The Ryder Cup begins on Friday at Whistling Straits, a year later than planned following the postponement of the 2020 event due to the Covid pandemic. Europe are the reigning champions, having won in Paris, France back in 2018 – can they can win on American soil for the first time since 2012?
Here, we give you the need-to-know facts on the teams, the golfers and some Ryder Cup records thrown in, ahead of the action.
43rd Ryder Cup
September 24-26, 2021
- This is the 43rd Ryder Cup, with nearly half of them having pitted Europe against the United States (21, since 1979). It is the first Ryder Cup to be held in an odd year this century, the last one taking place in 1999.
- Europe have the upper hand in Ryder Cup history with 11 victories (8 for US) since 1979. There was a tie in 1989, which saw Europe regain the cup after having won the previous edition two years earlier.
- Europe have won nine of the last 12 Ryder Cups, including half of the last eight played on US soil.
- Six of the last eight Ryder Cups have seen a final score gap of at least 5 points. The gap was never more than 3 points in each of the previous eight editions (1987 to 2002).
- This year’s Ryder Cup is the first to be played in Wisconsin. It is the 19th US state to host the tournament, with only California, Massachusetts and Ohio having played host on more than one occasion.
- Since 1979, only four of the 20 Ryder Cups have seen a team overturn a deficit going into the singles (1993, 1995, 1999, 2012).
- The United States have won 12 of the 20 singles sessions against Europe since 1979 (60%). However, since 2002, Europe have the upper hand in the Sunday format, winning it six times in nine attempts.
- Only two of the 42 Ryder Cups have ended in a tie: 1969 (16-16) & 1989 (14-14).
- With a combined total of 156 matches played at the Ryder Cup, this is the most experienced European team since the 1995 edition (196 matches).
- Three players are making their Ryder Cup debut for Europe this year: Bernd Wiesberger, Viktor Hovland and Shane Lowry. That’s half as many as the US team (6).
- 50% of the European team are made up of English players (6 out of 12). Since the introduction of Team Europe in 1979, it ties the highest number of English players after 2016.
- Spain have a playing representative at the Ryder Cup for the 21st consecutive edition. In fact, other than England, they are the only nation to have had at least one player at every Ryder Cup edition since the introduction of Team Europe in 1979.
- Jon Rahm – world number one and Europe’s most recent major winner (US Open 2021) – is playing in his second Ryder Cup. He won only one of his three matches in 2018, but that was the singles match against Tiger Woods, only the American’s second ever loss in the singles format after 1997.
- Jon Rahm is the only player to have secured a Top 10 at each of the 2021 major tournaments, including his first ever victory in the showpiece events (US Open 2021).
- Sergio Garcia is the highest points scorer in the history of the Ryder Cup (25.5 points out of a possible 41). The Spaniard is taking part in his 10th Ryder Cup, that’s every edition since 1999 except 2010. It’s also only the third time he’s been a captain’s pick after 2002 and 2018.
- Rory McIlroy is making his sixth consecutive Ryder Cup appearance (all since 2010), the longest current run among European players. He has played every single session at the tournament since his debut in 2010.
- Viktor Hovland is the youngest player at this year’s Ryder Cup – he’ll be aged 24 years and 6 days on the opening day of the tournament. He’s also the first Norwegian to play in the tournament.
- This is Lee Westwood’s 11th Ryder Cup, joining Nick Faldo as the European player with the most appearances in the biennial tournament. If he plays at least four matches, he’ll overtake Phil Mickelson for the most in the tournament’s history. Westwood is also the oldest player at this year’s tournament – he’ll be 48 years and 5 months old on the opening day of the tournament.
- Bernd Wiesberger is making his Ryder Cup debut, becoming the first Austrian to qualify for the showpiece event. He’s currently the lowest ranked of the 24 players competing in the 43rd Ryder Cup matches (61st).
- This is Tyrell Hatton’s second Ryder Cup appearance. The Englishman only won one of his three matches in 2018 (L2), the Saturday fourball with Paul Casey against Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler.
- Tommy Fleetwood is making his second Ryder Cup appearance. In 2018, he won all four of his fourballs/foursomes with Francesco Molinari, ending the week as the second highest points scorer behind his Italian partner (4 points).
- This is Ian Poulter’s seventh Ryder Cup, and the fifth he’s been a captain’s pick. He has the best record of any European player to have featured in at least five events, winning 15 points out of a possible 22, a 68% scoring ratio.
