It's an disheartening predicament for Americans: rooting for a national team that is not even close to being labeled a favorite.
But that's what is happening this week at the 2014 Ryder Cup when Team USA battles Europe starting Friday in Scotland.
Don't be alarmed.
Upsets can happen.
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That's the beauty of sports.
But to think Americans still dominate the professional golf scene over their European counterparts is absurd.
Europeans occupy four of the top six spots in the latest Official World Golf Rankings, with Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy -- after his Tigeresque season -- leading the charge.
However, having the game's top player doesn't guarantee success. During Tiger Woods' ridiculous run as the undisputed best from 1999-2008, Team USA netted just two Ryder Cup trophies. Coincidentally, they happened in 1999 with the heroic comeback at Brookline and in 2008, when Bradenton resident Paul Azinger captained the squad at Valhalla.
The key, though, is the Europeans aren't reliant on one special player. For all of McIlroy's success this past season, when he won the British Open and PGA Championship, Team Europe features the one ingredient needed for success in match play: a no-fear attitude.
Continental Europeans were admitted onto the Ryder Cup team in the late 1970s in an effort to make the matches more competitive as Team USA had surged light years ahead of the Great Britain & Ireland squad at that point.
And since Europe captured its first Ryder Cup in 1985, with Manatee County resident Tony Jacklin captaining that pivotal victory, the Europeans have shined with a 9-4-1 mark.
The most puzzling number in the almost-30-year European reign in the event is how poor Team USA has done away from home soil.
Team USA hasn't won the Ryder Cup on European soil since 1993.
Don't expect that to change this weekend.
The 12-member American team, led by captain Tom Watson, features a combined 45-52-19 record in matches. Jim Furyk, the highest-ranked American at No. 4 in the world, sports a horrific 9-17-4 mark, and the team's other elder statesman, Phil Mickelson, isn't much better with a 14-18-6 record in nine Ryder Cups.
There also are three rookies on this year's team: Jimmy Walker, Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed.
And don't forget the biggest shortcoming. The United States has garnered just 46 1/2 points in fourball matches, while Europe has mustered 65 1/2 points since 1985.
Fourball is known by its more popular name, better or best ball, where a two-person team plays its ball out, and the lowest score by one of the players counts as the team score for that hole.
The prevailing thought has always been Europeans thrive with that format as well as in the foursomes (alternate-shot) format.
The proof is staggering, and the reason appears rooted in Europeans playing a lot more games in those formats all the way down to the club level, while Americans are geared toward playing stroke play rounds as individuals.
Until that changes, it seems like an uphill fight in the Ryder Cup is going to be the norm for Team USA.
And this week's event should be no different.
The only question is whether Team Europe will leave any glimmering hope when Sunday's singles session starts.
Jason Dill, sports reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7017. Follow him on Twitter @Jason__Dill.