In golf, it doesn’t get much bigger than this.
It’s the Ryder Cup – 24 players, two captains, 10 vice-captains and a whole lot of history.
Over its 94-year history, the famous competition has bubbled and grown to become the pinnacle of team golf, pitting the best in the world against one another.
The fervor around the 2021 edition has only been heightened by the year delay caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
But now, with a full crowd expected at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin, US, Team USA captain Steve Stricker says his players must let the crowd “energize” them.
“Let them pick you up. I know there’s ticket holders from every state in our country that’s going to be here,” Stricker said during a press conference.
“It’s not just Wisconsin but the whole country is showing up. It’s been a long time waiting and everybody is excited to get this thing going.”
Team Europe captain Padraig Harrington is just happy fans are back at all.
“If there was 40,000 U.S. fans and no Europeans, we’d prefer that than having no fans,” the Irishman said.
“We want the noise. We want the excitement. We want the buzz of it all. Yes, the players will have to deal with it and yes, they will have to embrace it. But they wouldn’t want the alternative. Having no fans is no fun.”
Comprising foursomes, four balls and singles, the Ryder Cup sees the best of Europe and the US going head-to-head for the tournament’s golden trophy, which weighs four pounds.
While the US has favored a youth-first approach – six rookies make up their 12-man squad – reigning champions Europe have prioritized experience.
One of the questions on everyone’s lips has been whether Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka will be able to forget past disagreements and come together on the US team.
The pair have had an ongoing spat since May’s PGA Championship when a clip of Koepka losing his thought “hearing that bulls**t” as DeChambeau walked behind him in the middle of an interview went viral.
And although their rivalry has delighted fans, Stricker is adamant both players are able to put that aside to come together for the good of the team.
“It’s a non-issue, really, for me and the team,” he explained. “We got together a few weeks ago, the six of us and I’ve had conversations with them both.
“They have assured me it’s not going to be an issue. I have no worries whatsoever. Will we pair them together? I don’t think so at this point but things could change. Could always happen. But probably not.
“But again, I had a dinner; they all showed up. We had great conversation, great talks. So I’m not seeing it as an issue at all and they are completely on board.”
With the first match of foursomes teeing off at 8:05 a.m. ET on Friday, September 24, kicking off a festival of golf, here’s how to watch the Ryder Cup:
Australia: FoxSports/Kayo Sports
Ireland: Sky Sports
Mexico: Golf Channel Latin
South Africa: SuperSport
UK: Sky Sports
US: Golf Channel/NBC