Dan Box
By Dan Box

The Ryder Cup is back, twelve months later than scheduled, and this year's playing is one of the most hotly-anticipated events in years.

Can Team USA finally click and make the most of their undoubted ability, roared on by the crowds on their home soil? Or will Team Europe once again show the benefits of team chemistry, experience and consistency to upset the odds and win for the fifth time in the last six editions?

The Teams


  • Captain: Steve Stricker

  • Vice Captains: Fred Couples, Jim Furyk, Zach Johnson, Davis Love III, Phil Mickelson

  • Daniel Berger: The Captain's Pick has a win and 8 other top 10s in 2021 so far. Making his Ryder Cup debut, but played in 2017 President's Cup and had a 2-1-0 record.

  • Patrick Cantlay: The FedEx Cup Champion won the PGA Tour's Player of the Year Award and is one of the hottest players in the world at the moment. Making his Ryder Cup debut.

  • Bryson DeChambeau: Finished third in the points ranking after winning the 2020 US Open and 2021 Arnold Palmer Invitational. Failed to register a single point at Le Golf National.

  • Harris English: Ryder Cup rookie who's steady play all year earned him a pick from Stricker, winning twice and finishing in the Top 20 in the FedEx Cup.

  • Tony Finau: Finally broke his drought with victory at The Northern Trust and has had three other runner-up finishes in 2021 alone. Bound to be popular with his fellow teammates and could make a fearsome fourball partner in his second Ryder Cup appearance.

  • Dustin Johnson: The most experienced member of the American team, DJ has not been at the top of his game for much of the year but has the ability to turn it on at any moment. 7-9-0 record in his previous four appearances.

  • Brooks Koepka: Four-time major winner is battling with a wrist injury but should tee it up at Whistling Straits, where his long-hitting and nerveless short game will be needed. Can he and Bryson survive for a week in each other's company?

  • Collin Morikawa: Led the team in qualification points thanks to a win at The Open and WGC-Workday and has the type of game and personality that will make him a popular partner this week. A rookie at 24 years old yet already established as one of the game's biggest stars.

  • Xander Schauffele: Winner of the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics, Schauffele has now proven he can do it on the biggest stage and shouldn't be overawed in his first Ryder Cup appearance.

  • Scottie Scheffler: Perhaps a surprise pick by Steve Stricker, particularly as it meant there was no place for Patrick Reed, but Scheffler has been consistent all year and his easy-going nature should make life easier in the team room. Still waiting for first PGA Tour win.

  • Jordan Spieth: Making his fourth Ryder Cup appearance, Spieth has been back at the top of his game at times this year. Won in Texas, finished T3 at The Masters and runner-up at The Open. 7-5-2 overall record.

  • Justin Thomas: One of the only bright sparks at the 2018 Ryder Cup as he went 4-1-0 and took down Rory McIlroy in the singles, Thomas will be one of Stricker's key men and they'll need him to deliver if they want to win.


  • Captain: Padraig Harrington

  • Vice-Captains: Luke Donald, Robert Karlsson, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell, Henrik Stenson

  • Paul Casey: Made the team as an automatic qualifier and will be making his fifth appearance after another successful season, with a victory in Dubai and nine top tens.

  • Matt Fitzpatrick: Failed to pick up a point at the 2016 edition but has been one of Europe's most consistent golfers since then, and his excellent short game means that he's always a threat in match play situations.

  • Tommy Fleetwood: Made an incredible debut at Le Golf National in 2018 with a 4-1-0 record that saw him forge an unbeatable partnership with Francesco Molinari. Just four top tens in 2021 but still managed to qualify automatically.

  • Sergio Garcia: Europe's leading points scorer with an incredible 25.5 points and will be making his tenth appearance at Whistling Straits.

  • Tyrrell Hatton: Has taken his game to the next level since first appearing in 2018 with four victories on the European Tour and a win at Bay Hill. If he can control his emotions out on the golf course he could prove a tricky man to beat.

