2018 Ryder Cup Preview

The REAL Super Bowl of golf is finally upon us.  The biannual Ryder Cup starts tomorrow and the United States looks to retain the coveted trophy created by Samuel Ryder.  In 2016 the US squad defeated the Europeans 17-11 behind the strong play of Patrick Reed.  In the 2016 Ryder Cup, Reed was only apart of one loss and that was when he and Spieth lost to Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson during the day one afternoon fourball.  Even more amazing, is that is Patrick Reed’s and Jordan Spieth’s only loss as a team in the Ryder Cup ever.

Team USA

Bryson DeChambeau*

Tony Finau*

Rickie Fowler

Dustin Johnson

Brooks Koepka

Phil Mickelson*

Patrick Reed

Webb Simpson

Jordan Spieth

Justin Thomas

Bubba Watson

Tiger Woods*

*Captains Pick

This year’s US squad is lead by captain Jim Furyk who is a first  year captain and this US squad is one the strongest ever.  Six US players are ranked in the top 10 in the world including world number one Dustin Johnson.  The US also lay claim to this years Master’s Champion (Patrick Reed) US Open Champion and PGA Champion (Brooks Kopeka) and Tour Chamionship winner (Tiger Woods).  The US are looking to win back to back Ryder Cup’s for the first time since they won three in a row in 1979-81-83.  And the last time the US won on European soil was back in 1993 when they won in England 15-13.

Ryder Cup, 2018 Ryder Cup Preview
Daily News

Team Europe

Paul Casey*

Tommy Fleetwood

Sergio Garcia*

Tyrell Hatton

Rory McIlroy

Francesco Molinari

Alex Noren

Thorbjorn Olesen

Ian Poulter*

Jon Rahm

Justin Rose

Henrik Stenson*

*Captains pick

A whole heap of Ryder Cup rookies on this year’s European team, five to be exact, but they do have the advantage.  Every year since 1991 (for the exception of two years) the French Open is played at Le Golf National in France where this year’s Ryder Cup is being held.  Every single player on this European team has played here and zero US players have ever played here.  Huge advantage for Europe.  A team that has struggled in putting a bit this year are certainly not to be taken lightly.  Team Europe has a knack for showing up big and making big putts in the Ryder Cup.

Friday Morning Fourballs

8:10am – Justin Rose and Jon Rahm vs. Tony Finau and Brooks Koepka

8:25am – Rory McIlroy and Thorbjorn Olesen vs. Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler

8:40am – Paul Casey and Tyrell Hatton vs. Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth

8:55am – Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood vs. Patrick Reed and Tiger Woods

What to Watch For

The first glaring thing is the Friday morning fourballs pairings were announced and one dynamic US duo was split up.  Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed.  These two have only lost once in the Ryder Cup together and have achieved 10 total points and were a force to be reckoned with.  But it seems that Patrick Reed was getting a bit fed up by Jordan Spieth and he voiced some of those “frustrations” earlier this year.  First was this cell phone footage of Reed poking fun at Jordan Spieth:

And then this:

The reporter asks: “What do you think his (Jordan Spieth’s) key strength is in match play?” and Patrick Reed responds with “I don’t know, my back still hurts from the last Ryder Cup.”

Safe to say that Furyk won’t pair them together anytime soon.  Whether this was just as a joke or not, these are two instances where Patrick Reed has had some choice words regarding Jordan Spieth.  Reed is an open player and isn’t afraid to speak his mind but yet we have another controversy on our hands with team USA.  They were however paired today in practice foursomes but for right now, it looks like Jim Furyk is going to keep them separated.  It’s too bad, they were quite the duo, now we’ll have to see if the US can stay strong with this pairing split up.

As for team Europe, can they use their knowledge of the course to their advantage early.  The Europeans have usually done well against the United States in fourball and foursomes and it’ll be key for the European squad to get off to a hot start this year as opposed to starting 0-4 like they did in 2016.  Even though the US has the stronger team on paper, the US hasn’t won in Europe since 93 and Tiger Woods has only been a part of one winning Ryder Cup team in his history.  Also with no US players playing at Le Golf National before, the slight edge goes to Europe here in 2018.

 

-Brian Berard (@CouchGuyBrian)

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