Ryder Cup: Scheffler-led U.S. team looks to defend title vs. McIlroy, Europeans

Rory Mcilroy, the top player on the European team, practices for the 2023 Ryder Cup on Tuesday at the Marco Simone Golf &amp Country Club in Rome. Photo by Fabio Frustaci/EPA-EFE
1 of 6 | Rory Mcilroy, the top player on the European team, practices for the 2023 Ryder Cup on Tuesday at the Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome. Photo by Fabio Frustaci/EPA-EFE

Sept. 28 (UPI) -- Golf fans will need to be early risers if they want to catch the 2023 Ryder Cup, with Europeans and Americans battling for biennial bragging rights from Friday through Sunday in Rome.

The 44th edition of the tournament -- held every two years -- will be played at the Marco Simone Golf & Country Club and air on USA Network and NBC.


Ryder Cup rosters, which include a dozen competitors apiece, feature all the of the Top 10 -players- and 19 of the Top 25 -- in the Official World Golf Rankings.

"The goal is to win," American Collin Morikawa told reporters Wednesday. "You do whatever it takes; sacrifices, you put your blood sweat and tears out there. It's nonstop effort. These are long days. This is a long week, with all the things we have to do.


"Come Sunday, if you have the Cup in your hands with your team, everything is worth it."

The Americans will attempt to defend their title after a 19-9 triumph in 2021, their largest margin of victory since 1967. They've hoisted Ryder Cups in two of the last three tournaments. The Europeans won six of seven titles before that.

"Everyone knows this a bit of a transitional period for the European team," said world No. 2 Rory McIlroy, the top player on the European team. "There are people who have been a part of the European team for a long time who aren't here this week.

"But I think the guys we've brought in are going to be awesome."

Every player on the U.S. team ranks inside the Top 25, led by No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, No. 5 Patrick Cantlay, No. 6 Xander Schauffele, No. 7 Max Homa, No. 9 Brian Harman and No. 10 Wyndham Clark.

No. 12 Jordan Spieth, No. 17 Brooks Koepka, No. 19 Morikawa, No. 20 Sam Burns, No. 24 Justin Thomas and No. 25 Rickie Fowler round out the American squad.

McIlroy, No. 3 Jon Rahm, No. 4 Viktor Hovland and No. 8 Matt Fitzpatrick are the top European players.


No. 11 Tyrrell Hatton, No. 13 Tommy Fleetwood, No. 22 Sepp Straka, No. 34 Shane Lowry, No. 37 Justin Rose, No. 55 Robert MacIntyre, No. 80 Ludvig Aberg and No. 82 Nicolai Hojgaard also will play for the Europeans.

Zach Johnson will captain the U.S. team, while Luke Donald leads the Europeans.

The first two days of the tournament, Friday and Saturday, will start with a foursome session, followed by a four-ball competition.

Sunday's final round will feature a dozen one-on-one matches.

Four-ball play consists of two-man teams battling each other. The lowest score between players on a team is counted for each hole, with the other scores thrown out. Two-man teams also participate in the foursomes competition, with teammates alternating shots until they finish their holes.

Each competition is worth one point. Teams will receive a half-point for tied matches. The first team to secure 14.5 points wins the Ryder Cup.

Each team includes four rookies, but the Europeans bring slightly more experience to Rome. Six Europeans appeared in two previous tournaments, while four Americans appeared in at least two previous ones.

McIlroy is the most-experienced tournament competitor, with six previous appearances. Rose is the second-most experienced, with five previous Ryder Cup starts.


Fowler and Spieth are the most-experienced Americans, with four previous appearances. Koepka (three) and Thomas (two) are the only other Americans with at least two previous appearances. Clark, Harman, Burns and Homa will make their Ryder Cup debuts.

MacIntyre, Straka, Aberg and Hojgaard are the European rookies.

The American team boasts more success on the PGA Tour and in major tournaments, with 85 and 15 titles, respectively. Those majors were won by seven different players. Team Europe players combined to win 67 PGA Tour titles and nine majors (won by five players).

Temperatures are expected to hover between the 60s and 80s throughout the weekend, with no rain in the forecast. The 7,181-yard course will play at a par of 71 and features many blind approaches to greens, water hazards, thick roughs and elevations throughout, which could fatigue players.

The Americans also will contend with crowds favoring the European team.

"We will have some fans, but the quietness becomes our cheers," Fowler said. "I enjoy it. I feel like the fans have always been great over here.

"Yeah, they are going to give us a hard time, with some one-liners here and there. It's part of it. We are on foreign soil. We aren't the favorites."


Ryder Cup schedule

All times EDT


First round coverage from 1:30 a.m. to noon on USA Network


Second round coverage from 1:30 to 3 a.m. on USA Network


Final round coverage from 5:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on NBC

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