2023 Ryder Cup Preview, TV Guide, All You Need to Know
THE Ryder Cup is like no other event in professional golf. Week in, week out, the world’s best players go out there and do it for themselves. This is different. You are doing it for your teammates and for your country.
It has taken MacIntrye and Straka a lot longer to achieve that dream than it has Aberg and Hojgaard, but until they hit their first shots against the USA at Marco Simone near Rome nobody will know how they will react when they step into the cauldron.
Just ask Matthew Fitzpatrick. He has won the US Open and the RBC Heritage on the PGA Tour and is a multiple winner on the DP World Tour and this will be his third Ryder Cup - he has yet to score even a half point.
Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Viktor Hovland are riding high in the world rankings and will be the heartbeat of Luke Donald’s team. How they gel with the rookies could well hold the key to the outcome of the match.
It is to his eternal credit that just days after being given a wild card by captain Luke Donald, Shane Lowry silenced his critics by finishing third at the Irish Open. Lowry can count himself fortunate to have been chosen but it is a mark of the man that he was able to flick a switch and show us all exactly why he was chosen. He will not let Europe down.
There are no guarantees at this level. McIlroy finished the 2021 match at Whistling Straits in tears after what turned out to be a miserable three days as the USA thrashed Europe. It would be a huge surprise if he does not emerge as the leader on and off the course this time around.
Europe will be thirsting for revenge after that 19-9 thrashing. There will be huge crowds at Marco Simone and, of course, the vast majority will want to see a home win.
The reality is that the Ryder Cup could do with a tight finish. Two years ago, the USA thumped Europe, in 2018 it was Europe’s turn to hammer the USA 17.5-10.5; in 2016 the USA won 17-11; in 2014 Paul McGinley’s side cruised to a 16.5-11.5 victory at Gleneagles.
You have to go all the way back to 2012 and Medinah for the last time that a Ryder Cup match saw a nailbiting finish. That was the year that Europe went into the singles trailing 10-6 but produced a glorious comeback to win 14.5-13.5.
The odds are heavily stacked in Europe’s favour - the last time that the USA won the Ryder Cup in Europe was at The Belfry way back in 1993, one of seven successive matches during which the winning margin was never more than two points.
He can also call on Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele, Jordan Spieth, Collin Morikawa, Rickie Fowler and Sam Burns.
However, I have a feeling that the US golfer who is going to be a thorn in Europe’s side is Max Homa. He is a wonderful ball striker and a great putter. And he has a fabulous temperament.
His story is a fascinating one. He starred in the Walker Cup and turned pro in late summer 2013, then earned his PGA Toura card the following year. He bounced between the PGA Tour and Korn Ferry Tour before hitting rock bottom in 2017, making just two cuts and earning $18,008.
He then strung together four consecutive closing birdies to make the cut at the Korn Ferry Tour’s 2018 Regular Season finale, keeping his job and earning back his tour card within a month. Homa has since won six PGA Tour titles and was an automatic qualifier for the US team.
But I do wonder if Johnson may come to regret picking Justin Thomas. Like Lowry, Thomas is a golfer with a proper pedigree but has struggled all year. He was a controversial choice. In saying that, it would surprise nobody if he were to be lifted by the atmosphere in Italy and ends up holing the winning putt.
It will be fascinating to see the pairings that the respective captains come up. You can’t win the Ryder Cup during the first two days of foursomes and fourballs but you can certainly lose it.
On the European team, players will be queuing up to play with Straka, Tommy Fleetwood and Justin Rose in the foursomes.
I also have a feeling that Donald may send out McIlroy and Aberg together. They could well end up replicating the performance of Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari at Le Golf National, when they won all four matches together.
I have a feeling that this is going to be another great Ryder Cup - and that Donald will be hoisting the trophy aloft on Sunday evening. Let’s hope the match is played in the right spirit and that we see plenty of thrilling golf. And that Fitzpatrick finally gets his first point on the board!
- Friday, September 29
Live coverage of Day 1 Fourballs starts at 6am, Sky Sports Golf
Live coverage of Day 1 Foursomes starts at 12pm, Sky Sports Golf
- Saturday, September 30
Live coverage of Day 2 Fourballs starts at 6am, Sky Sports Golf
Live coverage of Day 2 Foursomes starts at 12pm, Sky Sports Golf
- Sunday, October 1
Live coverage of Day 3 Singles starts at 9am, Sky Sports Golf
The Ryder Cup is unlike any other tournament in golf and the atmosphere is something that every golf fan should experience. The experts at Golfbreaks.com can help with all aspects of your Ryder Cup experience, from accommodation and ticket packages to hospitality and travel and playing some of the fantastic nearby courses.
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