Whistling Straits drone

Whistling Straits will be the host for the 43rd Ryder Cup Sept. 24-26. This photo was taken with a drone by Patrick Koenig (pjkoenig.com) in late August as final preparations were being made for the biennial matches.

WHAT IS IT?

The Ryder Cup is a men's match-play competition contested every two years between top players from the United States and Europe, with the venue alternating between courses in the U.S. and Europe. It has become one of the world's biggest sporting events, with its drama, tension, national pride, team camaraderie and sportsmanship attracting an audience of millions around the world.

The competition takes place over three days with the 12 players on each team competing in two-man team matches the first two days and singles matches the final day.

First contested in 1927, the Ryder Cup is named after English businessman Samuel Ryder, who donated the trophy. Originally a competition between Great Britain and the U.S, it expanded in 1979 to include continental Europe.

WHERE IS IT?

The 43rd Ryder Cup will be played on the Straits course at Whistling Straits, in Haven, Wis., along Lake Michigan. Haven is near Sheboygan and about an hour north of Milwaukee and an hour south of Green Bay. The Straits course is one of four in Wisconsin owned by the Kohler Co. and designed by Pete Dye. The others are the Irish course at Whistling Straits and the River and Meadow Valleys courses at Blackwolf Run in Kohler. In addition, the Baths of Blackwolf Run, a 10-hole par-3 course, opened this summer.

WHEN IS IT?

Practice rounds are Tuesday-Thursday, Sept. 21-23. The opening ceremony is Thursday. The Ryder Cup matches are Friday-Sunday, Sept. 24-26.

WHAT'S THE DAY-BY-DAY SCHEDULE?

All times are Central time.

Friday-Monday, Sept. 17-20: The Ryder Cup Shops at Whistling Straits will be open to the public from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. each of these days prior to the start of the Ryder Cup. No tickets or credentials are required and parking is free at GP-S (General Parking South), located south of the main Whistling Straits entrance off Lakeshore Road. The 60,000-square-foot Ryder Cup Shops merchandise venue is located onsite at Whistling Straits near the Dye Plaza along the spectator walkway.

Tuesday and Wednesday, Sept. 21-22: Practice rounds start at 9 a.m. Players can practice at any hole at any time during the day and may or may not play complete rounds. Spectator gates are open from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday.

Wednesday, Sept. 22: The U.S. Junior Ryder Cup team will play an exhibition from 1 to 5 p.m. The Junior Ryder Cup, featuring the top junior boys and girls players from the U.S. and Europe, had been scheduled to be played this week at Blue Mound Golf & Country Club in Wauwatosa, Wis., but was canceled because of travel concerns related to COVID-19.

Thursday, Sept. 23: In addition to practice rounds continuing from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., an 11-hole celebrity scramble will be played on holes 1, 9 and 10-18 from 8:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (Team USA will be led by former Green Bay Packer A.J. Hawk and Wisconsin-born Olympic speedskater Dan Jansen; Team Europe will be led by former Chicago Bull and Milwaukee Buck Toni Kukoc). The Ryder Cup opening ceremony, featuring live music, anthems and team introductions will be from 4 to 5 p.m. in the Dye Plaza at Whistling Straits.

Friday-Sunday, Sept. 24-26: The Ryder Cup is contested with three days of matches. Spectator gates open at 6 a.m. Friday and Saturday and 7:30 a.m. Sunday.

  • Friday-Saturday: Four morning foursome (alternate shot) matches begin at 7:05 a.m. each day, with tee times 16 minutes apart. Four afternoon fourball matches begin at 12:10 p.m. Play is expected to conclude round 6:30 p.m. Note: The U.S. captain determines the order of the morning/afternoon formats.
  • Sunday: 12 singles matches begin at 11:04 a.m., with tee times at 11-minute intervals. The trophy presentation will take place on the 18th green immediately following the end of play, expected to be about 5 p.m.

HOW CAN I WATCH IT ON TV?

