Ryder Cup preview and best bets

September 26, 2023 03:20 PM

The Ryder Cup

Last weekend, the ladies of Team USA and Team Europe battled to a 14-14 tie with the European team retaining the Solheim Cup in Malaga, Spain. This week, the Europeans will attempt to regain the Ryder Cup after enduring a 19-9 thrashing two years ago at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin. The 2021 Ryder Cup looked to be a turning of the tide for Team USA as the Americans had a plethora of young talent plus a multitude of major champions in their primes, while the Europeans had a few key core pieces but also a fair number of aging players that indicated a changing of the guard was looming.

Enter 2023 and with the LIV Golf Tour affecting the European side a bit more than the American side, Team USA was as high as a -200 favorite earlier this summer. However, some of Team USA's best do not exactly come in on peak form (including World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler) and the Europeans have three of the top four in the OWGR (Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Viktor Hovland). Now Team USA is only a slight favorite at -115 to win the Ryder Cup outright and -155 to lift the trophy (retain the Cup in the event of a tie just like the European women did last week) at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome, Italy.

Team USA is also trying to win a Ryder Cup on European soil for the first time in 30 years as the Americans have been shut out overseas since the 1993 team captained by Tom Watson won at The Belfry in England.

The Event

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 the English businessman Samuel Ryder. 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 PGA of Europe (20%).

The Format

The Ryder Cup is a match-play event, with each match worth one point. The competition format will be as follows:

Day 1 (Friday): 4 foursome (alternate shot) matches and 4 fourball (better ball) matches

Day 2 (Saturday): 4 foursome matches and 4 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 a total of 28 points available, 14 1/2 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.

The Course

​Marco Simone Golf & Country Club (also known as Golf Marco Simone) is 10 miles from the center of Rome and features both an 18-hole championship course and a nine-hole resort course. The golf club was named after the castle of Marco Simone. The castle was a Roman fortified manor farm. The tower was built approximately in the year 1000 and later in the Middle Ages, additional buildings were built around it. By 1989 the golf course had been designed and built by Jim Fazio and David Mezzacane.

At 7,255 yards for a par-71, the track features three par-5s and four par-3s. The closing hole is the longest on the course at 626 yards, however organizers may choose to adjust the tee box to create more of a risk/reward finish to any given round and the par-4s are varied with four measuring less than 400 yards, while another four top 475 yards.

Marco Simone is set amongst mountainous, rolling terrain with water hazards abound and thick native grasses that frame narrow Pure Dynasty Paspalum fairways. This is not the typical tree-lined course in Italy, but there is plenty of water on the layout. The greens have also been re-laid with Pure Distinction Bentgrass and players will be dealing with tricky and contoured putting surfaces.

As expected, the European team is growing out the tall Fescue rough at Marco Simone with the hope that its difficulty will present an advantage for their team. The goal is to prepare the course to punish inaccuracy with tight fairways lined with thick rough. Slow greens are also expected in comparison to what the American players are accustomed to on the PGA Tour.

Ryder Cup Recent History

2021: U.S. 19-9 at Whistling Straits (Wisconsin)

2018: Europe 17 1⁄2-10 1⁄2 at Le Golf National (France)

2016: U.S. 17-11 at Hazeltine (Minnesota)

2014: Europe 16 1⁄2-11 1⁄2 at Gleneagles (Scotland)

2012: Europe 14 1⁄2-13 1⁄2 at Medinah (Illinois)

2010: Europe 14 1⁄2-13 1⁄2 at Celtic Manor (Wales)

2008: U.S. 16 1⁄2-11 1⁄2 at Valhalla (Kentucky)

2006: Europe 18 1⁄2-9 1⁄2 at K Club (Ireland)

2004: Europe 18 1⁄2-9 1⁄2 at Oakland Hills (Michigan)

2002: Europe 15 1⁄2-12 1⁄2 at The Belfry (England)

1999: U.S. 14 1⁄2-13 1⁄2 at The Country Club (Massachusetts)

1997: Europe 14 1⁄2-13 1⁄2 at Valderrama (Spain)

1995: Europe 14 1⁄2-13 1⁄2 at Oak Hill (New York)

1993 U.S. 15-13 at The Belfry (England)

Trends and Stats

Here are the overall Ryder Cup records since 1979 when the event went to a USA vs. Europe format.

