The Biennial golfing tournament, the Ryder Cup, which has been delayed by a year, will finally take place at the Whistling Straits course in Wisconsin on the banks of Lake Michigan. Unusually for an American Ryder Cup course, it takes its inspiration from some of the great links courses around the United Kingdom.

Designed by Pete and Alice Dye, the Straits course is a par 72 and has been the home for three US PGA Championship events, in 2004, 2010 and 2015, won by Vijay Singh, Martin Kaymer and Jason Day respectively.

The eagerly anticipated tournament will see two teams of twelve players competing across three days of intense golfing action. The first team to reach 14.5 points out of the 28 available, will win the cup, although if the match is drawn 14-14, then Team Europe will hold onto the trophy as defending holders.

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Remember too that Team USA will have plenty of support from its fans across the United States and if you want to back them to win, or you feel Team Europe could cause an upset and want to have a wager on the outcome, then BetRivers Sportsbook offers an excellent range of golf bets across a number of states where sports betting is legal.

Let’s now take a look at a little history of the Ryder Cup before we take a closer look at this week’s event.

Ryder Cup History

First contested back in 1927, and the brainchild of businessman Samuel Ryder, who donated the trophy for the tournament, the Ryder Cup was originally a contest between golfers from the United States and Great Britain.

In those early years, both teams were generally evenly matched but from the 1950s onwards, the American team usually proved to be much the stronger of the two. Even the addition of players from the Republic of Ireland to form a GB and Ireland team in 1971, didn’t halt the American’s dominance.

With interest in the tournament waning, a change was needed and that came with the team changing to represent all of Europe in 1979, with the likes of Seve Ballesteros, Manuel Pinero and Bernhard Langer starting to emerge across Europe.

America won the first three Ryder Cup competitions against Europe, but the matches were much closer, but in 1985, Team Europe landed their first Ryder Cup win at The Belfry.

Since the team switched from being GB and Ireland to Europe, there have been 20 matches, with Europe winning 11 to America’s 8 with one being tied (although Europe held onto the trophy as defending champions).  Europe have won four of the last five tournaments held since 2010,

In the last event held in America, the United States team won 17-11 in Minnesota at Hazeltine, with Davis Love III captaining the team, however Team Europe regained the trophy in 2018 at Le Golf National in France, when Thomas Bjorn captained the team to a 17.5 to 10.5 victory.

All of which brings us neatly on to the two teams that will be competing in the tournament this week, starting with the hosts.

Ryder Cup Teams

Both teams have different criteria used for their selection and we have outlined what these our in the respective team selection details below.

Team USA

Captain Steve Stricker’s team is made up from the top six players in the Qualifying rankings for the tournament, followed by a further six players which are selected by the team captain.

Qualifiers

  1. Collin Morikawa
  2. Dustin Johnson
  3. Bryson DeChambeau
  4. Brooks Koepka
  5. Justin Thomas
  6. Patrick Cantlay

Captain’s Picks

  1. Tony Finau
  2. Xander Schauffele
  3. Jordan Spieth
  4. Harris English
  5. Daniel Berger
  6. Scottie Scheffler

In addition to these 12 playing members of the team, Steve Stricker also can pick five vice-captains to help him run the team and he announced these as being: Jim Furyk, Zach Johnson, Davis Love III, Phil Mickelson and Fred Couples.

Team USA Factfile

  • Only four members of the United States team are aged 30 or older. Brooks Koepka (31), Tony Finau and Harris English (both 32) and the elder statesman of the team is Dustin Johnson aged 37.
  • Half of the United States teams are rookies in the event. Collin Morikawa, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, Harris English, Daniel Berger and Scottie Scheffler)
  • Their most experienced player is Dustin Johnson who has played in four previous Ryder Cup tournaments.
  • Only Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Brooks Koepka have played in more than one previous Ryder Cup event in the American team.
  • Eight of the top ten players in the world rankings are in the American team (2. Dustin Johnson, 3. Collin Morikawa, 4. Patrick Cantlay, 5. Xander Schauffele, 6. Justin Thomas, 7. Bryson DeChambeau, 9. Tony Finau, 10. Brooks Koepka).
  • The lowest ranked player on the team is Scottie Scheffler who is ranked 21st in the world.

