The 43rd Ryder Cup is poised to be one for the ages

Ryder Cup Captains

The 43rd Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits Golf Course is poised to be a great battle between the American and European teams.

Padraig Harrington, the captain of the European side, had plenty of great players to choose from for his captain’s picks. After much deliberation he picked Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia and Shane Lowry with the world no.44, Justin Rose, narrowly missing out on selection.

Ian Poulter has been in magnificent form recently and, according to captain Harrington, possibly some of the best form of his life. ‘The postman’ as he is called has delivered many times at the Ryder Cup and will surely deliver once again.

Poulter made his debut in the 2004 Ryder Cup at the South Course of Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Township, Michigan where he collected one point in the singles beating Chris Riley 3&2.

He has played in five other Ryder Cups since, in 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2018, and boasts a phenomenal overall record of 14-6-2 (14 wins, 6 losses and 2 halves).

Ian Poulter celebrates after chipping in at Gleneagles in 2016

Sergio Garcia has amassed the most points by any player in Ryder Cup history with a total of 25.5. His performance in the event is undeniable with a stellar overall record of 22-12-7.

Garcia played his first Ryder Cup in 1999 and has been a part of six victorious teams.

Sergio Garcia and Graeme McDowell embrace after winning at Celtic Manor Resort in 2010

Shane Lowry, the 2019 Open Championship winner, is no stranger to links golf and Whistling Straits should suit his game to a tee. Harrington stated in an interview with Nick Dougherty earlier this week that Lowry delivers on the big stage and said that was a big part of the reason he put his faith in him as a captain’s pick.

Rory McIlroy (left) and Shane Lowry (right) in a practice round at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

The vice-captains for Europe are Luke Donald, Robert Karlsson, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell and Henrik Stenson. With a depth of Ryder Cup experience and an understanding of how to perform in pressure situations, they will be a great support for Harrington as Europe try to capture their twelfth victory since 1979 (when it became a contest between USA and Europe).

Kaymer won the US PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in 2010 so he knows how to play well on the course and will be able to provide great insight for the European team.

Martin Kaymer holing the putt that clinched the ‘Miracle at Medinah

These are the players that will fight it out for team Europe over the weekend:

Paul Casey (Competed four times in 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2018 winning nine out of twelve matches)

Matthew Fitzpatrick (Competed in 2016 at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Minnesota losing both matches he played)

Tommy Fleetwood (Competed in 2018 at Le Golf National and has a 4-1-0 record)

Sergio Garcia (Captain’s pick, this is his 10th Ryder Cup appearance)

Tyrrell Hatton (Competed in 2018 at Le Golf National and has a 1-2-0 overall record)

Viktor Hovland (Rookie)

Shane Lowry (Captain’s pick, rookie)

Rory McIlroy (This is his 6th Ryder Cup appearance)

Ian Poulter (Captain’s pick, this is his 7th Ryder Cup appearance)

Jon Rahm (Competed in 2018 at Le Golf National and has a 1-2-0 overall record)

Lee Westwood (This will be his 11th appearance at a Ryder Cup)

Bernd Wiesberger (Rookie)

Padraig Harrington showing off his team for this week

Steve Stricker had the task of selecting six players to represent the United States side that had not already qualified based on points. He chose Daniel Berger, Harris English, Tony Finau, Xander Schauffele, Scottie Scheffler and Jordan Spieth. 

Despite the American team consisting of six rookies, this is one of the strongest squads in the Ryder Cup’s history. The American side has a cumulative world ranking of 109 and eleven of their twelve players are inside the top 20 players in the world. Only one player, Scottie Scheffler, sits outside the top 20 and he is ranked 21st.

The last time team USA had six rookies was the 2008 Ryder Cup played at Valhalla Golf Club, which they won 16.5-11.5.

By comparison, Europe have four players in the top 20 in the world, including world no.1 Jon Rahm. Bernd Wiesberger is the lowest ranked player at no.63.

World no.5 Xander Schauffele (left) and world no.3 Collin Morikawa (right) in a practice round this week

The vice-captains that will support Stricker are Fred Couples, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Zach Johnson and Davis Love III.

Here are the players representing team USA:

Daniel Berger (Captain’s pick, rookie)

Patrick Cantlay (Rookie)

Bryson DeChambeau (Competed in 2018 and is yet to win a match with an overall record of 0-3-0)

Harris English (Captain’s pick, rookie)

Tony Finau (Captain’s pick, competed in 2018 at Le Golf National and has an overall record of 2-1-0)

Dustin Johnson (This will be his 5th Ryder Cup appearance)

Brooks Koepka (Competed in 2016 and 2018 with an overall record of 4-3-1)

Collin Morikawa (Rookie)

Xander Schauffele (Captain’s pick, rookie)

Scottie Scheffler (Captain’s pick, rookie)

Jordan Spieth (Captain’s pick, this will be his 4th time competing at the Ryder Cup)

Justin Thomas (Competed in the 2018 Ryder Cup and has an overall record of 4-1-0)

The home advantage always plays a big role with the crowd support and this year team USA will have that luxury. However, despite local backing, because Whistling Straits is a links course, it may suit the European team more especially if the winds pick up as expected.

The usual cohesiveness of the European team along with their experience may also put the odds slightly on Europe’s side as the Americans try to find their best combinations that will unlikely include Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau as a partnership.

Brooks Koepka (left) and Bryson DeChambeau (right) all smiles at the 2018 Ryder Cup

The Foursomes commences today at 7:05am (1:05pm BST).

1:05pm – Garcia and Rahm vs Spieth and Thomas

1:21pm – Hovland and Casey vs Johnson and Morikawa

1:37pm – Westwood and Fitzpatrick vs Koepka and Berger

1:53pm – McIlroy and Poulter vs Cantlay and Schauffele

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