2023 Ryder Cup: Predictions, picks for U.S. vs. Europe

by Joanne Miller

Team USA is hoping for a turnaround in the 44th Ryder Cup as they aim to end their 30-year drought in winning a road match. The Americans suffered a crushing defeat at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin in 2021, losing 19-9 to Europe. This was the worst defeat for the Europeans since players from outside Great Britain and Ireland were allowed to compete in the Ryder Cup in 1979.

To improve their chances, Team USA has made some changes, fielding a young and talented team. In fact, the American team that defeated Europe in 2021 was the youngest team the US had ever put forward in the biennial competition. However, winning on European soil has proven to be a challenge for the Americans, as they haven’t won a road match in three decades.

Team USA captain, Zach Johnson, acknowledges the difficulty of the task ahead. He states, “What happened in Wisconsin, we learn from it. But it’s done, and this is an entirely different team and an entirely different venue, obviously an entirely different continent. It’s going to be more trying. It’s going to be more difficult.”

The European team, on the other hand, has a strong record at home, having not lost a home match since 1993. This is a significant advantage for them and they will be looking to continue their winning streak. The European team consists of a mix of experienced players and talented rookies, with four rookies making their debut in the Ryder Cup.

Team Europe will be capitalizing on their familiarity with each other’s game and the course at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club. They have also set up the course to suit their strategy of getting wedges and short irons out of the Americans’ hands. The rough will be long, the fairways narrow, and the Europeans want to make it a battle of the mid-irons to long-range irons and on the greens.

However, there are some weaknesses in Team Europe’s line-up. They are missing key players like Ian Poulter, Graeme McDowell, Sergio Garcia, and Lee Westwood, who have been stalwarts for the team in the past. This means that there will be unfamiliar pairings in the European team, and they have a tendency to blow hot and cold over the course of a weekend. Additionally, the upheaval in the lead-up to the tournament, with the loss of captain Henrik Stenson, may have affected their preparation.

Both teams have their standout players who are expected to make a significant impact. For Team Europe, Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm are the heavyweights who will be crucial for their success. McIlroy is seeking redemption after a disappointing performance in the 2021 Ryder Cup, where he failed to win a point in the first two days. Rahm, on the other hand, has the experience of being the top scorer for Europe at Whistling Straits two years ago.

In Team USA, the roster is filled with top-ranked players who are expected to dominate. Their average Official World Golf Ranking is 12.9, with each player ranked in the top 25. The strong lineup includes players like Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, and Bryson DeChambeau.

The 44th Ryder Cup promises to be an exciting contest between two talented and motivated teams. While Team Europe has the advantage of playing at home and a remarkable winning record, Team USA is determined to end their road match drought. It will be interesting to see how the players perform under pressure and whether Team USA can overcome the odds to secure a victory.

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