The months of preparation, speculation and waiting are over as this morning marks the start of the 41st Ryder Cup! Catch coverage starting early this morning (7:30 am CST) on the Golf Channel or stream the coverage on the Ryder Cup app as the U.S. tries to make a comeback after quite the losing streak. 8 points are on the line today starting with 4 foursomes matches (alternate shot) followed by afternoon four-ball matches (best ball).
Who’s off first?
The Ryder Cup will start off with a bang as European captain Darren Clarke and United States captain Davis Love III both opted to send star pairings out in the opening match with Henrik Stenson and Justin Rose squaring off against Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth. The winner of this showdown could provide some strong early momentum for the matches.
Following the opening match is another star-studded pairing with Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler facing off against red-hot Rory McIlroy and Ryder Cup rookie Andy Sullivan. It’s a little surprising to see Mickelson playing in the foursomes format given his poor career foursomes record (4-6-4), but it looks like Captain Love is opting for experience early.
The third match looks bad for the U.S. on paper as Zach Johnson and Jimmy Walker take on two of Europe’s stalwarts in Sergio Garcia and Martin Kaymer. The foursomes format puts a heavy emphasis on ball-striking, and Johnson and Walker happen to be the two worst ball-strikers on the American team. That being said, golf is a funny game, and if Johnson and Walker can pull off the upset, it should provide the U.S. team with a lot of momentum.
The anchor match of Friday’s morning session sees Europe’s pairing of young and old with Ryder Cup rookie Thomas Pieters teaming up with the ageless Lee Westwood to take on the American duo of Matt Kuchar and Dustin Johnson. I love this pairing for the Americans as I feel that Kuchar’s steady game and strong putting is an ideal partner for the long-hitting DJ.
A remarkable putt
During Thursday’s practice round at Hazeltine, U.S. fan Dave Johnson heckled the European group of Stenson, Rose, McIlroy and Sullivan after the whole group couldn’t make a 15’ putt. The Euros called Dave out, betting $100 he couldn’t make the putt they couldn’t figure out, pulling Dave out of the crowd and onto the green. Despite his poor technique and using Rory McIlroy’s putter, which was clearly too short, Johnson pulled off the incredible, draining the putt and taking $100 off of Justin Rose, notching the first American win of the week.
Dem’ fightin’ words
Shots were fired Wednesday when P.J. Willet, the outspoken brother of European Ryder Cup rookie Danny Willett, went on a rant about Americans on the English golf blog, National Golfer Magazine, writing this about American fans... “need to silence the pudgy, basement-dwelling, irritants, stuffed on cookie dough and pissy beer, pausing between mouthfuls of hot dog so they can scream ‘Baba booey’ until their jelly faces turn red.” Needless to say, captain Darren Clarke and Danny Willett weren’t happy with P.J.’s choice of words, and the American fans and players have some fresh bulletin board material.
Phil plays the blame game
During Phil’s early morning presser on Wednesday, he was asked why the pairing of he and Tiger Woods didn’t work out in 2004. Lefty pointed the blame at Captain Hal Sutton because of their lack of time and ability to prepare. Shortly after, Hal Sutton fired back, pointing out that Phil came into the 2004 matches with a brand new equipment sponsor, which may have caused some of his struggles... Twelve years later, it sounds like Phil knows how to hold a grudge.
Golf Course Architecture: Template Holes - The Alps
Taking a break from the Ryder Cup for some fresh content for all of the architecture fans, we continue our journey through C.B. Macdonald’s template holes. This week, we take a look at the Alps template, his most controversial design because of its blind nature. Macdonald used Prestwick Golf Club’s 17th hole as his inspiration for the design, which he first took to National Golf Links of America. Check out Prestwick, NGLA and many more renditions of the Alps here.
No Laying Up contributor Robbie Vogel dove into each Ryder Cup roster and picked out his dream pairings for Sunday’s singles match play. Check out some of the storylines we could see come to fruition this weekend.