Europe and the United States will clash in the 42nd Ryder Cup when they go head-to-head at Le Golf National in Paris between September 28-30. What will this year’s Ryder Cup format entail?
The United States—captained by Jim Furyk—will turn up as defending champions having won comprehensively 17-11 when the two teams met two years ago at Hazeltine.
But America have history against them on Europeal soil; the last time they won was in 1993 when they triumphed at The Belfry in Warwickshire, U.K.
Since that clash 25 years ago, it is 8-3 to Europe in the subsequent 11 Ryder Cups. But never before has a stronger United States line-up travelled across the Atlantic.
A strong U.S. Team
Major winners Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Patrick Reed, Jordan Spieth, Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson make up three-quarters of Furyk’s 12-man team.
The Thomas Bjorn-captained European team has a blend of youth and experience, five rookies being joined by familiar Ryder Cup names like new world number one Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter as well as this year’s Open champion Francesco Molinari.
The 2018 Ryder Cup format will be familiar, with foursomes and fourballs matches on each of the first two days in the French capital featuring four pairs from Europe and the United States. The Sunday singles will feature all 12 players as the battle to lift the Ryder Cup gathers intensity.
With eight points up for grabs on both day one and day two and 12 available from the singles matches, the magical points number to secure the Ryder Cup trophy will be 14.5 once again. A 14-14 tie would see the United States retain the cup as defending champions.
The 2018 Ryder Cup format
Day 1: Friday, September 28
The Ryder Cup will start with four fourball matches on Friday morning. Four players will sit out the opening matches as their eight teammates stand on the opening tee with hearts beating.
Bjorn and Furyk will hope to make an immediate impact with their pairings and playing order in this format, which sees each golfer play their own ball.
Pairings will change for the afternoon foursomes, a format which the Europeans have had a clear advantage in during recent Ryder Cups.
But will the captains choose to bed in all four players who sat out the morning fourballs? It is a dilemma they will need to mull over.
The foursomes format will see the pairs play alternative shots with one teeing off on the odd numbered holes and the other teeing off on even numbers. Combinations in this format are crucial.
Day 2: Saturday, September 29
The Ryder Cup format for day two is a repeat of day one—morning fourballs will be followed by afternoon foursomes. Successful pairs from the opening day may be kept together, while any player not to have featured on the opening day will almost certainly be blooded.
Day 3: Sunday, September 30
All 12 players will contest individual match play matches to decide the Ryder Cup on the final day. The order chosen separately by Bjorn and Furyk will depend on the situation of the match.
Do they send out the big guns early, place them in the middle or save them until the latter pairings should a tight finish be in order?
The captains will no doubt earn their corn here—many stories of genius and failure over final day selections have circulated in the media days after past events.