for a reason. He lets people know those are his power colors. He plays the role hard.
"He made a comment (at the PGA Championship) that he tried to be happy to lucky out there. What happened? That's a big change in his personality. Maybe he's looking at his life differently.
"If ever a guy has been a threat to Tiger's legacy and could rob him of a championship, it's Rory. It's a big turn of events. I see a different Tiger Woods from the one who relished in his ability to intimidate."