- Among European players, only Colin Montgomerie (8) has played more singles matches than Ian Poulter at the Ryder Cup without ever losing one (6).
- Paul Casey is taking part in his fifth Ryder Cup. 42% of his matches have ended in a half point (5 out of 12), that’s the highest ratio for any European player to have featured in at least 10 matches.
- This is Matthew Fitzpatrick’s second Ryder Cup appearance, with both taking place in the US. He lost both of his matches in the 2016 edition.
- Shane Lowry is the first European rookie to benefit from a captain’s pick since Thomas Pieters in 2016. Pieters was the highest scoring player in that edition with four points from a possible five.
- Padraig Harrington is the second Irishman to captain the European Ryder Cup team after Paul McGinley in 2014. In fact, three of the last four captains are from the island of Ireland (McGinley 2014, Darren Clarke 2016, Harrington 2020).
- Padraig Harrington represented Europe six times as a player in the Ryder Cup. He was on the winning side in four of his six appearances (2002, 2004, 2006, 2010). With 10.5 points, he’s the second highest scoring Irish player in the competition after Christy O’Connor Sr (13 pts).
- Team USA have six Ryder Cup rookies at this year’s tournament, the most since 2008. In fact, they’ve won both previous editions against Europe where at least 50% of their team was made up of newcomers: 1979 (8 rookies) and 2008 (6 rookies).
- Eight of the 12 members of the U.S. team at this year’s Ryder Cup are aged under 30, that’s twice as many as the European team (4 out of 12).
- Collin Morikawa is the youngest US player at this year’s Ryder Cup – he’ll be aged 24 years, 7 months and 18 days on the opening day of the tournament.
- Tony Finau’s first Top 10 at a major came in the 2015 US PGA Championship at Whistling Straits – he was T-10th. He won two of his three matches in his only previous Ryder Cup appearance in 2018, setting the second-best points ratio (66.7%) in the US team after Justin Thomas (80%, 4 points out of a possible 5).
- This is Brooks Koepka’s third – and consecutive – Ryder Cup appearance. He won three of his four matches the last time it was held in the US (2016).
- This is Jordan Spieth’s fourth consecutive Ryder Cup appearance. He’s collected eight points from a possible 11 in fourballs/foursomes, a 73% scoring rate. Only Tom Watson, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus have a better ratio among US players in the team format.
- At 37, Dustin Johnson is the oldest member of this year’s US Ryder Cup team. This is his fifth appearance in the showpiece event, winning only one of his previous four (2016). He is the US player with the most matches played in the history of the tournament without a single half point (W7 L9).
- Dustin Johnson has secured a Top 10 finish in each of his two previous major participations at Whistling Straits: T-5th in 2010 (his first Top 5 at a major) and T-7th in 2015.
- This is Justin Thomas’ second Ryder Cup. He was the highest points scorer for the US in 2018, collecting four points out of a possible five. He’s only lost only one of his 12 fourballs/foursomes matches in the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup combined, collecting 10 points out of a possible 12.
- Bryson DeChambeau lost all three of his matches in his only previous Ryder Cup appearance in 2018. He was the only US player to remain scoreless alongside Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, whom he both partnered in 5&4 losses.
- Scottie Scheffler is one of five players to secure a Top 10 in at least three major tournaments this calendar year, alongside Jon Rahm (4), Brooks Koepka, Collin Morikawa and Louis Oosthuizen.
- Olympic gold medalist at this year’s men’s individual golf event, Xander Schauffele is making his Ryder Cup debut. He has finished in the Top 10 in 50% of his major appearances (9 out of 18).
- 2021 FedEx Cup winner and Ryder Cup debutant Patrick Cantlay was the joint-second best points scorer for Team USA in the last Presidents Cup, netting three points from a possible five and winning both of his foursomes with teammate Xander Schauffele.
- Only Patrick Cantlay (3) won more PGA Tour events in 2021 than Ryder Cup newcomer Harris English (2).
- At world ranking number 16, Ryder Cup debutant Daniel Berger is the second lowest ranked US player at this year’s tournament after Scottie Scheffler (21st). He won two points out of a possible three in his only previous professional team tournament appearance, the 2017 Presidents Cup.
- American captain Steve Stricker appeared in three Ryder Cups as a player, winning it at his first attempt in 2008 before losses in 2010 and 2012. He collected 3.5 points in his 11 matches, with 3 of those coming in the 2010 event in Wales – in fact, he amassed only 0.5 points out of a possible 7 on US soil.
Design by Briggs Clinard.