Ryder Cups won: Europe 11-9 USA (1 tied)

Total points won: Europe 295.5-292.5 USA

Total matches won: Europe 254-247 USA (87 halves)

Total sessions won: Europe 44-42 USA (19 ties)

Singles records

The Americans won nine of the 11 singles sessions from 1979 to 1999 but only four of the last 10, which means Europe has narrowed these deficits:

Singles points won: Europe 119-133 USA (1 tied)

Singles sessions won: Europe 8-13 USA

Singles matches won: Europe 100-114 USA (38 halves)


In contrast, the Europeans have been better at foursomes and fourball.

Foursomes matches won: Europe 77-73 USA (18 ties)

Foursomes sessions won: Europe 17-13 USA (12 ties)

Foursomes points won: Europe 86-82 USA

Fourball matches won: Europe 77-64 USA (27 ties)

Fourball sessions won: Europe 19-16 USA (7 ties)

Fourball points won: Europe 90.5-77.5 USA

The Teams


Captain: Luke Donald (England)

Vice Captains: Thomas Bjørn (Sweden), Nicolas Colsaerts (Belgium), Edoardo Molinari (Italy), Francesco Molinari (Italy), José María Olazábal (Spain)

Donald was a member of four European Ryder Cup teams in 2004, 2006, 2010 and 2012. All of those teams were victorious, and Donald amassed a 10-4-1 record as a player in the Ryder Cup. He was in line to be a future Ryder Cup captain, but his opportunity came sooner than he would have thought when Henrik Stenson, the initial 2023 Ryder Cup captain, was removed from his role in July 2022 because he joined LIV Golf.

Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland)

Ryder Cup record (Win-Loss-Tie): 12-12-4

Foursomes: 5-5-1

Fourball: 4-5-2

Singles: 3-2-1

World Ranking: 2nd

McIlroy makes his seventh straight Ryder Cup appearance after debuting on the winning team at Celtic Manor in 2010. He has subsequently played on winning teams in 2012, 2014 and 2018.

He has played 28 of 30 possible matches during his Ryder Cup appearances, with 2021 being the first time since 2010 that he didn’t play all five. As you’d expect, he has a consistent record in each match type and in recent years has taken on the important role of guiding some of the newer stars in the side, which may well include Swedish sensation Ludvig Aberg this year.

McIlroy has had an excellent year and comes into this week with just one finish outside the top 10 in his previous 12 starts. He will be looking to gain some redemption after Europe’s embarrassing defeat two years ago when he earned only one total point (a singles win over Xander Schauffele) in four matches.

Jon Rahm (Spain)

Ryder Cup record: 4-3-1

Foursomes: 2-0-0

Fourball: 1-2-1

Singles: 1-1-0

World Ranking: 3rd

Rahm makes his third straight Ryder Cup appearance after making a winning debut at Le Golf National in 2018.

The Spaniard won only one point from a possible three there (a singles victory over Tiger Woods) but was more successful in 2021, winning 3 1/2 points from a possible five and was the highest European scorer for his side that was soundly defeated at Whistling Straits. His three pairs victories were with Sergio Garcia, who is not here, so he will have a new partner.

That should be no problem for this year’s Masters champ who was looking in good ball-striking form when we last saw him finishing fourth at Wentworth. He seems primed for another positive Ryder Cup showing.

Robert MacIntyre (Scotland)

Ryder Cup record: Rookie

World Ranking: 55th

MacIntyre is the first of Team Europe’s four rookies this year and earned his place on the team by finishing third on the European Points List.

Though making his Ryder Cup debut this week, he has plenty of team golf experience. He played well on the losing Walker Cup side as an amateur in 2017, with a 6-and-4 victory over Cameron Champ a highlight. He also took part in the Hero Cup this year — a Ryder Cup-style event featuring Great Britain and Ireland vs. Continental Europe — winning three of his four matches.