All of the Ryder Cup matches will be televised on a combination of the Golf Channel and NBC.

  • Friday: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the Golf Channel
  • Saturday: 7 to 8 a.m. on the Golf Channel; 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on NBC
  • Sunday: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on NBC

CAN I STILL GET TICKETS?

Individual tickets sold through the PGA of America are sold out. But there's always a way to get tickets. The Ryder Cup's official ticket exchange partner is PrimeSport; click here to see what's available. Or if you're lucky, maybe you can buddy up to someone (maybe at work?) who has a hospitality tent package.

I'M GOING. WHAT ARE THE COVID-19 POLICIES?

Per CDC guidelines, Ryder Cup organizers are requiring all spectators wear face coverings indoors, including in the Ryder Cup Shops, hospitality tents and on shuttle buses. Face coverings are strongly recommended for all spectators, staff and volunteers (ages 2 and up) while outdoors.

Proof of vaccination is not required for admission.

The Ryder Cup's complete "Commitment to Health" policies and procedures can be found here.

WHO'S ON TEAM USA AND TEAM EUROPE?

The U.S. and European teams have slightly different methods of putting together their 12-player rosters.

For the U.S., the first six players qualified based on points earned since the last Ryder Cup in 2018. Players earned points based on money won in major championships, WGC events and regular PGA Tour events. The other six at-large picks were made by Captain Steve Stricker.

For Europe, the team consists of the top four players on the European Points list, the leading five players on the World Points list, and three at-large picks made by Captain Padraig Harrington.

Following are the teams, along with previous Ryder Cup experience for each player:

TEAM USA

Qualified on Ryder Cup points:

  • Collin Morikawa (rookie)
  • Dustin Johnson (2010, 2012, 2016, 2018)
  • Bryson DeChambeau (2018)
  • Brooks Koepka (2016, 2018)
  • Justin Thomas (2018)
  • Patrick Cantlay (rookie)

Captain's picks:

  • Tony Finau (2018)
  • Xander Schauffele (rookie)
  • Jordan Spieth (2014, 2016, 2018)
  • Harris English (rookie)
  • Scottie Scheffler (rookie)
  • Daniel Berger (rookie)

Captain: Steve Stricker. Vice captains: Zach Johnson, Jim Furyk, Davis Love III, Phil Mickelson, Fred Couples.

TEAM EUROPE

Qualified by European Points list:

  • Jon Rahm (2018)
  • Tommy Fleetwood (2018)
  • Tyrrell Hatton (2018)
  • Bernd Wiesberger (rookie)

Qualified by World Points list:

  • Rory McIlroy (2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018)
  • Viktor Hovland (rookie)
  • Paul Casey (2004, 2006, 2008, 2018)
  • Matt Fitzpatrick (2016)
  • Lee Westwood (1997, 1999, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016)

Captain's picks:

  • Ian Poulter (2004, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2018)
  • Sergio Garcia (1999, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018)
  • Shane Lowry (rookie)

Captain: Padraig Harrington. Vice captains: Luke Donald, Robert Karlsson, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell, Henrik Stenson.

HOW DOES MATCH PLAY WORK?

If you already know this, feel free to skip ahead.

In match play, scoring is based on the number of holes won during a round rather than the total number of strokes in the round.

In the Ryder Cup, a match features a two-player U.S. team or individual vs. one from Europe (more on the team formats later). In a match, the player or team with the fewest strokes on a hole wins the hole. If the two opponents tie on a hole, nobody wins the hole. So for example, if Team USA wins the first two holes in a match, in scoring they'll be "2-up." If the two teams tie the next two holes, Team USA will still be 2-up in the match. If Team Europe then wins the next three holes, they'll be 1-up through seven holes. A match where both opponents have won the same number of holes at any point during the round is called "all-square." A match is won when one opponent is up by more holes than are left to be played. So if Team USA is 3-up in a match with two holes to play, they will have won the match "3 and 2" and win a point for the U.S. in the overall competition. If two opponents end up winning the same number of holes in the match, they each win a half-point.

