Ryder Cup: SB Nation’s Playing Through staff predicts who will win the biennial competition

The Ryder Cup is here.

After months of buildup and intrigue, the American and European teams have arrived at Marco Simone Golf Club in Rome for the 44th edition of this incredible competition.

It all starts Friday at 7:35 a.m. local time, when the first foursome tees off. But with the Eastern Time Zone six hours behind Italy, the Ryder Cup will begin a little after 1:30 a.m. ET. American television coverage begins at 1:30 a.m. ET Friday.

Both teams arrive desperate for a victory, as the Americans have not won on European soil since 1993.

Team Europe, meanwhile, is seeking revenge after the 2021 Ryder Cup, which saw the red, white, and blue win by a record of 10 points, 19-to-9.

Nevertheless, let’s get to our staff previews and predictions for this year’s Ryder Cup:

Ryder Cup, Italy, Europe, United States

The 13th hole at Marco Simone Golf Club.
Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Kendall Capps, Editor


I am picking Europe in the smallest of margins in a very close and highly contentious Ryder Cup.

But I lean toward the Europeans for a couple of reasons. They are in form (Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, and Viktor Hovland might be playing better than anyone in the world right now), and all 12 team members have played numerous times in September.

Meanwhile, only three Americans have played competitively since the Tour Championship at the end of August.

Also, this course sets up nicely for Europe. All three par-5s are reachable. Plus, Marco Simone has three drivable par-4s. McIlroy is obviously the longest hitter in the world with Rahm not far behind. But rookie phenom Ludvig Åberg is also a bomber off the tee.

The quicker Team Europe can pull out their putter, the better their chances.

Statistically, the Americans are better around the greens, but the Europeans are better on the putting surface. As everyone knows, the Ryder Cup is all about making birdies. I’ll take the side that has proven it can make putts.

Key Players:

Team USA’s best player will once again be Patrick Cantlay. He was 3-0-1 in his lone Ryder Cup appearance, and his game suits well at Marco Simone. He is long enough off the tee—35th on Tour—to put himself in a position to score well. But Cantlay is also solid around the greens and can make putts when he needs to.

I actually like Tommy Fleetwood to perform the best for the Europeans. Not only has he been incredibly consistent this season, making 18-of-21 cuts with 13 top 25s and nine top 10s, but he has played incredibly well on this course. Fleetwood tied for second at the 2021 DS Automobiles Italian Open, and of the majors, the U.S. Open is clearly his best. Interestingly, this course has drawn comparisons to many U.S. Open layouts thanks to the thick rough and slick greens. He has three top 5s in America’s national Open over the last six years.


Europe: 14.5

United States: 13.5

Tommy Fleetwood, Ryder Cup, Team Europe

Tommy Fleetwood during his pre-Ryder Cup press conference.
Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Jack Milko, Writer


The Americans feature five major champions, including five-time major winner Brooks Koepka, the only player from LIV Golf in the field.

Team Europe also dons five major champions, with Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm combining for six of those titles.

Regardless, both teams have four Ryder Cup rookies—although the American newcomers have much more experience than their European counterparts. Wyndham Clark and Brian Harman made their way to Rome via their major victories this past summer.

Meanwhile, for Europe, Ludvig Åberg has never played in a major, and Nicholai Højgaard is the youngest player in the competition. They are both under the age of 24.

Yet, something tells me the Europeans get the job done—in a nail-biter. Most of Team Europe knows its way around Marco Simone thanks to the DS Automobiles Italian Open. Having the home-field advantage will prove huge.

Key Players:

Patrick Cantlay has played in only one Ryder Cup before, in 2021 at Whistling Straits. That week, the former UCLA Bruin earned 3.5 points for Team USA. Cantlay has had a remarkable season too, as he now ranks 5th on DataGolf. His consistent play—and his elite short game—will be a highlight for Team USA.

Nobody is talking about Justin Rose, which makes him more dangerous. Over his five Ryder Cup appearances, Rose has earned 14 points for Team Europe. He has been a thorn in the Americans’ side for years. Plus, Captain Luke Donald has opted to go with Foursomes first, so watch out for Rose to make an impact on both Friday and Saturday mornings. He has an incredible 7-2-1 record in Alternate Shot.


Europe: 14.5

United States: 13.5

Justin Rose, Ryder Cup

Justin Rose plays a tee shot on the 7th hole at Marco Simone during a practice round prior to the 2023 Ryder Cup.
Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Savannah Richardson, Writer


Team Europe is going to do some serious damage at Marco Simone.

A 30-year American drought on European soil will stay intact because the Europeans are rounding into form. On the flip side, Captain Zach Johnson did not make the right selections for his team—something the Americans have not figured out for years.

Team USA is incredibly talented. All 12 of their players rank within the top 25 of the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR), but I think making this the ‘Boys Club’ was the wrong move.

Meanwhile, the Europeans’ talent is far greater than the Americans, in my opinion. Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, and Viktor Hovland are about to make the Americans look silly. Not to mention, the youthfulness of Ludvig Aberg could be a secret weapon.

Impact Players:

Viktor Hovland will redeem himself after a not-so-great Ryder Cup debut at Whistling Straits. He went 0-3-2 that week but has elevated his game to a new atmosphere this year.

Brooks Kopeka will have a really good week. He has accumulated 6.5 points in the last three Ryer Cups. His game is in good form, and despite his carefree attitude about the Ryder Cup, I think he finally knows what it means to be a part of this team. Plus, he has something to prove for LIV Golfers.


Europe: 16.5

United States: 11.5

Ryder Cup, Team Europe, Viktor Hovland

Team Europe during the Ryder Cup photoshoot.
Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Luke Robitaille, Producer


Europe will win on their home soil, as they can set the course up to their advantage since they are hosting the competition. That will significantly impact who can score best, especially considering that the DP World Tour has staged the DS Automobiles Italian Open at this course over the past three years.

Funny enough, Nicholai Højgaard, the 22-year-old Dane, won the 2021 Italian Open on this course, so he knows how to win here. Perhaps that success continues for the Ryder Cup rookie.

Last year’s Italian Open saw Robert MacIntyre defeat Matt Fitzpatrick in a playoff, as Rory McIlroy and Tyrell Hatton also finished in the top 10. The European team knows this course, whereas the Americans do not. That is a massive advantage.

Impact Players:

I, too, believe that Viktor Hovland will play well this week. I think he’s just one of the best players in the world right now. His performance in the FedEx Cup Playoffs was spectacular, and I think he brings that form to Italy.

Xander Schauffele has a very consistent game, which will prove crucial over three days at Marco Simone. Schauffele is coming off back-to-back top 10 finishes at the BMW and Tour Championships, so watch out for him to keep that momentum going.


Europe: 17

United States: 11

Ryder Cup, Team USA, Xander Schauffele

Xander Schauffele hits a tee shot during a practice round at the 2023 Ryder Cup.
Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Who do you think wins the Ryder Cup and why? Give us your predictions and the winning score in the comments below.

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko for more golf coverage. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough too.

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top