If you’re a golf fan and not excited about this week, sell your clubs and play another sport… it’s the greatest week in golf! The excitement, the rivalry, the drama, the electricity, the unity of continental Europe taking on the United States, it’s a show for all and I cannot wait for the first tee shot!
This year’s rendition sees the European team head to Whistling Straits in Wisconsin, having regained the converted Ryder Cup in Paris at Le Golf National in 2018. With the additional years gap due to Covid only making the 43rd match between the two teams even more anticipated.
Europe to Triumph Stateside
For me, I see the Europeans bringing the cup back to European soil. Both teams are evenly matched when it comes to talent, grit, and horsepower. However, within the teams, I see Europe having the edge when it comes to being a team and coming together. This seemingly has been the case in previous Ryder Cups in years gone by. I think that even more so now with the current US teams divide, you have the ongoing media beef with Brooks and Bryson, the way Patrick Reed has been left out of the team (especially given he’s been the US teams rallying horse recently) and not forgetting the fact half of the team are rookies (Morikawa, Cantlay, Schauffele, English, Berger and Scheffler).
Granted they are big game players and wouldn’t be classed as rookies given you have the Olympic champion (Schauffele), a two-time major winner (Morikawa) and the reigning FedEx Cup champion (Cantlay) labelled ‘Rookies’, but this is the Ryder Cup. Year after year you hear all players once they have experienced it saying, “there is nothing like it!”
So, I think Captain Stricker has a lot of work to do to bring his players together to sing off the same ‘hymn sheet’ so to speak and handle the occasion.
Ryder Cup Test for Euro Rookies
That being said, Team Europe has also got some first timers this time around in Viktor Hovland, Shane Lowry, and Bernd Wiesberger. The interesting thing is, this is the first time 6 of the team (Fleetwood, Hatton, Rahm, Hovland, Lowry and Wiesberger) have played a Ryder Cup on American soil. You would think the pedigree and experience those names have given they are established PGA Tour players it wouldn’t be an issue, but this is again the Ryder Cup!
I think Captain Harrington’s wild card picks took that into consideration especially when choosing Poulter and Garcia. ‘The Postman’ is back to deliver more valuable points and ‘El Niño’, who is now the leading Ryder Cup points holder of all time, is available to further add to that tally. The added inclusion of some other valuable experience in Lee Westwood is huge to have around given his English lion-hearted pride.
Pairings Could Be Crucial
I’m intrigued to see what pairings will be put together for the foursomes and betterball formats, I’d expect Mcilroy to play with Lowry with the Irish golf amateur days connection, perhaps Fleetwood to play with Fitzpatrick (in Foursomes) Hatton with Casey, given they had a good partnership in France, Garcia to nurture a rookie like Hovland or Wiesberger, but who will Poulter be partnered with now that Rose didn’t make the team?
On the American side, I think we will see Speith and Justin Thomas connect again, but looking at the rest of the team I can’t see who else will be paired together… either way we will find out very soon!
It’s poised for a very dramatic match; like most golfing fans, I will be glued! I have no doubts there will be heroes emerge and incredible shots hit.
COME ON TEAM EUROPE!
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