He has struggled to find form of late since being denied at his home Scottish Open by McIlroy in July. Nevertheless, MacIntyre has a victory at Marco Simone, winning the 2022 Italian Open in a playoff over Matt Fitzpatrick.

Viktor Hovland (Norway)

Ryder Cup record: 0-3-2

Foursomes: 0-2-0

Fourball: 0-1-1

Singles: 0-0-1

World Ranking: 4th

Hovland has been one of the hottest players on the planet in recent months and will be hoping for much better luck in his second Ryder Cup appearance after a winless debut at Whistling Straits two years ago despite playing all five matches.

He has plenty of team golf experience from his amateur years and we can find evidence of his match-play credentials from that period of his career, too, as the 2018 winner of the U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach.

Hovland recorded the then-biggest win of his career in the Memorial Tournament at the start of June and finished this past PGA Tour season as the FedExCup champion following back-to-back victories at the BMW Championship and Tour Championship. He’s hitting the ball as well as anyone in the world right now and has improved dramatically with his short game; all of which should lead to him being a star performer in Italy.

Tyrrell Hatton (England)

Ryder Cup record: 2-4-1

Foursomes: 0-1-0

Fourball: 2-1-1

Singles: 0-2-0

World Ranking: 11th

Hatton is another player making his third straight appearance after debuting at Le Golf National in 2018.

He won his only point there in a fourball match partnered with Paul Casey and again saw his only win in 2021 come in that format, alongside Shane Lowry. Hatton also lost both singles matches and his solo foursomes match across those two appearances.

Hatton will feel he has a point to prove this week and with his game looking in excellent shape pretty much all year — evidenced by a second-place finish last time out at Wentworth — he looks in a positive enough place to make his mark in Italy.

Matt Fitzpatrick (England)

Ryder Cup record: 0-5-0

Foursomes: 0-3-0

Fourball: 0-0-0

Singles: 0-2-0

World Ranking: 8th

As much as Hatton has to prove in the Ryder Cup, a winless Fitzpatrick has even more.

Last year’s U.S. Open winner is making his third Ryder Cup appearance after debuting in 2016 and returning in 2021; both times playing on the losing side.

Fitzpatrick is a more complete golfer now, though, as a major champion and having won earlier this year at the RBC Heritage in a playoff over Jordan Spieth.

He has plenty of promising experience that should signal a player who has the mettle to perform in this event. He was a commanding winner of the U.S. Amateur in 2013; the same year he won three of four matches at the Walker Cup.

Fitzpatrick’s recent form has been good with two top-3s in his last four starts and he was runner-up on this course last year to MacIntyre.

Tommy Fleetwood (England)

Ryder Cup record: 4-2-2

Foursomes: 2-0-0

Fourball: 2-1-1

Singles: 0-1-1

World Ranking: 14th

Fleetwood makes it three Ryder Cup appearances in a row, having debuted in 2018 and is the first of Donald’s six captains picks this week.

Who can forget the sensational Moliwood pairing of that 2018 edition in Paris, as he and Francesco Molinari won all four of their foursomes/fourball matches, carrying Europe to victory.

Things didn’t go quite as well two years ago, though, as he played just three matches and failed to record a win. He did finish all-square twice.

Fleetwood finished second in the 2021 Italian Open here and is playing his best golf since 2019, which has enabled him to record seven top-10s in his nine most recent starts.

Sepp Straka (Austria)

Ryder Cup record: Rookie

World Ranking: 22nd

Straka, another captain’s pick, makes his debut as the second Austrian to play the Ryder Cup after Bernd Wiesberger made his debut in 2021.

He has little in the way of overwhelming appearances in similar events or match-play events. Though he did play the Hero Cup at the start of this year, winning two of his four matches.

Straka’s results can be a little erratic, but he’s a two-time PGA Tour winner after his win at the John Deere Classic, which he immediately followed with an excellent runner-up finish in the British Open. He’s a good putter and has hit the ball just about as well as ever this year, and he should be the first Austrian to earn a point in the Ryder Cup as Wiesberger went 0-3 at Whistling Straits.

