Whistling Straits Golf Course, Sheboygan, WI — September 24, 2021
The 43rd Ryder Cup began today on the shores of Lake Michigan. Players teed off this morning at Whistling Straits Golf Course, a links-style layout designed by Pete Dye. It is a spectacular setting for the biennial event pitting golfers from the United States versus their counterparts from the European Union.
The American team consists of Collin Morikawa, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, and Patrick Cantlay, all of who were automatic qualifiers.
Daniel Berger, Harris English, Tony Finau, Xander Schauffele, Scottie Scheffler, and Jordan Spieth were added to the lineup by Captain Steve Sticker. Vice Captains Fred Couples, Jim Furyk, Zach Johnson, Davis Love III, and Phil Mickelson will lead the cheers as the U.S. Team attempts to recapture the Cup they last held in 2016.
The European Representatives
Automatic qualifiers Paul Casey, Matt Fitzpatrick, Tyrrell Hatton, Tommy Fleetwood, Rory McIlroy, Viktor Hovland, Jon Rahm, Lee Westwood, and Bernd Wiesberger were joined by Captain Padraig Harrington picks of Sergio Garcia, Shane Lowry, and Ian Poulter.
Since 1985 the Europeans have won the Cup 12 times to 5 victories for the United States. Losing the series of matches on your own soil is the equivalent of surrendering your national pride and fans will be stoked to have the Americans defend the Wisconsin beachhead where this year’s event is being contested.
Friday Morning Matches
The first four matches Friday morning were played as foursomes. Meaning the players on each team alternate shots playing the same ball and teammates alternate teeing off every other hole. Scoring is done by hole with teams going one up if they have the lowest score on the hole, one down if they lose the hole, or even if they tie for the number of strokes on a hole.
The match winners score one point for the team competition, a tied match awards a half-point to each side.
Match 1: Justin Thomas/Jordan Spieth (U.S.) vs. Jon Rahm/Sergio Garcia (Europe)
The Americans got off to a good start, going 1 up with a birdie on the par 5, 2nd hole. The lead did not last long as birdies on the next two holes by the Europeans reversed the score. Thomas and Spieth could never get back into the match as Rahm and Garcia built a lead and held onto it. A birdie on the 17th locked up the match 3 up with 1 to play. Europe 1 vs U.S. 0
Spieth hit the shot of the day on 17 and almost ended up in the lake for his effort.
Match 2: Dustin Johnson/Collin Morikawa (U.S.) vs. Paul Casey/Viktor Hovland (Europe)
Birdies on three of the first four holes turned this match into an exciting battle with each team having a turn in the lead. Johnson and Morikawa took control and conceded only one hole in the final 14 to take the win 3 up 2 to play. Europe 1 vs U.S. 1
Match 3: Brooks Koepka/Daniel Berger (U.S.) vs. Lee Westwood/Matthew Fitzpatrick (Europe)
The U.S. never trailed in this match, making three birdies on the first five holes to go 2 up. While Westwood and Fitzpatrick clawed back to within one down a couple of times, a birdie on the 11th by Koepka and Berger followed by matching pars through 17 ended the match 2 up with 1 to play. U.S. 2 vs Europe 1
Match 4: Patrick Cantlay/Xander Schauffele (U.S.) vs. Rory McIlroy/Ian Poulter (Europe)
The 4th match of the day was a blowout. Cantlay and Schauffele won the first five holes to go 5 up. The Europeans found some life at the start of the back nine as they cut the lead to three holes. However, the U.S. restored its 5 up lead and closed out the morning matches with a score of 5 up with 3 to play. U.S. 3 vs Europe 1
Friday Afternoon at the Ryder Cup
In recent Ryder Cup’s, Friday afternoon mishaps have doomed the United States’ chances. If the Americans can hold onto or build the lead going into Saturday it will be an emotional uplift for the home team.
The match format changes to fourball, meaning all four competitors play their own ball with the best score per hole being recorded by each two-man team the one that is counted.
Match 1: Dustin Johnson/Xander Schauffele (U.S.) vs. Paul Casey/Bernd Wiesberger (Europe)
Johnson carried the load in Match 1 of the Friday afternoon session winning four holes while Schauffele contributed a win with a birdie on the par 3-3rd hole. The Europeans tried to make a run but it was too little too late as the U.S. won the match 2 up with 1 to play. U.S. 4 vs Europe 1
Match 2: Bryson DeChambeau/Scottie Scheffler (U.S.) vs. Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton (Europe)
The closest match of the day is one the Americans let get away. The world’s #1, Jon Rahm, kept his twosome in it until the U.S. took the lead on 15. But it was Hatton who birdied the 18th for the Europeans to earn the tie with each team taking a half-point from the match. U.S. 4.5 vs Europe 1.5
Match 3: Tony Finau/Harris English (U.S.) vs. Rory McIlroy/Shane Lowry (Europe)
Finau was the star of the day for the Americans. His four birdies staked the U.S. to a four-up lead which they held to close out the win at 4 up with 3 to play. U.S. 5.5 vs Europe 1.5
Match 4: Justin Thomas/Patrick Cantlay (U.S.) vs. Tommy Fleetwood/Viktor Hovland (Europe)
Thomas and Cantlay held the lead early before Fleetwood and Hovland gained a one-up advantage on the 4th hole. The Europeans stayed out front until an eagle by Justin Thomas on the par 5-16th squared up the match. It ended tied and the U.S. took a four-point lead into Saturday. U.S. 6 vs Europe 2