For the first time since 2018, the Ryder Cup is back, and the hosts, the United States, are favorites to recapture golf’s most prestigious team matchplay competition. Last time around, Europe dominated the United States at Le Golf National, but the biennial competition was postponed for a year because of the Covid-19 epidemic in 2020. Eight of the world’s top ten players are on Steve Stricker’s 12-man team, including several players who have recently won major tournaments or on the PGA Tour. Let’s break the team down and delve into their strengths and weaknesses.
Beginning his PGA Tour career, he made 22 consecutive cuts, second only to Tiger Woods’ 25-cut streak. Morikawa has five PGA Tour victories, including two majors, the 2020 PGA Championship and the 2021 Open Championship, both of which he won on his first try. In addition, Morikawa was the top-ranked golfer in the World Amateur Golf Ranking for three weeks in May 2018.
This Year – I made quite a bit of money off of Morikawa this year so figure me if I’m a little biased. Regardless, the world number three has two wins this season, including the U.S. Open and a runner-up spot. Of course, you could argue he went slightly off boil towards the end of the season, but it has still been a fantastic year for the 24-year-old.
Ryder Cup History – In the last 14 months, he has won two Major Championships (2020 PGA Championship, 2021 Open Championship), making him the most accomplished of the U.S. Team’s six rookies. Proving the newest generation of Americans is unafraid to take the opportunity. He is the only golfer in golf history to win multiple major championships in his debut season.
He has two major championships under his belt: the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club, where he shot a 4-under-par 276, and the 2020 Masters Tournament, where he shot a record score of 268, 20-under-par. Only Tiger Woods has won more World Golf Championships than him, and he is the first golfer to win each of the four World Golf Championship competitions.
This Year – The world number two won the Masters at the start of the year and has nine top-ten finishes to his name this season. Not bad for a player who has been described by many (me included) as having an average season by his standards. After a poor Northern Trust where he missed the cut, it seemed his game was starting to get back to his best at the BMW and Tour Championships.
Ryder Cup History – This unequaled talent is the most experienced member of the American contingent, having competed in four previous events as a two-time Major Champion and the No. 2 rated player in the Official World Golf Rankings.
On the PGA Tour, he has eight victories, including one major, the 2020 U.S. Open. DeChambeau became only the fifth player in history to win the NCAA Division I championship and the U.S. Amateur Championship in the same year as an amateur. With his U.S. Open victory, he joined Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods as the third player to win all three championships and the sixth to win the U.S. Amateur and the U.S. Open.
This Year – I must admit I have never been the biggest fan of DeChambeau, but with the year he has had, he has indeed won me around. He started the year by winning the U.S. Open, and that high standard never dropped all season long as he finished with nine top-ten finishes and two victories.
Ryder Cup History – After debuting in Paris in 2018, he returns for a second consecutive Ryder Cup.
He began his professional career on the European Challenge Tour, then the European Tour. After winning the 2018 C.J. Cup in October, he was ranked No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking for 47 weeks. He won the U.S. Open in 2017 and 2018, as well as the PGA Championship in 2018 and 2019, becoming him the first golfer in history to win back-to-back majors.
This Year – Brooks won the Phoenix Open early on in the season and backed that up with a couple of runners-up placings. His form declined towards the end of the year, culminating in him withdrawing from the Tour Championship. Therefore, there are some questions marks over his fitness.
Ryder Cup History – For the third time in a row, one of golf’s most significant competitors will compete in the Ryder Cup. The four-time Major Champion saves his best performances for the most prestigious venues. He is one of four Americans with a winning career match record in the Ryder Cup, with a record of 4-3-1. (Finau, Spieth, Thomas).
Thomas had a breakout year in 2017, winning five PGA Tour events, including his first major championship, the PGA Championship, as well as the FedEx Cup championship. Thomas became the 21st player to top the Official World Golf Ranking in May 2018.
This Year – The reigning Players Championship winner had another stellar year this season. Thomas always seems to be competitive week upon week, and having finished fourth in two of his final three events last season; he comes here in excellent form.
Ryder Cup History – On the course and in the Team Room, a strong competitor with the game and determination to lead the U.S. contingent. Despite being a rookie in 2018, he was the best American performer in Paris, winning the 1-Up Singles against Rory McIlroy to conclude a 4-1-0 run. When playing Four-Ball, he is 6-0-0 when combining his Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup records.
He had a tremendous amateur career, spending 55 weeks at the top of the World Amateur Golf Ranking. He has six PGA Tour victories to his credit, as well as the FedEx Cup in 2021.
This Year – Cantlay finished the season as the FedEx Cup Tour champion and spent most of the season at number one in the standings, so it’s hard to argue he isn’t a deserving champion. He had four wins on Tour, six top-three finishes, and seven top ten placings, proving how consistent he has been.
Ryder Cup History – On the PGA TOUR, he has shot in the 60s in each of his last 15 rounds, the longest such stretch in the previous two calendar years. This past season, he was the only player on the PGA TOUR to win four times, and he led the TOUR in Scrambling (67.3 percent), which could come in handy at Whistling Straits.
