Cover Will Team Europe be able to defend its crown against Team US, which is brimming with confidence and talent? (Photos: Rolex)

With the battle ground back on American soil, will Team US be able to regain top honours from Team Europe in Ryder Cup 2020?

Following the completion of the Tour Championship tournament in early September, the 2020-21 PGA Tour season has officially come to an end. It has been an interesting year with outstanding performances from different golfers throughout. Cases in point: American veteran golfer Phil Mickelson and Spaniard Jon Rahm, both of whom are Rolex Testimonees. The former made history by becoming the oldest winner of a major tournament when he won the PGA Championship in June, while the latter took the US Open as well as the PGA Player of the Year award for his brilliant performances this year. 

But come 24 to 26 September, both players will be on opposing sides at the bi-annual Ryder Cup, which pits the United States against Europe. Mickelson is the non-playing vice-captain of Team US, while Rahm will play for Team Europe. Each team has 12 golfers, of which a certain number qualify based on their performances from the 2019 to 2021seasons. The captains have the ability to choose suitable golfers to make up the rest of the team. For US, six golfers automatically qualified, so non-playing captain and Rolex Testimonee Steve Stricker chose another six more to make the team of 12. On the other hand, nine golfers qualified for Team Europe based on performances, so captain Padraig Harrington, also a Rolex Testimonee, only had to select three more players. 

Where

This edition of the Ryder Cup will be played at Whistling Straights in Wisconsin, USA. The defending champion is Team Europe, which won at Le Golf National in France in 2018 by 17-1/2 to 10-1/2. 

See also: The 5 Golfers Likely to Challenge Jon Rahm at The Open Championship 2021

Team US

Captained by Stricker aided by Mickelson and Fred Couples as vice-captains, the team comprises Collin Morikawa; Dustin Johnson; Bryson DeChambeau; Brooks Koepka; Justin Thomas; Patrick Cantlay; Daniel Berger; Harris English; Tony Finau; Xander Schauffele; Scottie Scheffler and Jordan Spieth. Within the team, Stricker, Mickelson, Couples, DeChambeau, Koepka, Thomas, Berger and Spieth are all Rolex Testimonees. 

Morikawa and Cantlay ended the season strong with tournament wins, while Koepka, DeChambeau and Spieth posted consistently impressive performances in 2021.

With so many players in red-hot form, Team Europe has its work cut out; retaining the trophy is definitely not a given.  

Team Europe

Led by Harrington, the team is ably assisted by vice-captains Henrik Stenson (Sweden); Robert Karlsson (Sweden); Luke Donald (UK); Martin Kaymer (Germany); and Graeme McDowell (Northern Ireland). The quintet boasts the experience of 19 Ryder Cup tournaments for Europe between them. 

Teeing off for the team are Rahm (Spain); Paul Casey (UK); Matt Fitzpatrick (UK); Tyrrell Hatton (UK); Tommy Fleetwood (UK); Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland); Viktor Hovland (Norway); Lee Westwood (UK); Bernd Wiesberger (Austria); Sergio Garcia (Spain); Shane Lowry (Ireland) and Ian Poulter (UK). 

The Rolex Testimonees in the European contingent include Harrington, Kaymer, Donald, Rahm, Casey and Fitzpatrick. 

What gives Team Europe the advantage is that besides the experience of the backroom staff, many of the golfers are Ryder Cup veterans with Westwood having played in 11 editions; Garcia (10); Mcllroy (6) and Casey (5). So this wealth of experience matched with the brilliance of the younger ones such as Rahm and Lowry hands Team USA a tall order. 

Format

During the tournament, each of the first two days includes one four-match session of four-ball and one four-match session of foursomes, while the final day is reserved for 12 singles matches.

In four-ball, each member of a two-man team plays his own ball. On every hole, there are four balls in play. Each team counts the lowest of its two scores on each hole, and the team whose player has the lowest score wins the hole. If the low scores are tied, the hole is halved.

As for foursomes, each two-man team plays one ball per hole with the players alternating until each hole is complete. One tees off on odd-numbered holes, and the other hits first on even-numbered ones. The team with the lower score on each hole wins that hole. If their scores are tied, the hole is halved.

As the word "singles" suggests, each singles match features one player from each team. The player with the lower score on each hole wins that hole. Likewise, if their scores are tied, the hole is halved.

Rolex's support for golf

Since 2014, Rolex has been closely associated with the Ryder Cup, supporting Team Europe and the tournament when it is played in Europe every four years. But from this year onwards, the Swiss watchmaker is the worldwide partner of The Ryder Cup, regardless of whether it is held in US or Europe. It is also the presenting partner of the weekly Ryder Cup points standings that determine which players qualify automatically for the teams. The Ryder Cup is unique because it takes a team effort, an element that is typically missing from the individualistic nature of golf. Also, no prize money is awarded, which means the American and European elite golfers are slugging it out for honour, passion and camaraderie. 

Besides the Ryder Cup, Rolex also supports all the major tournaments for men's and women's golf. It also partners other prestigious events, players and organisations in golf and encourages the development of the game worldwide. Its contribution to excellence in the sport is based on a rich heritage stretching back more than 50 years.

See also: 5 Golfers to Look Out for at Amundi Evian Championship 2021

 

© 2022 Tatler Asia Limited. All rights reserved.