The Ryder Cup matches will be held Sept. 30 through Oct. 2 at the Hazeltine National Golf Club in Minnesota. The matches are held every two years, alternating sites between the United States and Europe.
Europe has won eight of the last 10 Ryder Cup matches and should be considered the favorite. Their squad of 12 has already been established, with six rookies on their squad.
However, they do have two 2016 major champions on the team: Danny Willet, Master’s champion, and Henrik Stenson, British Open champion, as well as Olympic gold medalist Justin Rose and the number three player in the world, Rory McIlroy.
The United States has a veteran team with two 2016 major champions in Dustin Johnson, U.S. Open Champion; and Jimmy Walker, PGA Champion. Phil Mickelson, competing in his 11th straight Ryder Cup, will bring experience to the team.
They also have youth and enthusiasm with Patrick Reed, Jordan Spieth and Brooks Koepka. Davis Love III, the U. S. captain, chose three players on Sept. 12 following the BMW Championship, and will have his last captain’s pick after the tour championship on Sept. 25.
Love used the eight players already on the team and his four vice captains – Tiger Woods, Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk and Tom Lehman – to help him choose Olympians Ricky Fowler and Matt Kucher, and long-hitting J. B Holmes, who played on the last winning Ryder Cup team.
Love said that the “players know what’s going on…they know who they want to play with.”
The Ryder Cup consists of three days of competition. The first two days include morning and afternoon matches. One session will be fourballs (best ball) and the other match will be foursomes (alternate shots).
The final day will be 12 singles matches. If the matches end in a tie, the European team will maintain the Cup.
The United States is hungry, and Davis Love has had four years to plan for his revenge after losing as the captain of the 2012 squad that blew a 10-6 lead going into the last day’s singles matches.
Europe won all but four singles matches for a 14 ½ to 13 ½ victory tying the best comeback in Ryder Cup history and the biggest ever on foreign soil.
The 2016 American team has branded the motto for the matches as “12 strong” with the emphasis on team. Thus, my prediction is the United States will win the cup 15 to 13.
Dr. Jean Harris is an LPGA Master Professional and teaches at Brown Golf Management courses. jean.golfdoctor. firstname.lastname@example.org; www.golfdoctorjean.com