Team Europe

Captain Padraig Harrington’s team consists of four players qualifying from the European points list, five more players qualifying from the Worlds points list while the captain has the final three picks of his choice of players.

European Points List

  1. Jon Rahm (Esp)
  2. Tommy Fleetwood (Eng)
  3. Tyrell Hatton (Eng)
  4. Bernd Wiesberger (Aut)

World Points List

  1. Rory McIlroy (N.Ire)
  2. Viktor Hovland (Nor)
  3. Paul Casey (Eng)
  4. Matthew Fitzpatrick (Eng)
  5. Lee Westwood (Eng)

Captain’s Picks

  1. Shane Lowry (Ire)
  2. Sergio Garcia (Spa)
  3. Ian Poulter (Eng)

Harrington has also named five players as his vice captains for the event. Two Swedes in Robert Karlsson and Henrik Stenson, Englishman Luke Donald, Germany’s Martin Kaymer and Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell.

Team Europe Factfile

  • Lee Westwood (at age 48) is the oldest player on either team and is the oldest player to represent Europe or the GB and Ireland team since Christy O’Connor Snr in 1971.
  • Only one of Team Europe’s team is ranked inside the Top Ten in the world at present (Jon Rahm at Number 1).
  • Four of Team Europe’s players are ranked inside the World Top 20. Rahm, plus 14. Viktor Hovland, 15. Rory McIlroy and 19. Tyrell Hatton.
  • The lowest ranked player on the team is Austrian Bernd Wiesberger at 63rd.
  • Team Europe has just three rookies on the team, Shane Lowry, Bernd Wiesberger and Viktor Hovland.
  • Europe also has five players that have played in four or more Ryder Cup competitions (Casey with 4, McIlroy with 5, Poulter with 6, Garcia with 9 and Westwood with 10). Rahm, Fleetwood, Hatton and Fitzpatrick are all playing in their second Ryder Cup event.
  • Ian Poulter’s points percentage of 68.18% if the highest of any player from Europe that has played in five Ryder Cup competitions or more.

Ryder Cup Format

The Ryder Cup is played over three days, but the tournament starts with the opening speeches from both captains and the announcement of the first pairings for the foursomes on Thursday morning. The action then continues as follows:

  • Friday AM – 4x Foursomes, Thursday PM – 4x Fourballs (8 points)
  • Saturday AM – 4x Foursomes, Friday PM – 4x Fourballs (8 points)
  • Sunday – 12x Singles (12 points)

Captains will reveal their selections for the fourballs near the completion of the foursome events, while the foursome picks are announced the night before. Each captain then needs to decide the order of play for their 12 players in the individual games on Sunday without knowing what selection the other team picks.

The holders only have to tie to retain the trophy, but a team needs 14.5 points or more to clinch the win.

Ryder Cup Tips

In terms of quality, you cannot argue that America have by far the better of the two teams, with no player ranked below 21st in the world, and eight of their team inside the top ten, in terms of those stats alone, this must rank as Team USA’s strongest ever Ryder Cup team.

However, the American team does lack Ryder Cup experience, something which is vital and which the European team has in abundance.

The question is whether that will be enough for Team Europe to defend the title on American soil.

I am not so sure it will be. There is such talent in this American team that I feel even an inspired effort from Europe may just fall short.

As such my tips are as follows:

  • Team USA to win – 8/15
  • Team USA to win 15.5 to 12.5 – 9/1
  • Jordan Spieth to Score Most Points for Team USA – 13/2
  • Tommy Fleetwood to score Most Points for Team Europe – 17/2