After an exhilarating Solheim Cup at Finca Cortesin final weekend, the battle now strikes from Spain to Italy for the largest prize in crew golf: The Ryder Cup.
Following Europe’s girls recording an historic three-peat over the USA in Andalusia final weekend, Rome’s glamourous Marco Simone Golf and Nation Membership hosts the event’s forty fourth version.
Presently held by the guests after their 19-9 Whistling Straits demolition in 2021, the People haven’t, nevertheless, retained the trophy since means again in 1993.
At The Belfry a full 30 years in the past, Tom Watson edged out Bernard Gallagher’s males 15-13.
Can Zach Johnson, a five-time Ryder Cup common however simply one-time winner change that development or will Luke Donald once more be the toast of the continent?
Donald’s contemporary drive
The second Group USA accomplished their 10-point thumping of Europe final outing in Wisconsin, the battle to regain the trophy they held for many of the earlier decade had begun.
Licking their wounds on the flight house, after the largest defeat in Ryder Cup historical past involving gamers exterior of Nice Britain and Eire, Luke Donald was already being prepped.
A vice-captain to Padraig Harrington away from house two years in the past, 2023 sees Donald – like Suzann Pettersen – take the rightful reins.
The 47-year-old’s report on this event is mighty.
A winner in all 4 editions the Englishman performed in, Donald – major-less however a five-time PGA Tour victor – gained eight of his 11 profession matches, at a heavyweight 77%+ ratio.
Remarkably, Donald is in uncommon firm as captain, who as a participant has not tasted crew defeat; a stat he’s eager to carry onto this week.
European hopes are constructed on a robust backbone of gamers, but in addition a wholesome dose of much-needed contemporary blood.
Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose are again for one more dose of European glory as veterans, while Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton and Matt Fitzpatrick all make their third look.
Viktor Hovland is probably the star of the sphere presently nevertheless, having gained each the BMW and Tour Championship to conclude the season.
It’s the addition of the 4 rookies, Sepp Straka, Ludvig Aberg, Nicolai Hojgaard and Robert MacIntyre that shall be key to house hopes this week.
Aberg particularly has been a late inclusion, contemporary from his win on the European Masters.
The query is, have Europe stumble on the right stability?
Group Europe: Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Robert MacIntyre, Viktor Hovland, Tyrrell Hatton, Matt Fitzpatrick.
Captain’s picks: Tommy Fleetwood, Sepp Straka, Justin Rose, Shane Lowry, Nicolai Hojgaard, Ludvig Aberg.
That want is important because the holders look to proceed to construct a Ryder Cup legacy.
Within the doldrums of crew golf in recent times, the American displaying in their very own again yard 24 months in the past was horrifying.
Seven of that 12 return this yr, with Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Xander Schauffele, Patrick Cantlay, Collin Morikawa and Brooks Koepka all having gained 4 of 5 matches two years in the past.
The latter of the bunch, Koepka, is again to his greatest after knee points, while Thomas, the ultimate captain’s choose shall be an enormous participant as soon as extra – by some means.
The Kentuckian might have had a season to neglect, however his displaying on the Fortinet earlier this month was a lot improved.
Like Europe, Johnson brings 4 rookies to Rome, together with US Open and Open champions, Wyndham Clark and Brian Harman.
If we embody Koepka’s PGA Championship, the US crew have gained three of this season’s 4 majors – Rahm gained the opposite, the Masters.
That, with out even uttering the title of Scottie Scheffler. As soon as once more, their twelve is powerful; maybe, stronger than in 2021.
The one concern for the US is their kind on European soil, noting additionally that many are on the opposite facet of a kind run.
With that mentioned, seven gamers completed T9 or higher within the Tour Championship to Europe’s three. There might not be a repeat scoreline in Rome, however the US crew are bent on proving their high quality and retaining the trophy.
Group USA: Scottie Scheffler, Wyndham Clark, Brian Harman, Patrick Cantlay, Max Homa, Xander Schauffele. Captain’s picks: Brooks Koepka, Jordan Spieth, Collin Morikawa, Sam Burns, Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas.
Europe’s new postman?
As simply the third Ryder Cup since 2004 with out the presence of ‘The Postman’ Ian Poulter, Luke Donald shall be on the lookout for a brand new van driver in Italy.
Tommy Fleetwood may simply be the person to ship.
But it surely wouldn’t be for the primary time, as the person from Southport has develop into a go-to participant for Europe in recent times.
On this, is third Ryder Cup look, Fleetwood boasts the very best win ratio of his seven fellow returning teammates.
“TOMMY, TOMMY FLEETWOOD!!!”
(and repeat)#TeamEurope pic.twitter.com/nLhdTcyYEo
— Ryder Cup Europe (@RyderCupEurope) September 29, 2018
Higher than that of stalwart duo Rose and McIlroy of their sixth and seventh appearances respectively, the Englishman’s 62.5% conversion proportion is spectacular.
Memorably, in his rookie event at Le Golf Nationwide 5 years in the past, Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari lit up Paris, successful all 4 of their foursomes and fourballs collectively – regardless of shedding to Tony Finau within the singles.
Domestically, Fleetwood has six top-10 finishes in his final eight PGA Tour occasions, and completed sixth behind Hovland, Rahm and Hatton at Wentworth earlier this month.
As a lot as ‘Moliwood’ delighted house followers in 2018, this yr, Fleetwood can once more convey the ache to the People.
Certainly, as a 7/1 to shot to be High European Factors Scorer with BoyleSports, punters ought to again a participant in-form to even be High Factors Scorer e/w at 14/1 with Betfred.
The forty fourth Ryder Cup begins on Friday at Marco Simone Golf and Nation Membership, Rome, Italy.