Ryder Cup 2021 Opening Ceremony: when does it start, and how to watch on TV

Padraig Harrington will lead Team Europe CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES

The Ryder Cup is one of the iconic events on the sports calendar and returns on Friday after being postponed a year by the pandemic.

Europe won the last time, in 2018, reclaiming the Ryder Cup in France with the American team winning the last edition to be held in the United States in 2016.

When is it?

The Ryder Cup begins on Friday, September 24 and ends on Sunday, September 26. Here is the schedule for each day (times shown are BST, six hours before local time):

Friday 

  • Morning foursomes tee off at 1.05pm, 1.21pm, 1.27pm and 1.53pm
  • Afternoon fourballs tee off at 6.10pm, 6.26pm, 6.42pm and 6.58pm

Saturday

  • Morning foursomes tee off at 1.05pm, 1.21pm, 1.27pm and 1.53pm
  • Afternoon fourballs tee off at 6.10pm, 6.26pm, 6.42pm and 6.58pm

Sunday

  • Singles matches tee off between 5.04pm and 7.05pm, at 11-minute intervals

Where is it?

The event will take place at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.

How can I watch on TELEVISION?

The Ryder Cup will be broadcast on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Golf in the UK.

How are the teams picked?

Twelve players represent each side along with a captain and his two substitutes.

For Team Europe, nine players automatically qualify for selection, while the captain selects three more. The captain of this year’s Europe team is Padraig Harrington. Martin Kaymer and Graeme McDowell are his vice captains. Ranking places are awarded to the four players who lead the Race to Dubai points list for the European Tour and the other five players are based on the world points list ranking.

The qualifying window closed on September 12 after the PGA BMW Championship.

For Team USA, only six players qualify automatically through their ranking, leaving half of the team at the discretion of their captain Steve Stricker. Phil Mickelson and Fred Couples join the US leadership group.

Steve Stricker.
Steve Stricker will lead Team USA CREDIT: AP

The initial six players are selected via the USA’s points list, which is taken from prize money in select events since 2019 (including all majors and PGA Tour events). The USA’s qualification period ended at the US-based BMW Championship on August 29.

Who is in the teams?

The starting six players are selected via the US points roster, which is taken from prize money at select events since 2019 (including all major and PGA Tour events). The US qualifying period ended at the US-based BMW Championship on August 29.

Who are part of the teams?
The teams were finalized when Harrington and Stricker named their captain’s picks. Read our full guide for both sets of players here. These are the players who will be playing in Whistling Straits.

Europe: Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Viktor Hovland, Paul Casey, Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton, Matt Fitzpatrick, Lee Westwood, Bernd Wiesberger, Sergio García (selected), Shane Lowry (selected), Ian Poulter (selected)

United States: Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Cantlay, Collin Morikawa, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth (selection), Tony Finau (selection), Xander Schauffele (selection), Harris English (selection), Daniel Berger (selection) , Scottie Scheffler (choose)

The main topic of conversation after the teams’ completion was the omission of Justin Rose by Harrington and Patrick Reed by Stricker.

“It was incredibly difficult with JR [Justin Rose],” Harrington said. “He was clearly in contention in his last two events.

“Did you need more? Maybe not, but the fact of the matter is who he was up against, the consistency of Shane Lowry, the heart of the team has been Ian and Sergio over the years, someone had to lose.

Justin Rose of England plays his second shot on the 18th hole
Justin Rose finished strongly at the BMW PGA Championship but missed out on a place CREDIT: Getty Images

Justin Rose finished strong in the BMW PGA Championship, but missed a spot CREDIT: Getty Images
“It really is as close as that. If you don’t play your way, it’s a tough place. It could easily have been JR or Alex Noren.

“I am delighted for Bernd Wiesberger. He is a great player and anyone who makes his way into the team deserves it, but in the end it was a lost place that could have gone to a JR or an Alex Noren.

“I had a chat with him [Rose] and he was an absolute gentleman. I certainly would have been happy with him there, but it was too far away. “

Competition format: how does it work?
For our full explainer, see here. But more briefly, there are 28 games played over the course of the weekend, starting with foursomes and four-balls on Friday and Saturday and concluding with a full singles round on Sunday.

Each game is worth one point. In the result of a tied match (where both teams complete the round in the name of the number of shots) half a point is awarded to each. It means that 14.5 points are enough for an outright victory, but if you are the defending champion, a tie at 14 points will allow you to retain the Ryder Cup. Europe are the current holders.

Each captain will decide who will play the eight games in the first two days in which the foursomes and the four balls are played. The order is determined by the house captain. The difference between disciplines? Well, a foursome match sees two pairs of golfers compete on the course with teammates alternating strokes of the same ball.

A four ball contest does exactly what it says on the tin. Each golfer plays with his or her own ball, but it is the pair’s best score that contributes to their total.

On the last day of the event, each member of both teams will participate in the 12 individual matches. Each captain will also determine in what order the players will come out of him.

What are the latest odds?

Europe: 5/2
USA: 1/2
Draw: 12/1

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