Ryder Cup 2021: Sports writers look ahead to competition
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After an extra year of waiting, the Ryder Cup is back and European fans will be chomping at the bit to cheer on their favourites as they try to retain their title on foreign soil. Team Europe had intended to defend the trophy last year, but the competition was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The European side has won seven of the nine tournaments played since the turn of the millennium, including two victories over the US team in their own back yard.
The most recent of those was in 2012, when Jose Maria Olazabal’s side pulled off the Miracle at Medinah – coming back from losing 10-4 at one point on Saturday afternoon to win by a mere point after Sunday’s singles matches.
A side led by Thomas Bjorn won emphatically at Le Golf National near Paris three years ago, and will be defending that title this weekend under the captaincy of Padraig Harrington.
Here are all the details of what you need to know and how you can watch the 2021 Ryder Cup:
When and where is the Ryder Cup?
The opening ceremony will kick off the event on Thursday evening, before the golf action begins the following day.
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Four foursome matches and four fourball matches will be played on Friday, and the format is repeated on day two. Play is scheduled to begin at 1.05pm UK time on both days.
On Sunday, the final day, the team events are over and 12 singles matches are played to decide the final outcome of the competition.
The singles matches begin at 5.05pm, with each match teeing off at 11-minute intervals. Play is expected to conclude at around 11pm, before a closing ceremony brings an end to the affair.
It’s being played at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin, a coastal links-style course which sits on the banks of Lake Michigan and is exposed to the elements.
The wind may well be an important factor in proceedings.
Team Europe: Who’s playing?
World number one Jon Rahm is joined by Tyrrell Hatton, Tommy Fleetwood and Bernd Weisberger in having qualified through the European points list.
The world points list also saw Rory McIlroy, Viktor Hovland, Paul Casey, Matt Fitzpatrick and Lee Westwood qualify.
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And Padraig’s Harrington’s captain’s picks to fill the final three slots are Sergio Garcia, Shane Lowry and Ryder Cup specialist Ian Poulter.
Team USA: Who’s playing?
Steve Stricker chose to reserve six places for his own liking, with the other half-dozen coming from the top-ranked American players in the world rankings.
Collin Morikawa, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas and Patrick Cantlay all qualified for the team automatically.
And Stricker decided to add Daniel Berger, Harris English, Tony Finau, Xander Schauffele, Scottie Scheffler and Jordan Spieth to his roster.
Team Europe vs Team USA: Who’s the favourite?
Eight of the current top 10 players in the world rankings are on Team USA, making the American side stronger on paper.
And Covid rules restricting European fans flying across the pond means there will be even fewer fans than usual cheering on the visitors in Wisconsin.
But questions remain over apparent unrest in the American ranks, with a well-publicised feud between Koepka and DeChambeau being the main talking point.
And Team Europe have Ian Poulter, who seems to always find another level when it comes to this competition.
How can I watch the Ryder Cup on TV in the UK?
Sky Sports have the rights to broadcast the tournament, and will have a dedicated Ryder Cup channel to show all its coverage.
Build up begins at 11am on the first two days and at 2pm on Sunday, preceded by a three-hour Ryder Cup Brunch show on Saturday and Sunday.
You will also be able to stream all the action through Sky or Now TV on devices connected to the internet.
If you don’t subscribe to Sky, you can still catch two hours’ worth of highlights on BBC Two after the conclusion of the live action on each day.
And Express Sport will be keeping you posted of all the results and big talking points throughout the tournament.
Follow our new Daily Express Sport Instagram page here.
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