Ryder Cup: One year after originally scheduled, golf’s biggest rivalry is ready to tee off

Delayed a 12 months as a result of coronavirus pandemic, the event might be composed of its ordinary foursome, fourball and singles format in entrance of a partisan US crowd hoping their gamers can return the trophy to American soil after Europe final gained in 2018 in France.

US captain Steve Stricker and Europe captain Pádraig Harrington have chosen robust sides, stocked to the brim with main winners and present and former world No. 1’s and even an Olympic gold medalist.

So three years after “Moliwood” — the pairing of Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood, which took golf by storm and led to one of many sport’s most viral movies with the 2 of them in mattress with the trophy — who would be the competitors’s subsequent escape participant?

Will Group USA reclaim the trophy or can Europe ensure will probably be becoming a member of them on the flight again over the Atlantic?

A view of the Ryder Cup Trophy at Whistling Straits Golf Course.

Meet the groups

For the house staff, Stricker had virtually a humiliation of riches to pick from when it got here time to make his picks.

Collin Morikawa, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas and Patrick Cantlay all mechanically certified based mostly on factors earned from performances over the previous two years.

That is 10 main titles and three FedExCup titles between the six of them.

Along with these, Stricker chosen Jordan Spieth, Xander Schauffele, Harris English, Scottie Scheffler, Daniel Berger and Tony Finau.

That is a further three majors, 26 PGA Tour victories and one Olympic gold medal so as to add to the staff.

The largest title to overlook out for Group USA was Patrick Reed, the 2018 Masters winner, which was a “very tough name,” in accordance with Stricker.

However discovering the steadiness between rookies and veterans and gamers that match the Whistling Straits course was paramount for Stricker and his assistant captains.

“We need to the perfect gamers to carry out right here at Whistling Straits, and these six guys that we picked, we really feel like match Whistling Straits to a T,” he instructed the media.

“Now we have performed some evaluation of these rookies since 2008, and US rookies are a 40-29-17 file in Ryder Cup. So rookies fare very properly in such a kind, and we’re excited to have these rookies. A few of them aren’t actually rookies. They’ve performed in previous Presidents Cup groups. A few of these guys have match play competitors underneath their belt as properly and different occasions that they performed.”

There may be additionally the matter of rivalries effervescent contained in the US staff, most notably the frosty relationship between Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau.

There may be little love misplaced between the pair with their minor spats typically spilling over onto social media. The second Koepka rolled his eyes when DeChambeau walked behind him at this 12 months’s PGA Championship maybe completely sums up their strained relationship.

However each have beforehand stated their rivalry is sweet for golf and Stricker doesn’t anticipate it being an issue throughout the Ryder Cup.

“It is a non-issue, actually, for me and the staff. We received collectively a couple of weeks in the past, the six of us and I’ve had conversations with them each,” Stricker stated. “They’ve assured me it is not going to be a problem. I’ve no worries by any means.”

“Will we pair them collectively? I do not suppose so at this level however issues might change. Might all the time occur. However most likely not.

“However once more, I had a dinner; all of them confirmed up. We had nice dialog, nice talks. So I am not seeing it as a problem in any respect and they’re utterly on board.”

Stricker (left) and Harrington (right) pose with the Ryder Cup.

A European benefit?

For the European staff, Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood, Paul Casey, Rory McIlroy, Viktor Hovland, Tyrrell Hatton, Lee Westwood, Matt Fitzpatrick and Bernd Wiesberger all earned automated qualification based mostly on the world and European factors lists.

Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia and Shane Lowry have been chosen by Harrington as he accomplished his 12-man staff to tackle Stricker and the People.

“I am actually pleased with my staff,” Harrington stated throughout the announcement. “It is an awesome staff for foursomes and fourball play, loads of good ball-strikers and it is a staff going to Whistling Straits that’s well-suited to the golf course. It is a robust, well-rounded and really balanced staff.”

Whistling Straits is a course that harks again to golf’s British and Irish heritage.

Primarily based on the shore of Lake Michigan, the course is “outlined by the open, rugged and windswept terrain,” the course’s web site says.

Designed by legendary golf course designers Pete and Alice Dye, it gives “throwbacks to the uncooked freshness of Eire.”

In addition to the US Senior Open, the course has hosted the PGA Championship on three events over the past 17 years. On every event, it was gained by a non-American: Fiji’s Vijay Singh (2004), Germany’s Martin Kaymer (2010) and Australia’s Jason Day (2015).

Might the challenges the course gives up — with robust winds and unforgiving tough — be one which the European staff are extra accustomed to going through and subsequently extra ready to beat?

Even Stricker referred to as the course a “large check” for his gamers, however he believes he is picked the correct ones for the job.

“You may get some large winds right here or breezes off Lake Michigan, and it will be a problem for all the blokes and there is birdies to be made on the market however there’s additionally hazard that lurks round each nook. I feel it will be an amazing place to have this occasion.”

A view from 17th hole of Whistling Straits Golf Course.

Won’t have been right here

For some, their {golfing} careers won’t have taken off if it wasn’t for the Ryder Cup.

For world no. 1 Jon Rahm, the 1997 Ryder Cup held in his house nation of Spain was the introduction to golf his father and, by proxy, he had.

Captained by legendary Spanish golfer Seve Ballesteros, the European staff retained the trophy on the Valderrama Golf Membership within the resort of Sotogrande in Spain.

Rahm’s father and his pals traveled to the course to look at Europe win by a slender 14.5-13.5 margin and returned with a want to strive the sport for themselves.

“They thought it was a very cool ambiance, very distinctive occasion in sport, and after they received again house they stated: ‘Oh, let’s do this,'” Rahm instructed CNN Sport’s Alex Thomas.

Team Europe celebrate after winning the 2018 Ryder Cup.

“And that is how my dad received into golf. So I assume due to the Ryder Cup and Seve and loads of different individuals in Spain is why my household is enjoying off, why I am right here.”

Along with his maiden main victory underneath his belt and sitting atop golf’s rankings, Rahm is aiming for a extra constructive consequence than he registered on the 2018 Ryder Cup, profitable solely one among his three matches.

Will it’s the celebs and stripes of the US or the darkish blue of Europe which drapes the Ryder Cup? Will the star-studded US staff have the ability to shine or will Europe’s staff spirit as soon as once more be decisive?

One factor is for sure: the European staff must take care of a bear-pit of an environment in Wisconsin if they’ve any hopes of retaining the well-known trophy.

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