The 2021 Ryder Cup is finally back – here’s your ultimate guide to the greatest golf showdown as Europe take on the USA

THE Ryder Cup is FINALLY back – and it promises to be as special as ever.

Europe and America's best male golfers go head to head in the ultimate golf team showdown this weekend.

And the anticipation ahead of Friday's first tee is reaching fever pitch – especially with the 43rd edition delayed a year due to Covid.

But, rest assured, it will be worth the wait as the sport's best players and biggest personalities prepare for battle – including two rival team-mates.

Europe are the defending champions after a resounding victory at Le Golf National in 2018 but the US team are ready for revenge.

SunSport runs you through all you need to know for the 2021 Ryder Cup…


One of best bits about the Ryder Cup is the format with two teams of 12 – 12 Europeans and 12 Americans.

They are selected through a combination of ranking points on the regular tour and captain's picks.

In most golf tournaments, players play individually and the strokeplay scoring system is used, where every shot counts.

But this is team golf and it uses matchplay – where players battle it out for each hole.

That means sometimes the ball is not even knocked into the hole if it is clear they will win the hole – instead the opposition can concede it.



On top of that, it is one of the rare occasions where foursomes – pairs take alternate shots – and fourballs, where pairs play a ball each and the best score for the hole counts, are used.

We get four foursomes and four fourballs on Friday.

This is then repeated on Saturday before all 12 players play a singles match on the Sunday – usually leading to a dramatic finale.

Overall, there are 28 matches that will take place across the three days of action.

Each match is worth one point, but if the two sides are tied after 18 holes, a half point will be awarded to both teams.

To win the Ryder Cup outright, you must claim 14-and-a-half of the 28 points available.

If, after the weekend, the score is tied at 14-14, the previous winners, in this case Europe, would retain the trophy.


This year's tournament is being held at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin, a links-style course on the western edge of Lake Michigan in the nation's primary dairy-producing state.

The 18-hole course features plenty of stern tests for the 24 stars – particularly on the monster 603-yard Snake par 5 fifth, tricky par 3 Pop Up on 12 and the Grand Strand par 4 15th.

Big-hitting Bryson DeChambeau is plotting to take the course on full throttle with his mammoth hitting and mega driving.

However, with plenty of scope for penalty shots and flying into the water, don't be surprised if this course throws up some real drama.


As mentioned, plenty of the world's best players will be competing this weekend-with the Americans the favourites to reclaim the trophy with eight of the world's top ten players.

Wisconsin-born Steve Stricker and Irishman Padraig Harrington are the two captains – but they will not be playing.

That is left to the likes of Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson, who are probably the two headline acts for the teams.

World No1 and US Open champ Jon Rahm, Lee Westwood, 2018 hero Tommy Fleetwood and Ryder Cup legend Ian Poulter are all in the European side.

For the Yanks, Open winner Collin Morikawa, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth and Tony Finau will all be chomping at the bit to showcase their phenomenal talent.

But plenty of the attention is around DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka, the American pair who have formed a bitter spat in recent times.

Could their bust-up boil over this weekend or might Stricker play a masterstroke by pairing them up?


You may be thinking, 'Why is it called the Ryder Cup?'

Well, the tournament was the brainchild of Samuel Ryder, who was an English businessman, entrepreneur, golf enthusiast and golf promoter.

Born at Walton-le-Dale near Preston in 1858, he trained as a teacher at Owens College in Manchester before working at a shipping firm.

In early 1926 came the idea for a match between British and American professional golfers, with Ryder becoming involved and sponsoring the event which first took place the following year.

Tony Jacklin played a crucial role in transforming the event from a British team to a European outfit in 1979.

The cup itself is made from gold and cost £250 when it was first commissioned – around £15,000 now.

It was manufacture by Mappin & Webb, weighs four pounds, comes in at 17 inches tall and features a figure on top, thought to be Ryder's friend and golf instructor Abe Mitchell.


As expected, there is not too much love lost between Europe and America when they lock horns every two years.

Team Europe received a barrage of abuse the last time the Ryder Cup was held on US soil at Hazeltine five years ago.

A spectator was ejected from the course after firing disgraceful personal insults at four-time major champ Rory McIlroy.

Stricker has asked American fans not to 'cross the line' but does expect a 'rowdy' atmosphere.

And Sergio Garcia's American wife Angela appeared on national TV in the build-up to warn spectators she will turn on them if the Europe-baiting gets out of hand after confronting foul-mouthed ticket-holders in 2016.


Unsurprisingly, there have been a fair share of memorable moments throughout the years in Ryder Cup history.

In 1969, with the scores level on the 18th hole of the final singles, Jack Nicklaus sportingly conceded the putt Jacklin needed to tie the match.

Twenty years later, tensions boiled between Seve Ballesteros and Paul Azinger as they both attempted mind games citing the laws of the game – and things escalated between the pair at the next event with the 'War on the Shore'.

Overzealous celebrations by the Americans marred the 1999 Battle of Brookline but they were silenced in sensational fashion in 2012 as Europe somehow fought back from 10-4 down to win 1412-1312 in the Miracle at Medinah.

And last time out, in Paris in 2018, European skipper Thomas Bjorn promised to get a tattoo should he lead his side to victory.

He did so in style – 1712-1012 – and got the score and trophy inked on his backside… now Harrington insists he has no qualms doing the same if Europe upset the odds and claim a victory Stateside.


Despite winning the PGA Championship in May, Phil Mickelson was left out of the team – meaning he cannot add to his record 12 Ryder Cup appearances this time.

But Garcia will be looking to increase his tally of 2512 points, 1112 of which have come in foursomes.

The Spaniard also holds the record as the youngest player in the competition history at 19 years and 258 days way back in 1999.

Garcia's compatriots Ballesteros and Jose Maria Olazabal teamed up to win 12 points as a pairing.

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