In 2013, Finau competed on the PGA Tour Canada, where he made seven cuts in eight starts. He earned his 2014 Web.com Tour card by finishing T-3 at the 2013 Web.com Tour qualifying school. He won his first title in August 2014 at the Stonebrae Classic. He finished 8th in the regular season and 12th in the Web.com Tour Finals to earn his PGA Tour card for the 2014–15 season. In March 2016, Finau won his maiden title on the PGA Tour at the Puerto Rico Open.
This Year – Finau has eight top-ten finishes this season, and after finished second twice, he finally got his head in front at the Northern Trust at the end of the season.
Ryder Cup History – He finished T-10 in the 2015 PGA thanks to four sub-par rounds, so he appears to be a good fit for Whistling Straits. He’ll be competing in his second Ryder Cup, this time in America. In Paris, they went 2-1-0, with a victory over Tommy Fleetwood in the Singles.
Since turning pro in 2015, he’s won four times. Tie second at both the 2018 Open Championship and the 2019 Masters is Schauffele’s best major finish. Schauffele also has a win on the European Tour. In addition, Schauffele won the Olympic gold medal at the men’s golf event of the 2020 Summer Olympics.
This Year – Until winning the Olympic Gold medal, Xander was becoming the nearly man this season after finishing runner up on three occasions. However, he has been the epitome of consistency, having only missed two cuts all season.
Ryder Cup History – America’s first Olympic Gold Medalist in 120 years will be making his long-awaited debut in the Ryder Cup. He has saved his best play for the Majors, posting six top-5 finishes, including a T-3 in the 2021 Masters. Only Brooks Koepka of the United States has more top-five finishes in Major Championships (9) since the 2017 U.S. Open. Has both the game and demeanor to perform at the highest level in big moments.
In the Official World Golf Ranking, he was a previous world number one. He has won three major championships and was the FedEx Cup champion in 2015.
This Year – Jordan took a while to get going this season, but after his fourth place at the Phoenix Open, he hasn’t looked back. He went on to win the Texas Open, had two runners-up placings, and was third twice.
Ryder Cup History – The face of American golf is competing in his fourth Ryder Cup in a row, the longest streak of appearances on the American team. After a successful 2020-21 season that featured nine top-10s and an April victory at the Valero Texas Open, he returns to the Whistling Straits, where he finished second to Jason Day in the 2015 PGA Championship despite pushing on the final nine holes (and finishing 17 under par).
English made 22 of 27 cuts as a PGA Tour rookie in 2012, finishing in the top ten three times and earning almost $1.18 million to keep his card. In June, he won his first event, the FedEx St. Jude Classic in Memphis.
This Year – English narrowly sits on the outskirts of the world’s top ten, and if he continues his impressive form this year, it will only be a matter of time before he breaks into it. He had two wins on Tour, as well as right top-ten finishes.
Ryder Cup History – As the most experienced of the six rookies from the United States, the ten-year pro will make his Ryder Cup debut. In June, he won the Travelers Championship, capping off his best year on the PGA Tour. In 2020-21, he topped the PGA TOUR in the percentage of putts made beyond 20 feet (11.16 percent, compared to the TOUR average of 7.18 percent).
He won the FedEx St. Jude Classic in 2016 and 2017, as well as the Charles Schwab Challenge in 2020, after going pro at the age of 20 in 2013. He won the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February 2021, earning the victory with an eagle on the 18th hole.
This Year – Berger had one win and one-third place on Tour this season, but that doesn’t quite tell the story of his impressive year. Perhaps what reflects his season better is the fact that he only missed two cuts all season.
Ryder Cup History – At Whistling Straits, he will compete in his first Ryder Cup. Smooth, up-and-coming talent with no glaring flaws.
Scottie Scheffler – Scheffler tied for fourth place at the 2020 PGA Championship in August 2020. Scheffler shot a 12-under 59 at The Northern Trust on August 21, 2020. His round was the equal second-lowest in PGA Tour history, and he was only the 12th player to shoot a round under 60. Unfortunately, if there were such a thing as a weak link on this team, Scottie would be it.
This Year – Scottie Scheffler finished the season strong and played his way into this team at the last minute. He had eight top-ten finishes this season and made it to the final of the World Match Play, which is probably what cemented his place in the team.
Ryder Cup History – The talented Ryder Cup rookie is the American team’s second-youngest player. Despite finishing inside the Top-20 in each of his last five Majors Championship starts, the consistent performer is still looking for his first PGA TOUR triumph (first U.S. Ryder Cup participant without a win since Rickie Fowler and Jeff Overton in 2010).
Everywhere you look on this team, there is an abundance of talent. You could put almost all of these guys in the lineup and would feel confident they would challenge. However, as with many sides that have gone before them, they cannot only look good on paper. They have to gel together. They look like a team who could become a cohesive unit, with perhaps the exception of DeChambeau, who has ruffled a few feathers with his fellow Americans in the past. However, they seem to have everything, and if they get off to a good start, they could be unstoppable.