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golf's world cup Ryder Cup explainer: TV times, the Irish in action and everything you need to know


Team Europe

Team Europe

Team Europe

The Ryder Cup is finally upon us after a year delay due to the Covid 19 pandemic as Padraig Harrington’s Europe take on the USA at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.


Sky Sports have exclusive rights in Ireland with coverage starting at 1pm on Friday and Saturday and 5pm on Sunday.

You can follow every shot on our live blog on Independent.ie.



Jon Rahm (Spain)

Age: 26

Caps: 1 (2018)

Record: Won 1, Lost 2, Halved 0

Majors: 1 (2021 US Open)

Won his first major title at Torrey Pines in June, just 15 days after being forced to withdraw from the Memorial Tournament when leading by six shots after 54 holes due to a positive Covid test. Also missed the Olympics in Tokyo after testing positive again before heading to Japan. Won just one of his three matches in Paris in 2018 but it was a vital one, beating Tiger Woods in the singles.

Viktor Hovland (Norway)

Age: 23

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Caps: 0

Majors: 0

The first Norwegian to represent Europe in the Ryder Cup, Hovland has enjoyed a rapid rise up the world rankings since turning professional thanks to two wins on the PGA Tour and a maiden European Tour title in the BMW International in June. Was undefeated in the Jacques Leglise Trophy in 2015 and won the US Amateur Championship in 2018.

Tommy Fleetwood (England)

Age: 30

Caps: 1 (2018)

Record: Won 4, Lost 1, Halved 0

Majors: 0

Made his debut in 2018 and partnered Francesco Molinari to four wins, three of them against an American pairing containing Woods. Ran out of steam in the singles and was beaten 6&4 by Tony Finau, and will also need a new partner in Wisconsin with Molinari not making the team. Looked to be hitting form at the right time with second place in the penultimate qualifying event in Italy.

Rory McIlroy (Ireland)

Age: 32

Caps: 5 (2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018)

Record: Won 11, Lost 9, Halved 4

Majors: 4 (2011 US Open, 2012 US PGA, 2014 Open, 2014 US PGA)

Won for the first time since November 2019 at the Wells Fargo Championship in May. Had a chance to win the US Open at Torrey Pines before eventually finishing seventh and also missed out in the seven-man play-off for Olympic bronze. Admits he ran out of steam in his epic singles contest against Patrick Reed at Hazeltine in 2016 and also lost to Justin Thomas in Paris, so captain Padraig Harrington may be wise to rest him from one of the sessions.

Paul Casey (England)

Age: 44

Caps: 4 (2004, 2006, 2008, 2018)

Record: Won 4, Lost 3, Halved 5

Majors: 0

Returned to the side after a 10-year absence in Paris in 2018 after being given a wild card by captain Thomas Bjorn. Won one of his two fourball matches alongside Tyrrell Hatton and halved with four-time major winner Brooks Koepka in the singles. Won the Dubai Desert Classic in January and lost out in a play-off for the bronze medal in the Olympics.

Tyrrell Hatton (England)

Age: 29

Caps: 1 (2018)

Record: Won 1, Lost 2, Halved 0

Majors 0

Won for the first time on the PGA Tour in March 2020 at the prestigious Arnold Palmer Invitational and then claimed the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in October, three days before celebrating his 29th birthday. Started 2021 with victory in Abu Dhabi to effectively secure a second Ryder Cup appearance. Won one of his two matches alongside Paul Casey in Paris before losing to Patrick Reed in the singles.

Lee Westwood (England)

Age: 48

Caps: 10 (1997, 1999, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016)

Record: Won 20, Lost 18, Halved 6

Majors: 0

Had to settle for being a vice-captain in 2018, ending his streak of 10 straight appearances and putting in jeopardy his chances of equalling Sir Nick Faldo’s record of 11. However, victory in Abu Dhabi in 2020 helped him win the Race to Dubai for the third time. Second in the Arnold Palmer Invitational and Players Championship in March but eventually held on to the final qualifying place by just 9.3 points.

Matt Fitzpatrick (England)

Age: 27

Caps: 1 (2016)

Record: Won 0, Lost 2, Halved 0

Majors: 0

Endured an unhappy debut at Hazeltine in 2016, sitting out the opening day and then losing his foursomes match with Henrik Stenson on Saturday before being sent out last in the singles and suffering a 4&3 defeat to Zach Johnson. Won the DP World Tour Championship for the second time in December 2020 and lost out in a play-off for the Scottish Open in July.

Bernd Wiesberger (Austria)

Age: 35

Caps: 0

Majors: 0

Looked set to move into the automatic qualifying places by winning the Omega European Masters, only to double bogey the 72nd hole and lose by a shot. Went into the final qualifying event needing at least a top-50 finish to make the team and recovered from being three over par after six holes on day one to finish in a tie for 20th.


Ian Poulter (England)

Age: 45

Caps: 6 (2004, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2018)

Record: Won 14, Lost 6, Halved 2

Majors: 0

Nicknamed ‘The Postman’ because he always delivers a point, Poulter was forced to settle for a vice-captaincy role in 2016 due to injury and looked to have lost his PGA Tour card in 2017 before a mistake in the way his points had been calculated was spotted by a fellow player. Without a win since the 2018 Houston Open and missed the cut in the final qualifying event at Wentworth.

