If you thought that golf was a sport for individuals, think again.
The Ryder Cup brings together the cream of the crop, with the best American players joining forces to take on Team Europe.
The 43rd edition of the Ryder Cup gets underway on September 24 at the Whistling Straits course in Wisconsin, USA. Team Europe will be taking the trophy with them as they were the victors the last time this tournament was held back in 2018. But can they successfully defend their title?
Here’s nothing quite like the Ryder Cup to bring out the true personalities of the players.
One of the perks of hosting the Ryder Cup is that the home team decides where the contest will be held.
The upshot of that is that the home team tends to have the advantage. This is certainly reflected by bookmakers who have the USA pegged as favourites on home soil, according to the Ryder Cup 2021 golf betting odds.
Their potential win is supported by the fact that, in the prior 42 editions of the Ryder Cup, 27 have been won by the hosts. This demonstrates that there is value to be had in backing the entertainers rather than their guests.
The conditions also contribute as a factor to the success of the hosts. American golf courses are typically tree-lined parklands layouts where ball striking is the key, whereas many of Europe’s editions of the Ryder Cup have been played at links courses – these are typically windy, seaside tracks buffeted by strong winds and that require a very unique skill-set (more common in European players) to thrive.
The odds may be in their favour, but as we’ve seen in the past anything can happen in this competition.
Each Ryder Cup team has 12 players on it, and these earn their place in two different ways.
For Team America, the first half-dozen players are automatic picks based upon their performances on the PGA Tour and in majors. Those who earn the most points in qualifying events are locked in, while the other six players are picked by the captain (in 2021, this will be Steve Stricker).
For the Europeans, the four points leaders on the Race to Dubai ladder are in, as are the top five on the world points list. The remaining three picks belong to the captain, who in this case will be Padraig Harrington.
Ryder Cup Format
The first two days of the Ryder Cup have a pairs format, with foursomes and four-ball on rotation.
The two sides lock horns across three days of action, with four-balls and foursomes the format on the opening two days before day three sees the 12 players on either team taking on a rival in a straight singles match play contest.
A foursome, in match play golf, is where the team of two plays with one ball – they simply take alternate shots. In four-balls, each of the quartets in the match plays their own ball, and the best score on each hole takes the point (or ties it).
As mentioned, day three is pure singles action and can deliver some epic turnarounds, with the most famous of them being the Miracle of Medinah in 2012.
The Ryder Cup is an impassioned, action-packed event in which the competitive juices of the players really start to flow. It makes for unmissable TV.