Ah, the Ryder Cup — the most electric atmosphere in all of golf and one of the rare opportunities for PGA Tour players to compete for their country instead of themselves. The 2021 edition is just over a month away, so the U.S. and European teams are starting to materialize as the PGA Tour enters the FedEx Cup Playoffs.
Let’s take a look at what the current rosters look like and try to predict who might earn captain’s picks for the biannual competition.
The 2021 Ryder Cup tees off next month
The 43rd Ryder Cup was originally scheduled for 2020, but COVID-19 forced the PGA of America to postpone the event. A year later, the Ryder Cup is set to return on Sept. 21 at iconic Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wis.
It’s been a tough stretch for the U.S. team of late, as the Americans have lost nine of the last 12 and four of the last five competitions. Maybe a return to home soil after an embarrassing 17½–10½ loss at Le Golf National in 2018 will be just what they need to get back on track. Their only win in the last decade came at Hazeltine National Golf Club in 2016.
Collin Morikawa and Dustin Johnson to star on U.S. team
For this year’s Ryder Cup, the roster-building process will be a bit different than normal. Instead of eight automatic qualifiers and four captain’s picks, only six players on the U.S. side will automatically qualify for the event and the remaining six will be chosen by the team captain Steve Stricker.
There’s still some room for reshuffling with two tournaments left to earn Ryder Cup points, but let’s take a look at the six players who would make the U.S. team if the competition started tomorrow.
Morikawa will make his Ryder Cup debut this year as the top points-getter on the U.S. team, and he might be just what the squad needs to break out of its funk. The 24-year-old has already won two majors in just eight tries. He seems to play his best golf under the brightest lights, so he could be the star of the show at Whistling Straits.
Johnson is the only other American who’s already punched his ticket to Whistling Straits. The No. 2-ranked golfer in the world sports a 7-9-0 career record in the Ryder Cup, but he’s simply unbeatable when he’s on his A-game. Team USA will need DJ at peak form next month.
DeChambeau is set to make another Ryder Cup team in 2021 after recording two wins on the PGA Tour this season. He might not be the biggest fan-favorite on the roster, but his monster drives and reliable putting will give the U.S. team a decisive advantage in foursomes matches.
Uh oh. DeChambeau and Koepka at the same golf course… at the same time… on the same team?? This should be interesting to watch. Let’s hope Stricker has a sense of humor and pairs them together at Whistling Straits.
Thomas was one of the lone bright spots for the U.S. team in the 2018 Ryder Cup. He went 4-1-1 in six matches and scored nearly half of the team’s total points throughout the week. The 28-year-old is a fierce competitor who isn’t afraid of the moment, and he’ll be a star again for the Red, White, and Blue.
Schauffele is another Ryder Cup rookie that American fans should be excited about this year. He’s one of the most well-rounded golfers in the world, and he just won the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics. He’ll be an important factor at Whistling Straits.
Jon Rahm heads European squad
So, now you know the top six players who will most likely be representing the U.S. team at Whistling Straits. What about the European team?
Let’s check ’em out.
No. 1 player in the world. U.S. Open champion. Most top-10 finishes of any player on Tour this season. Rahm should be the most feared player on the European team in 2021. Enough said.
Fleetwood just lost his PGA Tour card after missing out on the FedEx Cup Playoffs, but that shouldn’t distract you from his Ryder Cup prowess. The Englishman went 4-1-0 in 2018, and he should be a top scorer for the Europeans again this time around.
Hatton might not be the biggest name on the European team this year, but he’s actually the 13th-ranked player in the OWGR. Don’t sleep on the fiery Englishman.
Now here’s a name you’ll definitely know. McIlroy has competed in the last five Ryder Cups, and he’s gone 11-9-4 in his 24 career matches played. Always a dangerous opponent.
Fitzpatrick is another lesser-known name on the European squad, but he’s been one of the more consistent players on the PGA Tour for quite some time. In his lone Ryder Cup appearance, he went 0-2-0, so maybe he’s the weak link for Europe this year.
It’s never a bad thing to have a veteran around during Ryder Cup week. Casey has been a member of the PGA Tour since 2005, and he has 21 professional wins to his name. He sports a 4-3-5 record in his Ryder Cup career.
Predicting captain’s picks for the 2021 Ryder Cup
Stricker has a tough job this year with six captain’s picks at his disposal, whereas European captain Padraig Harrington only needs to make three. There will surely be a slew of players left off both teams that deserve to be at Whistling Straits this year, but some hard cuts will have to be made.
Let’s take a look at our captain’s pick predictions for each team.