Sergio Garcia (Spain)

Age: 41

Caps: 9 (1999, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018)

Record: Won 22, Lost 12, Halved 7

Majors: 1 (2017 Masters)

A talismanic figure for Europe, so much so that he was brought in as a vice-captain by Colin Montgomerie in 2010 despite becoming disenchanted with golf and taking a two-month break from playing. Was out of form when given a wild card in 2018 but justified it in style with three wins from four matches to become Europe’s leading points scorer in the contest.

Shane Lowry (Ireland)

Age: 34

Caps: 0

Majors: 1 (2019 Open)

Went into the last event in the final automatic qualifying place but was pushed out by Wiesberger and was unable to finish in the top eight to displace Lee Westwood, starting the final round in a tie for seventh but only managing a closing 71. Made no secret of his desire to qualify for the team, but was keen to qualify on merit and save his good friend Harrington from having to give him a wild card.



Collin Morikawa

Age: 24

Caps: 0

Majors: 2 (2020 US PGA, 2021 Open)

Morikawa was still a university student in his native California at the time of the last Ryder Cup, turning professional in June 2019 and starting his PGA Tour with 22 consecutive made cuts, just three short of the record held by Tiger Woods. A brilliant iron player, Morikawa became the first player to capture two different majors on the first attempt with his Open victory at Royal St George’s.

Dustin Johnson

Age: 37

Caps: 4 (2010, 2012, 2016, 2018)

Record: Won 7 Lost 9 Halved 0

Majors: 2 (US Open 2016, Masters 2020)

Played all five matches for the first time in 2018, but only won one point in the opening morning’s fourballs alongside Rickie Fowler. Won the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup title in 2020 and followed up by claiming his second major title in November with a record-breaking victory in the Masters, shooting 20 under par at Augusta National.

Bryson DeChambeau

Age: 28

Caps: 1 (2018)

Record: Won 0 Lost 3 Halved 0

Majors: 1 (2020 US Open)

Bulked up during the coronavirus shutdown and subsequently overpowered Winged Foot to win the US Open in September 2020. Was likened to an eight-year-old by his own club manufacturer after complaining that his driver “sucks” during this year’s Open and has been subject to taunts from spectators who have taken team-mate Brooks Koepka’s side in their ongoing spat. Lost all three matches on his debut in Paris.

Brooks Koepka

Age: 31

Caps: 2 (2016, 2018)

Record: Won 4 Lost 3 Halved 1

Majors: 4 (US Open 2017-18, US PGA 2018-19)

Since winning three points from four matches on his debut in 2016, Koepka became the first player since Curtis Strange in 1989 to win back-to-back US Open titles and also won the US PGA in both 2018 and 2019. Reportedly fell out with Dustin Johnson in the aftermath of the 2018 defeat in Paris, during which Koepka’s errant tee shot hit a female spectator who lost the sight in one eye as a result.

Justin Thomas

Age: 28

Caps: 1 (2018)

Record: Won 4 Lost 1 Halved 0

Majors: 1 (2017 US PGA)

The stand-out performer for the US on his debut in Paris in 2018, Thomas won four points from his five matches at Le Golf National. Only the star European pairing of Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari were able to get the better of Thomas and Jordan Spieth, with Thomas also leading from the front by beating Rory McIlroy in the opening singles.

Patrick Cantlay

Age: 29

Caps: 0

Majors: 0

Claimed his place on the team in some style, shooting 27 under par in the BMW Championship before beating DeChambeau in a six-hole play-off to claim his third win of the season. Good friends with Xander Schauffele and the pair are likely to resume their Presidents Cup partnership from 2019, which produced two wins from four matches.


Jordan Spieth

Age: 28

Caps: 3 (2014, 2016, 2018)

Record: Won 7 Lost 5 Halved 2

Majors: 3 (Masters 2015, US Open 2015, Open 2017)

Won two-and-a-half points from three matches with Patrick Reed in 2014 and the same from their four together in 2016, but partnered Thomas – much to Reed’s unhappiness – in Paris and claimed three wins from four matches before losing 5&4 to Thorbjorn Olesen in the singles. Went almost four years without a victory before winning the Valero Texas Open in April.

Tony Finau

Age: 32

Caps: 1 (2018)

Record: Won 2 Lost 1 Halved 0

Majors: 0

A five-year wait for his second PGA Tour title, which had been immortalised with an affectionate song parody, finally came to an end in the first FedEx Cup play-off event in August with a play-off win over Cameron Smith. A hugely-popular figure who shared 10th in the 2018 Masters despite dislocating his ankle when celebrating a hole-in-one during the par-three contest. Given a wild card in 2018 and thrashed European star Fleetwood 6&4 in the singles.

