The 2021 Ryder Cup matches at Whistling Straits, Wisconsin begin Friday, and curious minds must wonder if U.S. captain Steve Stricker has picked the right players?
What is obvious is the fact that six American players – Daniel Berger, Scottie Schleffler, Harris English, Xander Sc Chaudle, Patrick Cantlay and Collin Morikawa – were competing in their first Ryder Cup competition. This means that the American team is made up half of Ryder Cup rookies.
The team’s “veterans” – Jordan Spieth, Tony Finau, Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau and Dustin Johnson – are household names in American golf.
The most notable absence from the squad is Phil Mickelson, who won the PGA 2021, but his overall performance this season didn’t deserve a place in the Ryder Cup, at least in Stricker’s eyes. If it was a fan vote, Mickelson likely would have made the US team.
Counter that with the European roster, which has just three rookies – Viktor Hovland from Norway, Bernd Wiesberger from Austria and Shane Lowry from Ireland. The “veterans” of the Euro are Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia, both Spanish; Rory McElroy from Northern Ireland; and six Britons, Tommy Fleetwood, Paul Casey, Lee Westwood, Matt Fitzpatrick, Tyrell Hatton and Ian Poulter.
The advantage of the United States is that it is the home team, and many of that team have been at Whistling Straits for the past two weeks learning how to play on this course.
The European advantage is that they have experienced Ryder Cup players, who have won more Ryder Cup matches than they lost, and they are confident that they can win the cup on American soil. .
Don’t be fooled by the fact that the gallery will be heavily American citizen, which will make a lot of noise for its team. This will not shake this experienced European team.
Pay more attention to players’ Ryder Cup records. The six Americans with Ryder Cup experience have a compiled game record of 23 wins, 22 losses and three draws. The nine Euros who have Ryder Cup experience have recorded 77 wins, 55 losses and 24 draws. This equates to 48 Ryder Cup rounds of golf for the Americans, while the Europeans have participated in 156 Ryder Cup games.
Johnson has the most Ryder Cup games for the United States, with seven wins and nine losses, followed by Spieth (7-5-2)
Then there is Europe with Westwood (20-18-6), Garcia (22-12-7) McElroy (11-9-4) and Poulter (14-6-2). All four of them have more Ryder Cup journey times than any of the Americans – by far.
If there will be a “field advantage” for the American team, the Americans are going to have to play some great golf because the Europeans will not be intimidated by the crowds. Good luck, Yankees!
If you’re interested in PGA Tour stats, here are a few that jump out at you:
• The average PGA Tour player earned $ 1,485,055 in the 2020-21 season, the highest on record, with 2018 ($ 1,329,295) being the previous average record.
• The all-time record for an individual season in terms of “official money” is Jordan Spieth in 2015 ($ 12,030,465), and more often the best winner of the season, of course, is Tiger Woods, who accomplished this 10 times between 1997 and 2013. What might surprise you is that VJ Singh was the top silver winner three times during this Tiger run.
The Maine State Golf Association will be hosting men’s play days on October 1-2 in Waterville, while a women’s play day will be held on September 28 at Webhannet and Fox Ridge.
This will be the last “Par For The Course” column for the 2021 season. Once again, this writer has had the privilege of providing golf news and insight to readers of The Sun Journal.
Bill Kennedy, a retired New Jersey golf writer and editor now residing on Thompson Lake in Otisfield, is in his ninth season as a golf columnist for the Sun Journal.
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