Bienvenue à la Ryder Cup.
24 of the world’s best are in Paris, and one of the most anticipated exhibitions of all time is set to begin in France. Team USA arrived in style on Monday, Team Europe isn’t nervous at all, and the course is prepped for a serious amount of fans. It’s time for the greatest spectacle in golf..
The matches will be held at Le Golf National’s Albatross course. The course has been the host of the Open de France for all but two years since 1991. Its main feature is water hazards. Off the tee, it is extremely demanding and will test players’ nerves under the intense pressure of the Ryder Cup.
Players to Watch
The full lists of the teams can be found here (USA and Europe), but the real interest comes in the players that are likely to have a serious impact on the event. This list includes players who are likely to succeed and some wild cards who can turn the outcome very quickly.
Tony Finau - Arguably the most consistent player of the season, Finau was the obvious final pick for Furyk. He is an excellent driver of the golf ball and makes a ton of birdies when he has it going. Assuming he keeps his nerves in check, Finau could prove to be a difference-maker for the USA.
Dustin Johnson - I have no idea what to make of DJ right now. The guy has been going through some personal issues of late, and his game has suffered. He made a late charge at East Lake but has been largely absent in the FedExCup playoffs. The USA could really use strong play from him against some of Europe’s top names.
Phil Mickelson - Based on his recent play, no one expects much of Phil this week. That doubt is something that seems to make him thrive. Phil is obviously a leader in the team room, but his play on the course is very much up in the air this week.
Patrick Reed - He already has himself penciled in for 5-0 this week. He is having the team cook bake up some fresh apple pies for him to use as ballmarks, and he is ready to start the USA chant on Sunday.
Jordan Spieth - If the reports are right, Spieth will not be propped up by Patrick Reed this year. His play has been lackluster in the states, but we all know the Ryder Cup is a different animal. He played the first practice round with DJ, Rickie, and Justin Thomas, so we will see if that is the pod of players he ends up with this week.
Tiger Woods - Tiger is fired up for this event, no two ways about it. He has not won a Ryder Cup since 1999, and his experiences as a vice captain have him itching to put points on the board. It is rumored that he will only play one match each day so that he has his full energy every time, but we’ll see what happens when push comes to shove.
Jon Rahm - Europe features 5 rookies, but none are ranked higher in the world than Jon Rahm. He has gone through periods where he plays better than anyone in the world and has done exceedingly well in match play events. He has never played the Ryder Cup but we all know his tenacity will be there.
Ian Poulter - The Ice King of Europe, Poulter has dominated the Ryder Cup throughout his career. He missed the last event in Hazeltine but has reinvigorated his golf game in order to earn a captain’s pick this season. He will likely play 4 or 5 matches unless his play falls apart.
Rory McIlroy - I don’t think anyone will ever forget the performance Rory put on against Patrick Reed at Hazeltine. He isn’t the highest ranked player on the team (Justin Rose), but he is definitely looked at as the lightning rod. When he gets hot, he has the power to inject a lot of energy into Team Europe.
Sergio Garcia - A highly controversial captain’s pick, Sergio Garcia has absolutely sucked this season. In 13 events since the Masters, he has 7 missed cuts and only two top 10s (both on the European Tour). He has more experience than anyone else in their locker room, and we all know match play is a different animal
Alex Noren/Tyrell Hatton - Both of these guys are world class players but are complete wild cards this weekend. They’ll bring the tenacity, but their inexperience will be something to watch for. If they can find a way to combine for 4 points, it is hard to see the USA winning.
Shotgun Start - Ryder Cup fever and a day of golf media failures
Andy and Brendan digest the first couple days of Ryder Cup week. It’s been an ugly week for golf media, from softball press conference “questions” to a failure to do the most basic vetting of an Anthony Kim swing video, setting off false alarms everywhere. They speculate on some of the American pairings based on what we saw on the first practice day, giving Andy a reason to bash Phil and Bubba. Then they get into the scripting for this week and the practicality of having a 7,000-seat grandstand on the first tee at a golf course. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher or Spotify.
Snead, Jones, Nicklaus...me
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