Europe will start as favourites in the Ryder Cup this year after some outstanding British performances in the United States this year, captain Colin Montgomerie said last night.
Graeme McDowell won the US Open, Justin Rose has won twice in three weeks on the PGA tour and Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy have also recorded victories.
However, on the eve of the Scottish Open at Loch Lomond, Montgomerie said the status of favourites for the match against the United States in October at Celtic Manor, Wales, brought its own problems.
"There's no question that we will, with the European success this year, go into the Ryder Cup as favourites," Montgomerie said.
"But with that expectation it could be problematic because when you are expected to do something it's the hardest thing to do."
In 2008 at Valhalla in Kentucky, Europe also went into the match as favourites but eventually lost by five points.
"We have to go to this Ryder Cup and prove we are favourites this time," added Montgomerie. "But it's never easy. "We won 18 1/2 to nine 1/2 at Oakland Hills (in 2004) and 11 matches came down to the last hole. We won nine of them. If that had been reversed then the US would have won by a record margin instead of us."
Europe's skipper believes he already has a stronger squad than his counterpart, Corey Pavin, but added that could also cause problems.
"It's a good time for European golf and I'm just honoured to be captain," said the 47-year-old eight-time European number one.
"It's made my job extremely difficult to have to select only three (wild cards) from a potential 20 that could easily cope with the pressures of the Ryder Cup. But it's all good. They are all trying to beat each other. Standards are improving so it's exciting."