Justin Rose (England)

Ryder Cup record: 13-8-2

Foursomes: 7-2-1

Fourball: 4-4-0

Singles: 2-2-1

World Ranking: 36th

Rose returns to the Ryder Cup fold as the third captain’s pick, after missing out for the first time since 2010 at Whistling Straits two years ago. This will be his sixth appearance after making his debut in 2008 and playing on the winning sides in 2012, 2014 and 2018.

He has the best overall record on this year's team courtesy of winning three of four matches in 2008 and then repeating that feat at Medinah in 2012. His best performance was at Gleneagles in 2014 when he went unbeaten (3-0-2).

He’s never taken less than two points in any appearance and performs well across the format. Rose has been at his best in the foursomes with a 7-2-1 record.

Rose is playing his best golf in a few years and returned to the winner’s circle at Pebble Beach earlier in the year. He was the last of the old guard for Team Europe that elected to not leave for LIV Golf largely because he wanted to make another Ryder Cup team. As the only player on the roster over 40, his leadership and experience will be relied upon heavily this week.

Shane Lowry (Ireland)

Ryder Cup record: 1-2-0

Foursomes: 0-0-0

Fourball: 1-1-0

Singles: 0-1-0

World Ranking: 34th

Lowry had a Ryder Cup debut to forget in 2021 but now has some experience and will be looking to make more of an impact this week.

His debut saw him win one of his three matches: a narrow fourball victory alongside Tyrrell Hatton. His record in this style of event didn’t improve much in the Hero Cup at the start of this year as he lost all four of his matches.

Lowry has had a solid 2023 with 11 top-20s in 24 starts but not many events where he was really in contention to win. The usual top-notch short game has gone away this season as he produced the worst scrambling and around-the-green stats of his career in 2023.

Ludvig Aberg (Sweden)

Ryder Cup record: Rookie

World Ranking: 80th

The former world No. 1 amateur has taken the professional game by storm since turning pro in June and if he wasn’t already in the team after his subsequent impressive performances on the PGA Tour (including one in Detroit while playing with captain Luke Donald), his win at Crans in the European Masters two starts ago certainly sealed the deal.

The big (6-3), smooth-swinging Swede has looked masterful with the driver, combining immense power with accuracy and also has a tidy short game, while the irons have started to show some improvement.

However, he reminded us of his youth at Wentworth two weeks ago, suffering a final-round collapse; going from an overnight two-shot lead to a finish of 10th.

Aberg has plenty of experience in team golf, winning each of his four matches in the 2020 Arnold Palmer Cup.

Nicolai Hojgaard (Denmark)

Ryder Cup record: Rookie

World Ranking: 81st

The final place on the side seemed like a straight battle between Adrian Meronk and Hojgaard, and the latter got the nod to make his Ryder Cup debut in Rome ahead of Meronk, who won the Italian Open on this course earlier in May.

The Dane is currently enjoying the best statistical year of his career as he spent the middle part of 2023 on the PGA Tour. He took advantage when second in the Corales Puntacana and he was an excellent sixth in a strong field in the Scottish Open. Upon returning to Europe, he has recorded two top-5s in three starts.

Hojgaard has the proven ball-striking game that led him to victory in the first edition of the Italian Open here in 2021 and finished inside the top five again this past May.

Nicolai went unbeaten at the Hero Cup in January, winning three and halving one of his four matches while partnered with vice-captain Francesco Molinari.


Captain: Zach Johnson

Vice Captains: Stewart Cink, Fred Couples, Jim Furyk, Davis Love III, Steve Stricker

Johnson, a two-time major champion, has been a member of five Ryder Cup teams (2006, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016) but has not done much winning outside of his 8-7-2 overall match record. The 2016 team at Hazeltine was the only winner for Zach in his Ryder Cup career. The 2023 team provides an opportunity for him to rectify that.

