Big Talking Points Ahead of Ryder Cup 2021
All of this year’s Ryder Cup action gets underway on the 24th of September, as Team Europe try to upset the betting odds and keep a hold of the coveted cup.
The captains, Padraig Harrington and Steve Stricker, will have been casting a close eye over proceedings at The Open as they both begin to form a clearer picture of which players they will select.
Here we dig into the talking points that have been arising among fans and sports bettors in the leadup to the 43rd edition of this competition that is like no other.
Which players will have their putters slotting winning putts at the Ryder Cup?
Can Collin Morikawa Bring Open Form to Ryder Cup?
Certainly, Team Europe – along with the fans who have backed them to retain the Ryder Cup – will be dearly hoping that the new star of the golfing world, Collin Morikawa, leaves his A-game in the clubhouse when he heads to Whistling Straights.
The leader of the US team’s Ryder Cup rankings was already in stellar form before he claimed The Open Championship in July, a feat which has capped an incredible 2 years for the young 24-year-old. Since turning pro in 2019 he has amassed 5 titles, 2 of which were The Open and the PGA Championship.
However, it is hard to predict exactly how a Ryder Cup rookie will react to the competition’s unique atmosphere and team dynamic. The signs are that Morikawa is infinitely more personable than most of the Team USA squad, but that does not automatically mean he will form part of a cohesive unit out on the fairways and greens. Expert predictions for the tournament are already envisioning Team USA running away with things in September, but it remains to be seen if Morikawa will be the main driving force behind that success. There will no doubt be long odds available on any individual or pairing that must face the US’s next big golfing mega-talent.
Team Europe is packed with invaluable experience, but will that be enough to overhaul a red-hot Team USA, who have home advantage?
Will Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka Feud Derail Team USA?
Golf tends not to be a sport associated with player feuds, perhaps because it is a non-contact sport, and gentlemanly behaviour is usually mandated by most golf courses.
Enter Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka, who are both right up there in the world rankings but whose different approaches to the game have seen them lock horns, both out on the course and online.
Things first got heated when in 2019, at the Dubai Desert Classic, Koepka complained about the pace at which DeChambeau played at. Things spiralled from there, as DeChambeau packed on extra muscle in an attempt to outdrive his rivals – such as the already hench Koepka. Once again this drew a reaction from Koepka, who made his feelings about the move well known via social media.
There have been plenty of other little moments of tension that have made this feud all the more intriguing for golf fans, but Team USA will worry that the two men are unable to bury the hatchet. After all, historically it has been a lack of team unity that has handicapped Team USA, especially considering their European counterparts always look so at ease in each other’s company.
Are Team Europe Growing Apart?
With Britain leaving the EU in 2020 there is a genuine worry that goings on away from the fairways and greens could negatively impact Team Europe.
This is most quantifiable in the fact that the Ryder Cup will no longer be hosted in the UK. Considering the country has always been the launchpad for Team Europe’s biggest successes, blighty’s absence could certainly demotivate some of the players who hail from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Can European Veterans Keep Going to the Well?
They say that form is temporary, and class is permanent, but there does also come a point in a player’s career when he must admit to himself that he is not what he once was.
There are certainly a number of players in Team Europe who fall into that category. How many more times can Ian Poulter dig deep and prove the doubters wrong? Will Lee Westwood be as resolute as ever in holding off the American charge? It remains to be seen if the European old guard still have what it takes. All this could mean that Team USA is about to hand out a major drubbing, even if Team Europe count the world number 1, Jon Rahm, in their ranks.
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