2021 Ryder Cup Primer: History, TV, Teams, Schedule

Tony Finau Tommy Fleetwood 2018 Ryder Cup
Fans watch in front of the big screen during singles matches of the 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National on Sept 30, 2018 in Paris, France. (Photo by Stuart Franklin via Getty Images)

While the PGA Tour’s 2020-21 season is officially over, the “super season” has one more event: the rescheduled 2020 Ryder Cup.

The best event in golf will be contested for the first time since the 2018 matches in Paris France, where the Europeans dominated once again, winning the for the fourth time in the last five tries.

But an impressive American squad, highlighted by eight of the world’s top-10 ranked golfers, including six of the top 7, will look to win for the second consecutive time on home soil as the biennial matches will take place at famed Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.

The Ryder Cup Skinny

Official Name: 43rd Ryder Cup
Established: 1927
Managed By: PGA of America
Format: Match Play (Singles, Team)
Venue: Whistling Straits
Course: Straits Course
Where: Haven, WI
Distance: 7,628 yards
Par: 72
Architect: Robert Trent Jones
Purse: $None
Winner’s Share: Ryder Cup Immortality
Defending: Europe

How to Follow the Ryder Cup

Justin Thomas 2018 Ryder Cup
Justin Thomas of the USA celebrates after making his putt on the 13th hole during the morning fourball matches of the 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National on Sept 29, 2018 in Paris, France. (Photo by Darren Carroll / PGA of America via Getty Images)

TELEVISION: Fri: 7 a.m.-6 p.m. (GOLF); Sat: 7-8 a.m. (GOLF), 8 a.m.-6 p.m. (NBC); Sun: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. (NBC)

RYDER CUP APP: Fri-Sat: 7 a.m.-6 p.m. (Featured Matches); Sun: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. (Featured Matches)

LINKS: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Ryder Cup Schedule

Practice Days

PRACTICE: Tue-Wed: 9 a.m.; Thu: 10 a.m.

SPECIAL EVENTS: Wed: 1-5 p.m. (U.S. Junior Ryder Cup Team); Thu: 8:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m. (Celebrity Matches), 3-4 p.m. (Opening Ceremony)

Team USA Dustin Johnson Ryder Cup
Team USA’s Dustin Johnson plays his tee shot on the 3rd hole in his match against Europe’s Ian Poulter during singles matches of the 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National on Sept. 30, 2018 in Paris, France. (Photo by David Cannon via Getty Images)
Match Days

MORNING FOURSOMES: Fri-Sat: 7:05 a.m., 7:21 a.m., 7:37 a.m., 7:53 a.m. (Four Matches)

AFTERNOON FOURBALL: Fri-Sat: 12:10 p.m., 12:26 p.m., 12:42 p.m., 12:58 p.m. (Four Matches)

SINGLES: Sun: 11:04 a.m., 11:15 a.m., 11:26 a.m., 11:37 a.m., 11:48 a.m., 11:59 a.m., 12:10 p.m., 12:21 p.m., 12:32 p.m., 12:43 p.m., 12:54 p.m., 1:05 p.m. (12 Matches)


Ryder Cup History

Fred Daly, Ken Bousfield, Ben Hogan and Jimmy Demaret
Members of the 1951 Ryder Cup teams pose together before the start of foursomes play at Pinehurst CC. Left to right are; Fred Daly, Ken Bousfield of the British team, Ben Hogan and Jimmy Demaret of the American team. (Bettmann via Getty Images)

The Ryder Cup is a biennial competition between teams from Europe and the United States. The competition is contested every two years with the venue alternating between courses in the United States and Europe.

The Ryder Cup is named after the English businessman Samuel Ryder who donated the trophy. The event is jointly administered by the PGA of America and Ryder Cup Europe, the latter a joint venture of the PGA European Tour (60%), the PGA of Great Britain and Ireland (20%), and the PGAs of Europe (20%).

Originally contested between Great Britain and the United States, the first official Ryder Cup took place in the United States in 1927 at Worcester Country Club in Worcester, Massachusetts.

1989 Ryder Cup
The European team celebrates after retaining the trophy despite drawing the United States team during the Ryder Cup golf competition held at The Belfry, Warwickshire, 24th Sep 1989. From left to right: Gordon Brand Jr, Bernhard Langer, Sam Torrance, Christy O’Connor Jr, Ronan Rafferty and Jose Maria Olazabal. (Photo by Phil Sheldon Popperfoto via Getty Images)

The home team won the first five contests, but with the competition’s resumption after World War II, repeated American dominance eventually led to a decision to extend the representation of
“Great Britain and Ireland” to include continental Europe from 1979.

The inclusion of continental European golfers was partly prompted by the success of a new generation golfers, including Spain’s Seve Ballesteros and Germany’s Berhard Langer.

Since 1979, Europe has won eleven times outright and retained the Cup once in a tied match, with eight American wins over this period. In addition to players from Great Britain and Ireland, the European team has included players from Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Sweden.

The Ryder Cup, and its counterpart the Presidents Cup, remain exceptions within the world of professional sports because the players receive no prize money despite the contests being high-profile events that bring in large amounts of money in television and sponsorship revenue.

Darren Clarke, Padraig Harrington and Colin Montgomerie
Darren Clarke, (C), Padraig Harrington (R) and Colin Montgomerie (L) of Team Europe celebrate winning the Ryder Cup over Team USA at The Belfry on September 29th, 2002. (Photo by Rui Vieira – PA Images via Getty Images)

The current holders are Europe who won in 2018 at Le Golf National in Guyancourt, south-west of Paris, by a score of 17.5 to 10.5.