Scottie Scheffler

Ryder Cup record: 2-0-1

Foursomes: 0-0-0

Fourball: 1-0-1

Singles: 1-0-0

World Ranking: 1st

Scheffler, the world No. 1, returns for his second Ryder Cup appearance after playing as a rookie on the winning side in 2021.

He went undefeated at Whistling Straits, winning a fourball and his singles match over Jon Rahm while tying another fourball contest. However, he had a poor time last year in the Presidents Cup, gaining just a half-point in four matches.

Scheffler is an excellent match player, though, as evidenced by him reaching the semifinal stage of the last three WGC Match Play events — including a win in 2022.

Scheffler has comfortably been the strongest tee-to-green player in the world this year, putting up some of the best numbers of all time, which have helped him manage 12 top-5s in 20 starts and a finish no worse than 31st all year. The putter, though, kept him at the two-win mark in 2023 when he probably should have garnered four or five victories at least.

Expect Scheffler to be more of a part of the foursomes portion this time around with his buddy Sam Burns doing most of the heavy lifting on the greens.

Wyndham Clark

Ryder Cup record: Rookie

World Ranking: 10th

Clark is the first of four rookies on the U.S. team. He finished second on the U.S. points list thanks to two massive victories — the U.S. Open and the Wells Fargo Championship — over a six-week span in May/June.

Clark has little match-play and team golf experience, though. He did play in the 2014 Palmer Cup as an amateur but went winless, halving two and losing two of his four matches. However, he has played well in the Zurich Classic the last two years, finishing in the top 10 both times, including third this year.

Clark has historically been an excellent putter. He could be a potential partner for Rickie Fowler and has been practicing in the four-man pod with Brooks Koepka and Brian Harman.

Brian Harman

Ryder Cup record: Rookie

World Ranking: 9th

Harman is the second rookie on the U.S. side after finishing third on the points list. He was not expected to be part of this team earlier this year. Then again, he was not expected to be the reigning Champion Golfer of the Year courtesy of winning the British Open this summer.

Although this is Harman's first Ryder Cup, he is not a greenhorn when it comes to international team competition. He played on both winning U.S. teams in the 2005 and 2009 Walker Cups, winning five of a possible eight points and was even more impressive in the 2007 Palmer Cup, winning each of his three matches.

Harman also has a solid record in the WGC Match Play, reaching the quarters in 2021. He might be the best putter on this U.S. side. We will likely see him partnered with Brooks Koepka and perhaps Clark and Rickie Fowler at some point.

Patrick Cantlay

Ryder Cup record: 3-0-1

Foursomes: 2-0-0

Fourball: 0-0-1

Singles: 1-0-0

World Ranking: 5th

Cantlay was impressive in his Ryder Cup debut in 2021, winning 3 1/2 points from a possible four and forming a particularly strong partnership with Xander Schauffele in foursomes (winning both of their matches). They have established themselves as the lead duo for the U.S. team.

He has one of the most impressive records in the Presidents Cup in recent years, winning six of nine matches (again regularly paired with Schauffele) and has never lost in singles in either event.

Despite being winless, Cantlay has had a strong 2023, with eight top-5s and just two missed cuts in 20 starts and is hitting the ball better than ever. He has one of the strongest profiles for the event, with the only negative being that his usually trusty putter has been a little underwhelming over recent months as he enters the event ranked 16th of the 24 players on the greens since the end of June.

Max Homa

Ryder Cup record: Rookie

World Ranking: 7th

Homa is the third rookie for Team USA. However, he has ascended into the game's elite, now ranking in the OWGR Top 10.

He made an impressive debut in the Presidents Cup last year, winning all four of his matches and took down Tom Kim in singles. He was also part of the winning U.S. team in the 2013 Walker Cup, contributing two points from the three matches he played.

Homa has put up five top-10 finishes in a row and with his game looking in form across the board, he has big expectations to perform better than your average Ryder Cup rookie. Expect him to be paired with his fellow Cal Golden Bear Collin Morikawa, especially in foursomes.