  • Viktor Hovland: One of the game's rising stars, Hovland is making his debut here but will be a sought-after partner this week and has an excellent amateur matchplay record.

  • Shane Lowry: The 2019 Open Champion would've been an automatic qualifier had the event been staged in 2020, but instead received a Captain's Pick this time around. The 34 year-old is a Ryder Cup rookie but has a wealth of experience on the game's biggest stages and has had a very consistent summer.

  • Rory McIlroy: Rory already has four Ryder Cup wins at the age of 32 and is making his sixth appearance here, where he'll be expected to help spearhead the European charge. Has a 11-9-4 record overall, and has endured plenty of memorable battles with the likes of Patrick Reed and Justin Thomas over the years.

  • Ian Poulter: The Postman is back once again! The veteran was always going to get a Captain's Pick thanks to his incredible record in this event, and has played pretty well this year with four top tens. Has a 14-6-2 record at the Ryder Cup and is undefeated in singles.

  • Jon Rahm: The best player in the world this year, by quite some way, is the main man for the European Ryder Cup team. Rahm has been battling illness over the last week or so but come Friday morning, there's no doubt he'll be his usual passionate self. 1-2-0 in 2018 was a little disappointing but he did take down Tiger in the singles.

  • Bernd Wiesberger: The Austrian is one of three rookies in the team, and earned an automatic pick after winning and recording three other top six finishes this season.

  • Lee Westwood: Set to tie Nick Faldo's Europe appearance record this week, Westwood is one of four European players in their 40s and has amassed 23 points since first appearing in 1997. Finished as runner up at both Bay Hill and The Players earlier this year.

The Course

The event is being held this year at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin, and although much of the talk after Europe's win at Le Golf National was that the course was perfectly set up in their favour, the powers-that-be in the US have decided on a venue which takes much of it's inspiration from golf courses in the UK and Ireland.

You may have already seen the course in action over the years as it played host to the 2004, 2010 and 2015 PGA Championships, the last of which was won by Jason Day with a whopping score of 20 under par.

That doesn't mean that Whistling Straits is easy though. Not at all.

It measures at well over 7,500 yards, is exposed to extremely strong winds coming off Lake Michigan, and features well over a thousand bunkers ranging from the size of a table to more than 300 yards on the par 5 fifth.

The Schedule

Day One, Friday 24th September: Four foursome matches and four fourball matches

Day Two, Saturday 25th September: Four foursome matches and four fourball matches

Day Three, Sunday 26th September: 12 singles matches

Look Out For...

Pairing dilemmas for USA

If they had to be honest, I'm not sure any of the players on the US team would want to be paired up with Bryson DeChambeau this week. Not because he isn't a great player, but because his rather peculiar approach to his game may end up being a little tiresome, and because there is just so much noise around him at the moment that it's bound to be a distraction.

Don't be surprised to see him miss both of the foursome sessions as Captain Stricker looks to generate the same kind of team chemistry that seems to come so easily to the Europeans.

The most expensive uniforms EVER...

Team Europe are being outfitted this year by high-end Italian clothing company Loro Piana, which means two things. Firstly, the gear is very smart. Secondly, it's absurdly expensive. Take the waterproof jacket for example...

Ryder Cup 2020 Preview

Nice, isn't it? That will set you back £2,095. Yep, two grand for a waterproof jacket! We'll leave it to the players this time.

Very partisan crowds

As we all know, travel restrictions are still very much in effect when travelling between countries so don't be surprised if there are far fewer European fans than normal this week - although let's hope for a few 'Ole' chants across the three days.

One of the best parts of the Ryder Cup is that first tee atmosphere, with thousands of people crammed into stands above the players' heads, ready to cheer, boo and sing to their heart's content. This year's will be the largest in American Ryder Cup history, ready to rival the scenes at Le Golf National in 2018.


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