An Early Preview of the 2023 Ryder Cup in Italy

In less than two months the professional golf world will descend on Rome, Italy for the 44th playing of the 2023 Ryder Cup, one of the world’s great sporting events.  Played every two years, the Ryder Cup features 24 of the world’s famous golfers from the United States and Europe squaring off in match play format for three days.

The US Ryder Cup team will arrive in Rome as the defending champions after their dominant victory in 2021 at Whistling Straits.  They’ll also enter Ryder Cup Italy as the betting favorites but the European team will be stocked with young firepower eager to retake the trophy on home soil.

The Ryder Cup is a prestigious biennial golf tournament that brings together some of the world’s famous golfers in a thrilling team competition. Originating in 1927, this event traditionally pits teams from the United States and Europe against each other, alternating between venues on both sides of the Atlantic. In 2023, the Ryder Cup will make its way to Italy, where the picturesque golf courses and passionate fans are set to provide a stunning backdrop for the intense competition. The Ryder Cup Italy promises to be a captivating showcase of skill, strategy, and sportsmanship as the best golfers from the two continents vie for glory in this highly anticipated global golfing spectacle.

This Ryder Cup preview offers a glance at the event’s history, details on this year’s host course, a look at how the Ryder Cup 2023 teams are shaping up, and some of the key storylines to follow.

 

Ryder Cup 2023: History

The inaugural Ryder Cup took place in 1927 at Worcester Country Club in Worcester, Massachusetts with the U.S. team, captained by the legendary Walter Hagen, emerging victorious.

Now, nearly a century later, the event is more popular than ever and golf fans worldwide will be glued to their TVs in late September.  The US Ryder Cup team leads the overall series versus Team Europe with a record of 27-14-2 in the previous 43 events.  However, Team Europe has been rather dominant over the last two-plus decades having won nine of the last 13 Ryder Cups.

For its first several decades, the Ryder Cup featured teams from the U.S. versus teams exclusively from Great Britain.  In 1971, the European side grew to include players from Ireland and then, starting in 1979, players from all over the continent were considered for Team Europe and that format remains today.

 

Ryder Cup 2023: Venue

Ryder Cup Venue

This year’s host course is Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome, Italy.  Situated in the Roman countryside just 10 miles from downtown Rome, Marco Simone opened in 1989 and underwent a dramatic renovation starting in 2018 to prepare for the Ryder Cup 2023.

Originally designed by Jim Fazio, the course redesign stayed in the Fazio family and was overseen by Tom Fazio II.  Known for its rolling terrain and spectacular views of the Eternal City, Marco Simone should make for an excellent venue and TV backdrop.

 

Ryder Cup 2023: Teams

This year’s US Ryder Cup team is captained by Zach Johnson.  A veteran of five Ryder Cup teams and winner of two majors, Johnson already has two names cemented on his team.  World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler and U.S. Open winner Wyndham Clark have already secured their spots in Ryder Cup Italy via automatic qualification.  Six players on each team will auto-qualify via a points system while each team captain gets to select another six golfers of their choosing with input from their assistant captains and players.

The European Ryder Cup points system is a bit more complex but suffice it to say that Rory McIlroy and John Rahm are slam dunks to be automatic qualifiers.  Viktor Hovland, Tommy Fleetwood, and Tyrell Hatton also look like sure things.  European captain, Luke Donald, will also have his choice of six captain’s picks of players that don’t qualify on points.

 

Ryder Cup 2023: Storylines

Ryder Cup Italy offers up more in the way of storylines and anticipation than any Ryder Cup in recent memory.  Aside from Team Europe looking the avenge the embarrassment and domination they suffered two years ago at Whistling Straits, no 2023 Ryder Cup preview would be complete without discussing what might happen with some of the best players in the world who defected to LIV Golf over the last 18 months and how that could impact team rosters and PGA Payout.

PGA: Ryder Cup

On the US side, Brooks Koepka’s incredible play in majors this year looks like it will gain him an automatic spot on the team even though LIV Golf events do not accumulate any Ryder Cup points.  And even if Koepka somehow falls short on points, it appears unlikely that Johnson and co. would keep him off the roster given his strong play in 2023.  The only other American-born LIV player in the conversation is Dustin Johnson and his chances to make the US Ryder Cup team appear to be fading.  While Johnson did finish 10th at this year’s US Open, he has not had a strong major season and currently stands 37th in points.  Even though DJ went 5-0-0 at the 2021 Ryder Cup and is viewed as the perfect teammate, there does not seem to be a spot for him on the US roster.

The roster-building picture for the European team features far more drama.  For starters, original team captain Henrik Stenson was stripped of his position after he joined LIV in July 2022 which made way for Donald to inherit the captaincy.  Also complicating matters is that to be a member of a European Ryder Cup team a player must be a member of the DP World Tour.  This is a key point as Euro Ryder Cup legends like Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, and Paul Casey all resigned their DP Tour status after making the move to LIV Golf.  And even after the recent developments between the PGA, LIV, and DP World Tours, accommodations have not been made to allow these players back into the fold.

The loss of these stalwart names that were so integral to Team Europe’s successes over the last 20 years provides the Euro side an opportunity to inject fresh energy into their squad, which may be just what they need after being overpowered by the Americans in 2021.

Ryder Cup

One last storyline worth mentioning in this Ryder Cup preview is the status of Justin Thomas who currently sits on the outside looking in of the FedEx Cup standings as he battles through the worst season of his professional career.  Thomas, one of golf’s biggest and most consistent stars, needed to play well coming down the stretch of the PGA Tour season and so far that has not materialized.  And while Thomas has regressed this year, it’s encouraging to see Rickie Fowler back in the spotlight with great play and he looks to be a solid contender for one of Johnson’s captain’s picks.

 

Ryder Cup 2023: Drama Will Ensue

Even though we are just a few weeks away from Ryder Cup Italy, there remains much to be sorted out before the two sides meet on the first tee on September 29th.  Every Ryder Cup builds up with anticipation but the anticipation for 2023’s version carries with it some extra spark given all of the upheaval that’s occurred in the golf world since the 2021 Ryder Cup.

No matter what else takes place between now and late September, golf fans can rest assured that once tees go in the ground on the first day of competition we’ll be treated to an incredible three days of golf and spirited competition.

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