Xander Schauffele

Ryder Cup record: 3-1-0

Foursomes: 2-0-0

Fourball: 1-0-0

Singles: 0-1-0

World Ranking: 6th

Schauffele makes his second Ryder Cup appearance after debuting on the 2021 winning side.

His strong relationship with Patrick Cantlay was mentioned above, including recent Presidents Cups. Across those three appearances, he’s won two of three singles matches with his only defeat coming against Rory McIlroy in 2021.

Schauffele has been consistently excellent this year, missing zero cuts in 20 starts and recording ten top-10s. He’s a player with no real weaknesses and his recent play has been as good as it has been all year as he ranks fourth in strokes-gained total over the last four months. The pairing of him and Cantlay should lead Team USA yet again.

Brooks Koepka

Ryder Cup record: 6-5-1

Foursomes: 2-2-0

Fourball: 2-3-0

Singles: 2-0-1

World Ranking: 15th

Koepka is one of the more experienced players in the U.S. side, getting ready for his fourth Ryder Cup appearance this week and is the first of Johnson’s six captain’s picks.

He made an impressive debut in the event in 2016, taking three points from a possible four, helping the U.S. regain the trophy. He has not been quite as good in his last two appearances but has yet to be beaten in singles.

Koepka was in superb form when winning the PGA Championship back in May, but it’s hard to gauge where his game is now. He has looked poor in his last two appearances in LIV, finishing 38th of 48 players in both events. However, he has made a career out of being able to prime himself for the big events and a potential pairing with world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler in fourball (Harman in foursomes) should bring out his best.

Jordan Spieth

Ryder Cup record: 8-7-3

Foursomes: 3-2-2

Fourball: 5-2-0

Singles: 0-3-1

World Ranking: 12th

Spieth, despite being just 30, is the most experienced member of this Ryder Cup team and is playing his fifth Ryder Cup.

Spieth debuted on the losing side at Gleneagles in 2014 and performed well alongside Patrick Reed as they took 2 1/2 points from the three matches they played together. He performed well in 2016 and 2018, though, he was one of the weaker U.S. players at Whistling Straits.

As you would expect, he has a good fourball record, with five wins in seven matches and has taken four points from a possible seven in foursomes — where he’ll likely be paired with good friend Justin Thomas again. However, his singles record in this event has been poor, and he has won only one of four singles matches in the Presidents Cup.

Spieth started the year well and was in particularly good form around Augusta time, recording four top-5s in six starts. His form has dipped since then and he’s been a little unreliable over recent months, with the putter and irons looking weaker than usual.

Collin Morikawa

Ryder Cup record: 3-0-1

Foursomes: 2-0-0

Fourball: 1-0-0

Singles: 0-0-1

World Ranking: 19th

Morikawa went unbeaten when making his Ryder Cup debut two years ago and returns this year as the third captain’s pick.

He won three out of three matches when partnered with Dustin Johnson there, then tied his singles match against college rival Viktor Hovland. He’ll have a new partner with DJ absent this year and Cameron Young (who he played with in last year’s Presidents Cup) also not involved. Max Homa is the likely partner, especially in the foursomes.

Morikawa started the year well but suffered a down period after his 10th in the Masters. The ball striking did seem to return to typical peak form toward the latter part of the FedEx Cup Playoffs.

Sam Burns

Ryder Cup record: Rookie

World Ranking: 20th

Burns is the final rookie on the U.S. team and will be hoping for a better debut experience than at the Presidents Cup last year, despite the eventual success of the Americans.

Last fall, Burns took just two halves from five matches and left the event winless, spending much of the week paired with good buddy Scottie Scheffler. He has twice been on winning amateur sides in similar events: at the 2014 Junior Ryder Cup and 2017 Arnold Palmer Cup. His win in the WGC Match Play earlier in the year, with victories over Scottie Scheffler, Patrick Cantlay and Cameron Young, proves that he has the mettle for match play.

His form has been solid since then, with eight top-20s in 15 starts. His putting is the primary reason he made this team as a captain's pick, and it could be a boost for Scheffler in the foursomes.