Xander Schauffele

Age: 27

Caps: 0

Majors: 0

Made four straight birdies in the final round of the 2021 Masters to close within two of eventual winner Hideki Matsuyama, only to hit his tee shot on the 16th into the water and run up a triple-bogey. Had the consolation of claiming a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics – his grandparents live in the city – after getting up and down for par on the 72nd hole to win by one.

Harris English

Age: 32

Caps: 0

Majors: 0

Fourth and third in the US Open in the last two years, English followed his strong showing at Torrey Pines in June by winning his fourth PGA Tour title the following week at the Travelers Championship. Also won the Sentry Tournament of Champions in January.

Daniel Berger

Age: 28

Caps: 0

Majors: 0

Won his fourth PGA Tour title in the Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February with an eagle on the final hole, but also impressed in the majors in 2021. Finished seventh in the US Open at Torrey Pines and eighth in the Open Championship at Royal St George’s.

Scottie Scheffler

Age: 25

Caps: 0

Majors: 0

Shot 59 in the second round of the Northern Trust in 2020 but went on to finish fourth and has yet to win on the PGA Tour, although he has also enjoyed an impressive year in the majors. After finishing 18th in the Masters, Scheffler recorded top-10 finishes in the US PGA, US Open and Open Championship and his length off the tee will be an advantage at Whistling Straits.


Each of the first two days includes one four-match session of fourball and one four-match session of foursomes. The final day is reserved for 12 singles matches.


In four-ball, each member of a two-man team plays his own ball, so four balls are in play on every hole. 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.


In foursomes, each two-man team plays one ball per hole with the players taking turns until each hole is complete. Players alternate hitting tee shots, with one leading off on odd-numbered holes, and the other hitting first on even-numbered holes. The team with the low score on each hole wins that hole. If their scores are tied, the hole is halved.


In singles, each match features one player from each team. The player with the lower score on each hole wins that hole. If their scores are tied, the hole is halved.


Each match is worth one point, with matches ending in a tie worth ½ point to each side. The first team to reach 14 ½ points wins the Ryder Cup. If the matches end in a 14-14 tie, the team holding the Ryder Cup retains it.

Hole-by-hole guide to Whistling Straits, venue for the 43rd Ryder Cup from September 24-26.

1st (Outward Bound), 364 yards, par 4: Anything left off the tee flirts with bunkers and dunes, while the green has deep bunkers short left and long.

2nd (Cross Country), 593 yards, par 5: Going left makes the second shot blind. A deep pot bunker is situated 35 yards short of a narrow green bordered by bunkers left and a swale right.

3rd (O’Man), 181 yards, par 3: Perched amid dunes with Lake Michigan on the left. Finding the green is not the end of the problems as it is huge and undulating.

4th (Glory), 489 yards, par 4: Bunkers and dunes drop off quickly towards the lake, but there is trouble right as well and the green is slightly elevated.

5th (Snake), 603 yards, par 5: Water either side of the fairway and then a decision has to be made on how far players think they can carry their second towards the shallow green.

6th (Gremlin’s Ear), 355 yards, par 4: Short dogleg right that some may attempt to drive, although a deep pot bunker guards the front of another slender – and undulating – green.

7th (Shipwreck), 221 yards, par 3: Lake Michigan is on the right this time, while left is a large hillside layered with sand bunkers. Spectacular, but with its length, tough too.

8th (On The Rocks), 507 yards, par 4: A blind drive with dunes, bunkers and Lake Michigan below on the right. The water then forms a backdrop to a deep green with dunes and bunkers left and right.

9th (Down and Dirty), 446 yards, par 4: Seven Mile Creek and a series of narrow sand bunkers line the right side of the hump-backed green and going left is to be avoided as well.

10th (Voyageur), 361 yards, par 4: The bold take driver and go over the drop-off as close to the left side of the fairway edge as they can, but there are small and deep bunkers short left of the green.

11th (Sand Box), 479 yards, par 4: Anything straying right will be swallowed by sand dunes, bunkers and another drop-off. Then there is the huge bunker 100 yards out which gives the hole its name.

12th (Pop Up), 143 yards, par 3: Perhaps the toughest green on the course. The hole plays downhill with a big fall away to the dunes and the lake short or right.

13th (Cliff Hanger), 404 yards, par 4: Trouble lurks to the right of the fairway, but the approach is the really dangerous one with the great lake just off the green.

14th (Widow’s Watch), 401 yards, par 4: Going left leaves a blind second to a green which has deep sand bunkers right, left and beyond.

15th (Grand Strand), 518 yards, par 4: A really demanding par four where the drive has to avoid sunken sand dunes to the right and the approach carries more dunes.

16th (Endless Bite), 552 yards, par 5: The shortest of three monster par fives. Lake Michigan is to the left and there is another carry over dunes and bunkers for those trying to reach the green in two.

17th (Pinched Nerve), 223 yards, par 3: The green is guarded left by sand dunes and bunkers that fall 20 feet below green level, with Lake Michigan beyond. One of the most treacherous par threes in the world of golf.

18th (Dyeabolical), 515 yards, par 4: Named after designer Pete Dye. A tough drive, but the approach is truly intimidating across Seven Mile Creek, while the green allows for some nasty pin positions.

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