The Ryder Cup was held in odd-numbered years until 1999, and then moved to even years in 2002 after being cancelled in 2001 due to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. With the reschedule of last year’s matches due to COVID, the matches will now return to odd-numbered years.

Recent Ryder Cup Winners
  • 2018: Europe (17.5-10.5) (Le Golf National, France)
  • 2016: USA (17-11) (Hazeltine National, Minn.)
  • 2014: Europe (16.5-11.5) (Gleneagles, Scotland)
  • 2012: Europe (14.5-13.5) (Medinah, Ill.)
  • 2010: Europe (14.5-13.5) (Celtic Manor, Wales)
  • 2008: USA (16.5-11.5) (Valhalla, Ky.)
  • 2006: Europe (18.5-9.5) (K CLub, Ireland)
  • 2004: Europe (18.5-9.5) (Oakland Hills, Mich.)
  • 2002: Europe (15.5-12.5) (The Belfry, England)
  • 1999: USA (14.5-13.5) (The Country Club, Mass.)
Ryder Cup Records
  • Most Appearances: 12 – Phil Mickelson (USA)
  • Youngest: 19 – Sergio Garcia (EUR), 1999
  • Oldest: 51 – Ray Floyd (USA), 1993
  • Most Points: 25.5 – Sergio Garcia (EUR)
  • Most Foursomes Points: 11.5 – Bernhard Langer (EUR), Sergio Garcia (EUR)
  • Most Fourball Points: 10.5 – Ian Woosnam (EUR), Jose Maria Olazabal (EUR)
  • Most Points By Pairing: 12 – Seve Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal (EUR)
  • Most Singles Points: 7 – Colin Montgomerie (EUR), Billy Casper (USA), Lee Trevino (USA), Arnold Palmer (USA), Neil Coles (GB, GB&I)

The Course: Whistling Straits

2021 Ryder Cup Whistling Straits 4th hole
A view from the fourth hole of Whistling Straits Golf Course on Oct 15, 2018 in Sheboygan, WI. (Photo by Gary Kellner / PGA of America via Getty Images)

The Straits Course is the flagship course at Whistling Straits. It will stretch to 7,790 yards and play to a par of 72.

The Straits Course replicates the ancient seaside links courses of the United Kingdom and Ireland. Nestled along a two-mile stretch of Lake Michigan, the course has eight holes hugging the lake, a flock of Scottish Blackface sheep, elevation changes of approximately 80 feet, and three stone bridges.

It has vast rolling greens, deep pot bunkers, grass-topped dunes and winds that sweep in off the lake. Being a coastal links-style course, there are few large trees or woods on the course. The course is open and exposed to the wind and elements.

2021 Ryder Cup Whistling Straits 18th hole
A view from 18th hole of Whistling Straits Golf Course on Oct 15, 2018 in Sheboygan, WI. (Photo by Gary Kellner / PGA of America via Getty Images)

Before the course was built, the property was an abandoned airfield called Camp Haven (1949–1959), with a stream running through the middle. Wisconsin Electric purchased the property in the 1970s and attempted to build the Haven Nuclear Power Plant on the property, but its construction was opposed by local residents, and the company never built the plant. It then sold the property in Kohler Company in the early 1990s.

Kohler Company CEO Herbert Kohler hired Pete Dye to be the course architect. During construction, the original landscape of the Straits Course was covered with about 800,000 cubic yards of dirt and sand.

43rd Ryder Cup Teams

Sergio Garcia and Rory McIlroy
Sergio Garcia and Rory McIlroy during a practice round at Le Golf National ahead of the 2018 Ryder Cup in Paris, France. Photo by Adam Davy/PA Images/Getty Images

The 24 players who will tee it up at Whistling Straits for the 43rd edition of the biennial Ryder Cup matches – arguably the most anticipated golf event on the calendar – will include 12 of the best from the U.S against a dozen of their counterparts from Europe.

The U.S. team is absolutely loaded with eight of its players ranked inside the top 10 of the Official World Golf Rankings, while three others are inside the top 16. Only Scottie Scheffler is outside the top 20, and he’s at 21.

The European squad, on the other hand, has only world No. 1 Jon Rahm ranked in the top 10 with Viktor Hovland (13), Rory McIlroy (15) and Tyrrell Hatton (19) the only other Euros in the top 20.

On paper it may look like a rout, but the Ryder Cup is not contested using data analytics. It’s played on the course. And as Sergio Garcia said earlier this week, stats don’t measure intangibles such as team chemistry.

European Ryder Cup Team

Name (World Rank)
Jon Rahm (1)
Viktor Hovland (13)
Rory McIlroy (15)
Tyrrell Hatton (19)
Paul Casey (23)
Matt Fitzpatrick (27)
Lee Westwood (34)
Tommy Fleetwood (36)
Shane Lowry* (40)
Sergio Garcia* (43)
Ian Poulter* (49)
Bernd Wiesberger (61)
* Captain’s Picks

U.S. Ryder Cup Team

Name (World Rank)
Dustin Johnson (2)
Collin Morikawa (3)
Patrick Cantlay* (4)
Xander Schauffele* (5)
Justin Thomas (6)
Bryson DeChambeau (7)
Brooks Koepka (8)
Tony Finau* (10)
Harris English (11)
Jordan Spieth* (14)
Daniel Berger* (16)
Scottie Scheffler* (21)
* Captain’s Picks

Credits: Wikipedia, ASAP Scripts, Getty Images, Ryder Cup


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