Rickie Fowler

Ryder Cup record: 3-7-5

Foursomes: 1-3-2

Fourball: 1-2-2

Singles: 1-2-1

World Ranking: 25th

Along with Spieth, Fowler is the only other member of Team USA playing in his fifth Ryder Cup.

Fowler debuted in 2010 at Celtic Manor and played again in 2014, both on losing sides and failed to pick up a win in either appearance, though he did finish all-square in five of the eight matches played over those events.

He was able to rectify that winless record in 2016, winning two of his three matches, but five years ago in France, he won just one of four.

Fowler of course made the team because of his return to form this year, playing his best golf since that last Ryder Cup appearance in 2018, which eventually took him to a first PGA Tour title in four years at the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

Justin Thomas

Ryder Cup record: 6-2-1

Foursomes: 2-2-0

Fourball: 2-0-1

Singles: 2-0-0

World Ranking: 24th

Due to his lackluster 2023, which included missing three of four major championship cuts, posting just one top-5 finish in 19 events and dropping from No. 8 to being out of the Top 25 in the OWGR, there was some contentiousness with Thomas being afforded a captain's pick on this year’s Ryder Cup team.

However, Thomas has been arguably Team USA’s best player in international competition over the last several years. He has played in each of the two previous Ryder Cups, debuting as the best player on the U.S. side in 2018 as they were soundly beaten, picking up four wins in five matches and played well again when they regained the trophy in 2021, taking 2 1/2 of a possible four points.

His Presidents Cup record further highlights his suitability to the event, with 10 wins in 15 matches overall. He was also a top performer on winning Palmer and Walker Cup sides during his amateur days.

For many previous Ryder Cups, Ian Poulter would come in in lousy form on the European side and then would be that team's top point scorer. Thomas loves this event and goes into a different gear here. It would not surprise me if he were one of the team's top performers yet again.


Team USA To Win +100 (BetMGM)

Team Europe has certainly been more active in terms of playing competitively as evident by the entire team's solid showing at Wentworth two weeks ago, and the price movement has been justified. Plus, the Americans have not won on European soil in 30 years.

However, this is also the deepest and most talented team that Team USA has brought over in the past 30 years. Many observers would consider Brian Harman the "weak link" and he's the reigning British Open champion. The Americans are not taking over Brett Wetterich, Scott Verplank, J.J. Henry and Vaughn Taylor here. Seven of the 12 members of this team are major champions, and three others are ranked in the top 7 of the OWGR.

The price has just moved too much to not take Team USA here.

Xander Schauffele +650 Top USA Points Scorer (BetMGM)

Xander Schauffele +1500 Top Overall Points Scorer (Caesars)

Schauffele should play at least four matches, and there is a good chance he will play all five.

He will likely be paired with his friend Patrick Cantlay throughout, but I give Schauffele the edge on the greens of late.

Viktor Hovland +550 Top European Points Scorer (BetMGM)

Hovland has three victories in his last nine worldwide starts and no one in the world is playing better than him right now.

The Norwegian also failed to win a match two years ago at Whistling Straits with an 0-3-2 record. However, he is a different player now and will be more prepared the second time around.

Brian Harman +500 Top USA Rookie Points Scorer (Caesars)

Despite achieving his career milestone at age 36 and being the oldest player on Team USA, Harman is not your typical Ryder Cup rookie.

Since the Match Play moved to Austin, Harman has lost only four of 12 matches. In 2003 he won the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship beating a field of 64 over the weekend in Match Play. He went unbeaten in the 2005 Walker Cup victory when being the youngest ever to play in the event, won 2.5 of four in the 2009 edition and won all four of his games at the 2007 Palmer Cup.

Needless to say, he has plenty of match-play and team golf experience.

Foursomes, fourball, and singles matchups will be posted daily at

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Follow The Money: The Army-Navy game is the only CFB game this weekend. The total sits at 28 and has gone under 16 of the last 17 years with the one over happening because of overtime. Consider the under again Saturday. View more tips.

Greg Peterson: Virginia (-21.5) vs NC Central. View more picks.