Golf Destination: Whistling Straits, Haven, Wisconsin
This year’s Ryder Cup, the 43rd between USA and Europe, is one of the most hotly anticipated in the almost 100-year history of the competition. With the 2020 match being postponed due to the pandemic, making it three years since Europe’s win at Le Golf National in France, the excitement for the tee-off in Wisconsin is palpable.
The scene in which the drama will unfold is one of absolute beauty, sitting adjacent to the shores of Lake Michigan, it’s the first time the Ryder Cup has visited but there has been a number of significant tournaments held on the links style course. The 2004, 2010 and 2015 PGA Championships, as well as the 2007 US Senior Open have been played in Sheboygan County.
The par 72, 7,790-yard course built on a former airfield in Haven, will at times feel like home for some of the European squad as it’s backdrop alongside one of the Great Lakes of North America has echoes of the likes of St Andrews and Royal Portrush. But the home team could also liken it to Hilton Head, which is one of our top golfing destinations in North America.
Steve Stricker, captain of the USA team is keen to avenge the defeat in Europe in the last Ryder Cup in 2018 and stop Padraig Harrington steering the traveling troop of golfers from across the Atlantic picking up a 5th title in 6 attempts. Whoever wins this time will also lead the all-time winners list with both the US and European team (previously UK and Ireland) having won 42 games apiece. It’s a real incentive for victory.
However, Coral’s sports betting odds show that the current favorite is the USA by a clear margin. It’s not hard to see why as they have two of the current hottest properties in world golf in their ranks. Collin Morikawa has had quite the 12 months or so, firstly winning the 2020 PGA Championship in only his second major appearance. Then following that up with a win earlier this year in the Open Championship and picking up a bronze medal in the Olympic Games.
There’s another Ryder Cup debutant for the US squad, too who is in fine form, Patrick Cantlay. The 2021 PGA Tour Player of the Year has won four times on the PGA Tour this year, the first since Justin Thomas who achieved a similar feat back in 2016/17. Thomas, is also in the US squad although his form individually this season hasn’t been the best and his expected pairing with former World number 1, Jordan Speith is a formidable one. Last time out in France, their record was 3-1 and Spieth has looked very spritely more like his former self this year, the perfect example being his third-place finish in the Masters at Augusta.
Europe have some quality too of course and some real experience. They have the current world number one on their side, Jon Rahm. Rahm has been fantastic this year so far. He’s finished in the top 10 in all four majors, including victory at the US Open. Tommy Fleetwood made his mark in the 2018 Ryder Cup on his debut, and will be aiming for a similar outcome this time out although his form in the US hasn’t been great. The quartet of Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood and Rory Mcilroy have a total of 30 Ryder Cup appearances between them so plenty of experience, although it remains to be seen if that translates to success on the course in Wisconsin.