Ryder Cup: Americans want to break winning drought


Armed with ten players ranked among the world’s top twenty, the US Ryder Cup team’s sights are set on ending their thirty-year winning drought on European soil this week.

Standing in the way of a second consecutive victory in golf’s most prestigious team tournament, however, are a dozen talented European stars led by three of the game’s very best and fueled by the flamboyant Severiano Ballesteros’ spirit that lives on in the biennial international team competition.

Ballesteros, who died in 2011, is regarded as the architect who gave the Ryder Cup spectacle its prestige and made it the game’s greatest competition.

The Spaniard was Europe’s most successful player until his death. He was also captain in 1997 when Europe beat the Yanks at Valderrama in his native country by a single point.

Pictures of Ballesteros adorn the walls of the Europeans’ dressing room, while there are thirteen lockers – twelve for the team members and one for Ballesteros.

The team’s shirts also have an image of Ballesteros on the inside.

“He will always serve as an incentive for us. He is European golf,” says team captain Luke Donald.

According to Donald, this week’s showdown will be a giant battle with both teams teeming with talent.

“America boasts three of the current major champions, the world’s top player, as well as no less than ten of the twelve players ranked among the top twenty in the world ranking.

“It’s going to be a tough challenge, but with superstars like Rory (McIlroy), Jon (Rahm) and Viktor (Hovland) in our ranks to give direction, there’s no reason why we can’t win.

“Overall we have a good mix of experience and youth, all of whom have shown they can perform under pressure,” says Donald.

Two years ago at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin, Europe led a record 10-point loss (19-9).

This will soon give the Yanks, who have seven of the 2021 winning team in their ranks this week, a lot of self-confidence that they can walk off the track as winners again.

But the history books say the last successful American team on European soil was Tom Watson’s who smoked the pipe 15-13 at The Belfry in 1993.

The Americans are well known for their superior putting on the PGA Series’ lightning fast greens on home soil.

In an attempt to neutralize their spell on the short grasses, Donald has ordered the greens of the Marco Simone course just outside Rome to play somewhat slower this week, which will better suit the bigger Europeans.

Instead of a double mowing, the course’s greens will now only be mowed once in the morning before play, which will therefore leave the grass longer and result in the ball not rolling as quickly.

This, together with the European players’ knowledge of the hilly Marco Simone layout, should benefit the home team.

However, McIlroy warned that the Yanks have so much talent that they will adapt very quickly to the conditions they face.

Brooks Koepka, one of the Yanks’ three major champions, is eager to start playing and says he was delighted when he was included in the team as one of captain Zach Johnson’s captain choices.

“I would have liked to have qualified directly for the team, but am very happy that Zach chose me after I didn’t make it,” said the LIV player.

Koepka says he doesn’t care who his playing partner is this week and he has been persuaded to take the Ryder Cup home again.

The five-time major champion is currently seventeenth in the world rankings and one of the Yanks’ ten top twenty stars.

Only Justin Thomas (24) and Rickie Fowler (25) fall outside the current top twenty, but only just.

“I’m ready for the action and feel good about my game. It doesn’t matter who I play with. The course is a good test and the hills will make it a tough challenge for everyone,” says Koepka.

Johnson believes he has the right troops to finally win the Ryder Cup war, but it certainly won’t be easy.

“It will be a fierce battle as always, but we are ready for what lies ahead. I believe we have chosen the best team and I am proud of them. We will go together as a team to face our opponents and intend to finish things in our favor with character, class and the integrity that the Ryder Cup competition deserves,” Johnson explained his team’s goal in a serious tone.

It will definitely be war from Friday to Sunday until the champion of the 44th challenge is crowned.

Only time will tell who will be the champion and it would be foolish to bet money beforehand on either of the two teams whose players have already shown they are champions, who can perform on any stage on the day.

*The teams are (world ranking position in brackets):


Ludvig Aberg (80)

Matt Fitzpatrick (8)

Tommy Fleetwood (13)

Tyrrell Hatton (11)

Nicolai Hojgaard (82)

Viktor Hovland (4)

Shane Lowry (34)

Robert MacIntyre (55)

Rory McIlroy (2)

Jon Rahm (3)

Justin Rose (37)

Sepp Straka (22)


Sam Burns (20)

Patrick Cantlay (5)

Wyndham Clark (10)

Rickie Fowler (25)

Brian Harman (9)

Max Homa (7)

Brooks Koepka (17)

Collin Morikawa (19)

Xander Schauffele (6)

Scottie Scheffler (1)

Jordan Spieth (12)

Justin Thomas (24)

*The program:


From 07:35: Four innings matches

From 12:25: Four better ball matches


From 07:35: Four innings matches

From 12:25: Four better ball matches


From 11:35: Twelve singles matches.

Additional source: Rydercup.com