(Bonus terminology to know: If a team or player is up at any point in a match by the same number of holes left to be played, they're said to be "dormie." That means they can't lose the match, though their opponent can still come back to tie, or "halve," the match.)

The three days of competition at Whistling Straits consist of 28 total matches, so the Ryder Cup is won by the first team to win 14½ points. If the matches end in a 14-14 tie, the team holding the Ryder Cup retains it. At Whistling Straits, that would be Team Europe, which won the Ryder Cup when it was last contested in 2018 in France.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT MATCH PLAY FORMATS IN THE RYDER CUP?

The first two days of competition feature four morning foursome (also known as alternate shot) matches and four afternoon fourball matches. Two U.S. players are paired against two European players in each of the matches. The order in which the matches are played is determined by the home captain. The third day consists of 12 singles matches.

In foursomes, each team plays one ball per hole with the two players taking turns hitting shots until the hole is complete. Players on a team alternate hitting tee shots, with one leading off on odd-numbered holes, and the other hitting first on even-numbered holes. The team with the low score on each hole wins the hole; if the scores are tied on a hole, no one wins it.

In fourballs, both players on a team play their own balls to completion on each hole and the team counts the lowest of the two scores. If the two teams' low scores on a hole are tied, neither team wins it.

In singles, each match features one player from each team. The player with the lower score on each hole wins that hole. If their scores are tied on a hole, no one wins it.

Unlike stroke play, players don't have to complete each hole in match play. If a player concedes a putt or other stroke to his opponent, the opponent picks up his ball, takes the score he would have made on the next stroke and moves on to the next hole.

WHAT'S THE WEATHER GOING TO BE LIKE?

You never know, right? According to the Weather Channel, as of Sept. 16, here's the daily forecast for Sheboygan, with the caveat that weather, and especially winds, can be fickle along Lake Michigan. In short, look forward to a fairly pleasant week but with some gusty winds.

  • Tuesday: Scattered thunderstorms in the morning then variable clouds during the afternoon with more showers at times. High of 72 with SSW winds at 10 to 20 mph.
  • Wednesday: Intervals of clouds and sunshine in the morning with more clouds later in the day. A stray shower or thunderstorm is possible. High of 66 with WNW winds at 10 to 20 mph.
  • Thursday: Partly cloudy with a high of 64 and WSW winds at 10 to 20 mph.
  • Friday: Partly cloudy with a high of 66 and SW winds at 5-10 mph.
  • Saturday: Intervals of clouds and sunshine with a high of 67 and WSW winds at 10-15 mph.
  • Sunday: Mostly sunny with a high of 67 and WNW winds at 10-15 mph.

WHAT DOES HISTORY TELL US?

It's not very good news lately if you're a fan of Team USA.

Europe has won seven of the last nine competitions and nine of the last 12 dating back to 1995. Europe routed the U.S., 17½ to 10½, the last time the Ryder Cup was played in 2018 at Le Golf National in France. The U.S. won big two years earlier when it beat Europe 17-11 at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Minnesota in 2016.

Dating back to the current format in 1979, Europe leads the series, 12-8.

Overall, the U.S. leads the Ryder Cup series in outright victories, 26 to 14; the matches were tied in 1969 and 1989 but the Cup was retained by the U.S. the first year and Europe the second by virtue of having won it the previous time it was played.

You can see the complete year-by-year results history here.

WHERE CAN I FIND OUT MORE?

The official Ryder Cup website has lots of information, including an extensive spectator guide, ticket informationRyder Cup history, shopping, and more.

On social media, follow Team USA on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Same for Team Europe: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.

In addition, find out more about Whistling Straits on the Destination Kohler website.

And, of course, stay tuned to Wisconsin.Golf for extensive coverage of the Ryder Cup from our reporting team of Gary D'Amato and Rob Hernandez and photographer Jim Kelsh live from Whistling Straits.

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