The 43rd Ryder Cup matches will be held this weekend at Whistling Straits in Haven, Wis. Team Europe has won nine of the last 12 Ryder Cups and brings the trophy stateside as the defending champion. Team USA will field its youngest-ever team and arguably its most talented with 10 of its 12 members ranking in the top 13 in the OWGR and including six major champions. The event was supposed to take place last year but was canceled due to COVID-19. Team USA is a -175 favorite on market average to win the Ryder Cup while Team Europe is around 2-1.
The Ryder Cup is a biennial men's golf competition between teams from Europe and the United States. The competition is contested every two years with the venue alternating between courses in the United States and Europe. The Ryder Cup is named after Samuel Ryder, the English businessman who donated the trophy. The event is jointly administered by the PGA of America and Ryder Cup Europe, the latter a joint venture of the PGA European Tour (60%), the PGA of Great Britain and Ireland (20%), and the PGAs of Europe (20%).
The Ryder Cup is a match-play event, with each match worth one point. The competition format will be as follows:
Day 1 (Friday): Four foursome (alternate shot) matches and four fourball (better ball) matches
Day 2 (Saturday): Four foursome matches and four fourball matches
Day 3 (Sunday): 12 singles matches
On the first two days there are four foursome matches and four fourball matches with the home captain choosing which are played in the morning and which in the afternoon.
With 28 points available, 14½ points are required to win the Cup, and 14 points are required for the defending champion to retain the Cup. All matches are played to a maximum of 18 holes.
Whistling Straits was opened in 1998 and designed by Pete and Alice Dye. The track will play as a par-71 of 7,390 yards for the Ryder Cup. Whistling Straits is no stranger to holding major events as it served as the venue for the PGA Championship in 2004, 2010 and 2015 and for the U.S. Senior Open in 2007. The track is owned by the Kohler Company.
The Straits Course replicates the ancient seaside links courses of the United Kingdom and Ireland. Nestled along a two-mile stretch of Lake Michigan, the course has eight holes hugging the lake, a flock of Scottish Blackface sheep, elevation changes of approximately 80 feet and three stone bridges. It has vast rolling greens, deep pot bunkers, grass-topped dunes and winds that sweep in off the lake. Whistling Straits is a coastal-style links course, so there are few large trees or woods on the course. The course is open and exposed to the wind and elements.
On the surface, this course fits the Americans much better than Le Golf National did in 2018, but the elements can be the great equalizer.
Team Europe has won three of the last six Ryder Cups held on American soil. Meanwhile, Team USA has failed to win on European soil since 1993.
Steve Stricker, captain
Ryder Cup appearances: 3
Edgerton-born and Madison resident captain Steve Stricker gets a home game in his native Wisconsin. Stricker served as a vice captain for the last three Ryder Cup teams (2014, 2016 and 2018) in addition to being the winning Presidents Cup captain in 2017. He clearly made his captain's picks with the course in mind, and no one should have more knowledge of this layout. Stricker's vice captains include Jim Furyk, Zach Johnson, Davis Love III, Phil Mickelson and Fred Couples.