The 43rd Ryder Cup, which was postponed from 2020 due to Covid-19, will be played September 24- 26 at Whistling Straits Golf Course along the Wisconsin shoreline on Lake Michigan. The teams are composed of 12 golfers representing the United States and Europe, respectively, with the competition made up of 28 matches in three different formats.
The average spot in the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) for the United States is 9.1
The players compete in four-ball, foursomes, and individual formats, with all of them using match play with a point awarded to the winning team or golfer and half a point given for ties with no playoffs. Four Ball is usually referred to as Best Ball in the United States, with all four golfers playing their own ball and the hole won by the player with the lowest score.
Foursomes is generally known as alternate shot, with two-man teams playing just one ball and taking turns until the ball is put in the hole. The individual matches pit players, on their own, against each other, with the golfer with the lower score awarded a win on a hole.
Since the Ryder Cup is a totally match play event, teams and individuals can choose to concede putts or holes if they choose, which is always a big source of strategy for the players and entertainment for the spectators. There are 28 matches in all, with the United States needing 14 ½ points to win the Cup and Europe needing 14 to retain it after getting it back with a convincing 17 ½ to 10 ½ victory in 2018 at Le Golf National near Paris.
United States is a Big Favorite
Although pairings for the first matches won’t be announced until September 23rd, the United States team is a heavy favorite, with some sites having them with odds as high as -225 and +170 for the European team. The average spot in the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) for the United States is 9.1 while it’s 29.6 for Europe, who after number one Jon Rahm, doesn’t have another player in the rankings until Rory McIlroy in 13th.
In fact, U.S. Vice-Captain Phil Mickelson at 34th is ranked ahead of five of the European players and just behind Lee Westwood, who is at 33rd. The U.S. team is stacked with talent, but since the opposing team was expanded in 1979 to include players from Europe instead of just Great Britain and Ireland, they have only won eight of the last 20 Cups despite playing as favorites the majority of the time.
United States Captain Steve Stricker was able to round out his team with six picks beyond the six who made the squad through automatic qualifying. He only deviated from the Ryder Cup point rankings once, passing over Patrick Reed in 11th in favor of Scottie Scheffler, who was in 14th place.
The U.S. will have six rookies, which might be an advantage for them, with the new players lacking the baggage of losing four of the last five Cup competitions. What they lack in Ryder Cup experience they make for in talent, with the team boasting eight of the top ten players in the OWGR.
For European Captain Padraig Harrington, he caught a break with ten-time Cup veteran Lee Westwood making the team on points, giving him the chance to add successful veterans Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia, and Shane Lowry to his lineup. Harrington will have three rookies joining the team, as well as second-time member and world number one Jon Rahm.