The 2021 Ryder Cup: Dave Tindall's guide to the action at Whistling Straits

Ryder Cup trophy
The delayed 2021 Ryder Cup will take place at Whistling Straits

From the new date, to the host venue, to the number of wildcards, to the current betting, Dave Tindall has everything you need to know for the 2021 Ryder Cup...

"While Europe have dominated over the last 20 years, it's been much more of a contest on American soil, with the United States holding a slight edge starting from 1999."

Golf did incredibly well to keep its two main tours going on a weekly basis when the action returned last summer.

There were numerous challenges to overcome and, after an initial culture shock, the players even adapted to the lack of fans.

All three US-based majors were squeezed in but the decision to postpone the Ryder Cup until 2021 was a wise one.

That tournament, more than any other in golf, relies on spectators to give it jolts of electricity.

Coping with the intense atmosphere - especially all the shenanigans around the first tee - is a requirement for every player. Taking that element away and a huge chunk of the experience is diminished.

So it's back to an odd-numbered Ryder Cup year for the first time since 1999. The 2001 event, of course, was postponed due to 9/11 so the last nine have been played in even-numbered years.

And hopefully, if the coronavirus vaccines have allowed a return to normal, come September we should have a full house for the 43rd edition. Lots of fans shouting stuff that perhaps we won't get quite as worked up about as before. Then again...

2021 Ryder Cup facts

When: September 24-26, 2021
Where: Whistling Straits, Haven, Wisconsin
The Course: Par 72, 7,790 yards
Designer: Pete Dye
Course record: 63 (Hiroshi Iwata, 2015 PGA Championship)
How to watch: All three days on Sky Sports


Day 1 (Friday) - 4 x foursomes and 4 x fourballs
Day 2 (Saturday) - 4 foursomes and 4 x fourballs
Day 3 (Sunday) - 12 x singles

* Order of Day 1 and 2 foursomes/fourballs to be decided

Team captains

Steve Stricker Padraig Harrington Ryder Cup.jpg

USA - Captain: Steve Stricker
Vice captains: Jim Furyk, Zach Johnson, Davis Love III

Europe - Captain: Padraig Harrington
Vice captains: Robert Karlsson, Luke Donald

Qualification process for players

USA: All points earned by USA players since qualification began in 2019 will continue to be recognised. The USA selection criteria will now extend through the second 2021 FedEx Cup Playoff event (BMW Championship). The top six players on the points list secure spots on the USA team. Previously it had been the top eight. The remaining six players will be wildcards. Stricker will announce his picks following the 2021 Tour Championship. Previously, the captain was to select four players.

Europe: The leading four Members on The Ryder Cup European Points List on Sunday, 12th September 2021 (or as at the conclusion of the BMW PGA Championship, whichever is the latter and so long as such tournament concludes no later than Monday 13th September 2021). The leading five Members, not otherwise qualified, on The Ryder Cup World Points List on Sunday, 12th September 2021 (or as at the conclusion of the BMW PGA Championship). Harrington will choose three wildcard picks in the week commencing Monday 13th September.

In summary then...

USA: six qualify, six wildcard picks
Europe: nine qualify, three wildcard picks

We can't predict the 24 players just yet but it's worth looking at which players currently occupy the chosen spots...

Line-ups if Ryder Cup was taking place at start of January

USA: Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, Collin Morikawa, Xander Schauffele + six wildcards

Europe: Tommy Fleetwood, Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Victor Perez, Tyrrell Hatton, Danny Willett, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Lee Westwood, Bernd Wiesberger + three wildcards

Records of leading players at Whistling Straits

We also have some course form as Whistling Straits staged the 2010 and 2015 US PGA Championships:

Dustin Johnson - 7th (2015), 5th (2010)
Bryson DeChambeau - Not played
Justin Thomas - 18th (2015)
Brooks Koepka - 5th (2015)
Collin Morikawa - Not played
Xander Schauffele - Not played

Tommy Fleetwood - MC (2015)
Jon Rahm - Not played
Rory McIlroy - 17th (2015), 3rd (2010)
Victor Perez - DNP
Tyrrell Hatton - 25th (2015)
Danny Willett - 54th (2015), MC (2010)
Matthew Fitzpatrick - Not played
Lee Westwood - 43rd (2015). Also MC in 2004 PGA
Bernd Wiesberger - MC (2015)

Whistling Straits course.jpg

Rory has done well at Whistling Straits but the other Europeans have a patchy record. As you might expect on such a long course, the top big-hitting Americans have thrived there. Tony Finau also made the top 10 in 2015 while Bubba Watson made a play-off in 2010. That US PGA was won by Martin Kaymer so Harrington will surely have that in mind if the German hasn't qualified but is playing well enough to be considered for a wildcard.

Last 10 Ryder Cups

2018 EUROPE WON 17½-10½ - Le Golf National
2016 USA WON 17-11 - Hazeltine
2014 EUROPE WON 16½-11½ - Gleneagles
2012 EUROPE WON 14½-13½ - Medinah
2010 EUROPE WON 14½-13½ - Celtic Manor
2008 USA WON 16½-11½ - Valhalla
2006 EUROPE WON 18½-9½ - K Club
2004 EUROPE WON 18½-9½ - Oakland Hills
2002 EUROPE WON 15½-12½ - The Belfry
1999 USA WON 14½-13½ - Brookline

Overall: Europe have won nine of the last 11
On US soil: USA have won three of the last five

In other words, while Europe have dominated over the last 20 years, it's been much more of a contest on American soil, with the United States holding a slight edge starting from 1999. You can be certain they'll set up the course to suit their bombers and six (yes, six) wildcard picks gives Stricker lots of room to fashion his ideal line-up.

Current betting

USA 1.774/5
Europe 2.747/4
Tie 1312/1

Is the betting a reliable guide?

Here's a list of which team went off favourites and how they performed:

2018 USA (LOST)
2016 USA (WON)
2014 Europe (WON)
2012 USA (LOST)
2010 Europe (WON)
2008 Europe (LOST)
2006 Europe (WON)
2004 USA (LOST)
2002 USA (LOST)
1999 USA (WON)
1997 USA (LOST)

Whistling Straits sign.jpg

Backing the Americans at short prices is normally a daft idea. But they've gone off as home-soil favourites in 1999, 2004, 2012 and 2016 and won two of those four. But for the Miracle of Medinah in 2012 it would have been three out of four.

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