The Ryder Cup 2021 Preview
By George Watkins
The Ryder Cup between team USA and team Europe usually takes place every two years alternating in venues from the United States and Europe, however with fans unable to attend the event it was pushed back a year from its supposed date of September, 2020.
Taking place at the Whistling Straights Golf Course in Wisconsin, USA, the Americans will be hoping to win back the Ryder Cup after they took a heavy defeat when the competition was last held three years ago in Paris, France. Not only has this competition built up massive anticipation because of the added year in waiting due to COVID-19 related issues but also because of the possibility that fans may be able to attend the competition given that the COVID-19 restrictions allow them to after many tournaments being played without spectators.
Stricker v Harrington
Steve Stricker (USA) and Padraig Harrington (Europe) both extremely popular ex-professionals are the two selected captain’s for this year’s Ryder Cup and have both featured in and won this competition as players, but which captain has the better twelve man team? Starting with team USA, there is no doubting the strength of the Americans especially on their own turf. The American team includes the likes of Masters winner and world number one Dustin Johnson who will be the man to beat along with the much spoken about Bryson DeChambeau who has certainly prickled a few feathers amongst many golfers.
Team USA’s strength does not stop there with much of the current top ten players in the world being American, these include the likes of; Justin Thomas, Xander Schauffele, Collin Morikawa, Webb Simpson and yet another former Masters winner Patrick Reed. Without many more American talents being named you can already see the firepower in which Stricker has in his armoury.
Although Team Europe may not have as many inform players as the Americans do right now, they are a team built with more passion and a never say die attitude. With team Europe being made up of players from several different nations it is always an eye-opener to see what good connections these players have, from Northern Ireland is arguably the most consistent golfer in the world and four-time major winner, Rory McIlroy. Rory has played in many Ryder Cup’s and without a doubt will bring character and quality to team Europe. Joining team Europe are expected to be the usual high number of English players’ Tyrrell Hatton, Tommy Fleetwood, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Paul Casey are all in high contention of making Harrington’s Team. One Englishmen and Ryder Cup legend Ian Poulter ‘The Postmen’ is likely to be selected as a captains pick given his remarkable Ryder Cup record and the leadership he brings to that Team.
From Spain Jon Rahm, Despite spending a large part of his life in America playing golf, Rahm is a key member to team Europe and has gone up against America’s big guns in so many recent majors. The current world number two is a certainty for this year’s Ryder Cup team and is someone you certainly expect to deliver a few points for team Europe. A fellow Spaniard Sergio Garcia, like Poulter he has not played his best golf this year and is unlikely to qualify for the team points wise, however Garcia has such a record at the Ryder Cup and with a wealth of experience I would put good money on Harrington making Garcia one of his captains picks for 2021 due to the amount of points Sergio has delivered in previous years.
Familiar faces in Francesco Molinari who had an incredible partnership with Fleetwood in Paris 3 years ago and Swede Henrik Stenson are also more than likely to make yet another Ryder Cup this year, both players offer such experience and calmness on this big stage making them essential in the make-up of team Europe.
After a brief look at the names on both teams it is a hard one to call with such quality of both sides. Personally I do however believe that the American’s captained by Steve Stricker will have a bit too much for their opposition. With the home advantage and a course that suits the long drivers of team USA added to the flair of their short game and accuracy on the greens I think they will edge this Ryder Cup but team Europe will not go down without a fight I am certain of that, I believe the scores will be tight but with team America having the likes of Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, and Patrick Reed the 8/11 favourites are my odds on to win the 2021 Ryder Cup.