Ryder Cup Returns After Year Off for COVID-19

The stage is set.

The Ryder Cup 2020 — which is taking place in 2021 after it was canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19 — is set to begin this Friday at Whistling Straits in Sheboygan, Wis. 

The Ryder Cup is the single greatest golf event. The best in the United States and the best in Europe compete for their continent’s glory in a match play format throughout the three days. The event occurs every two years, which makes it even more special when it comes around. 

The Europeans have dominated the twenty-first century, winning seven of the last nine Ryder Cups. For some reason, the U.S. team can’t find the right strategy to win. The United States has the best golfers by far. In the current World Golf Rankings, nine out of the top 11 are from the United States. Only 12 of the top 50 players in the world are European. 

That is the story going into this Ryder Cup. Why can’t the United States win? We have guys like Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth, all household names in the golfing world who typically dominate golf tournaments on the PGA Tour. The only dominant golfers the United States will face are Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy, the rest being pretty uninspiring when you compare them to the firepower on the U.S. side. 

It’s the team play that hurts the United States. The Europeans are built on this special camaraderie and chemistry. Guys like Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia, who are both over 40 and are certainly not at the peak of their careers, live for the Ryder Cup. They have a combined 26-13-6 record, and they bring incredible energy to the tournament, which makes a huge difference. 

Brooks Koepka commented on the Ryder Cup in an interview with Golf Digest.

“It’s different. It’s hectic. It’s a bit odd if I’m honest. I don’t want to say it’s a bad week. We’re just so individualized,” Koepka said. “You have to change the way you think about things. You go from an individual sport all the time to a team sport one week a year.” 

It really seems like Koepka and the USA team do not care as much about the Ryder Cup as the Europeans. I get Koepka’s shtick — he’s this casual, cool guy, which I do like. But why this attitude? The Ryder Cup is one of the best events in golf. It gives you the chance to play with your fellow countrymen, have a ton of fun and defeat the Europeans who have absolutely dominated you. That’s gotta feel good, right?

Then you have DeChambeau, whose hands are “wrecked” as he’s been preparing for the world long drive championship, not the Ryder Cup. It all blows my mind. It seems like no one cares and everyone is focused on themselves. 

The United States team is simply not as close as the Europeans. They are all focused on themselves and not on each other, nor on developing chemistry or camaraderie. There’s so much tension in that locker room due to past histories and it’s a team event. So why should they win this time around at Whistling Straits? They have the individual firepower, but not nearly the team strength that the Europeans have year in and year out.