HomeRyder Cup: Europe and US Four Wives Friday at Whistling Straits

Ryder Cup: Europe and US Four Wives Friday at Whistling Straits

He will lead the European team with an all-Spanish duo of Sergio Garcia and John Ram
dates: 24-26 September place: Hyacinth Strait, Wisconsin
coverage: Live text coverage, clips and spotlights on the BBC Sport website and app; Listen to BBC Radio 5 Live, Sports Extra and BBC Sounds; Watch highlights on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer. Click here for full details

“Big for both sides,” Padraig Harrington said on Friday in the Ryder Cup opener after Europeans John Ram and Sergio Garcia faced off against Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas.

Garcia collected 25 points, the same as the entire American team, despite Spieth and Thomas winning three of their four games together in 2018.

“Everyone could have expected the former,” said Captain Europe Harrington.

“They’re doing their best, we’re doing our best, so let’s get started.”

World number one Ram said that coming out first for his team is a “great honor”, especially because he is playing with fellow Spaniard Garcia.

“It means the captain trusts me and whoever I’m with. We’re looking forward to starting in the right way,” said the 26-year-old Ram, who won the US Open in June to claim his first major.

“There is nothing better than being with my friend.

“The Spanish legacy is rooted in the Ryder Cup and I hope we start a new tradition,” he added, referring to the likes of Seif Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal.

Ryder Cup

The 43rd Ryder Cup, at Whistling Straits on the shore of Lake Michigan, will open with four-way games (alternate shot), with four four-way games in the second round on Friday. The pairs of those matches will be announced at the end of the quartet.

Harrington chose expertise for the last of the foursome, putting Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter together. They face American juniors Patrick Cantley and Xander Shuveli.

“I have 12 players who can play four-four, and there is no one on my team who cannot play four-four,” Harrington added.

“Everyone could play and it was hard to let people rest.”

The Irishman says his goal is to play with all 12 of his players on Friday. “Everyone gets a game, everyone should get a game on the first day,” he added.

“You have to get them out there and see how they enjoy the atmosphere and see how they progress.”

Poulter, one of Captain Harrington’s picks, plays in his seventh Ryder Cup. He and McIlroy won one of their four-legged matches when Europe clinched a 17½-10½ win at Le Golf National in Paris in 2018.

Cantlay won the PGA Tour end-of-season championship earlier this month — which also earned him a $15 million bonus as FedEx Cup champion — and was named Player of the Year by his fellow pros, while Shaveli won the Olympic title in Tokyo in October. August.

US Captain Steve Stryker, who is using four of his firsts in the opening session, says he feels “a great feeling” about his duets.

“Some teams have played together over the years, whether in the Ryder Cup or the Presidents Cup,” he said.

“We’re really excited about the way these guys play and their exit arrangement. It’s in their hands now and they’re excited to start playing.”

World Open champion Colin Morikawa is another rookie and world number two Dustin Johnson will play against England’s Paul Casey and Norway’s Victor Hovland, who at 24 is the youngest member of the European team.

Hovland is the only one of three newcomers in Europe to play in Friday’s opening session with Shane Lowry and Bernd Weisberger sitting.

Brooks Koepka, the four-time main champion, who said in the run-up to the event that he finds it difficult to play in the Ryder Cup because the event takes him out of his usual routine, playing with another player. He made his debut as Daniel Berger against the English duo Lee Westwood and Matt Fitzpatrick.

The three-day competition will see four games and four more balls played on Saturday, with 12 singles matches on Sunday, meaning there are 28 points to play for.

As the defending champion, Europe needs 14 points to retain the title, while the United States needs 14 points to reclaim the Gold Cup.

Europe has won nine of the past 12 Ryder Cups but hasn’t won on US soil since 2012’s “Miracle City”, with the hosts winning six of the past seven events.

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