The 2018 Ryder Cup is Going to Be Epic.  Here’s Why

09/24/2018

With the FedEx Cup and Tour Championships now in our rear view, it’s time to shift focus to the 2018 Ryder Cup.  Stay tuned for our 2018 Ryder Cup preview later this week, but for now we need to discuss what is going to make the 2018 Ryder Cup one to remember.

Justin Rose Wins the FedEx Cup

Let’s get right to it.  Justin Rose reached #1 in the OWGR rankings earlier this month. He won the FedEx Cup (and a cool $10 million) this weekend.  Now, he will head into the 2018 Ryder Cup as a marquee member of Team Europe.  That’s a good career, but we’re just talking about the month of September.

Add to that the fact that Justin Rose has experience on the Ryder Cup team.  He is 11-6-2 in his Ryder Cup career.  Couple that record with the fact that he’s playing well, and his game translates to the Ryder Cup dominance.  In fact, he went 3-1-0 in his first Ryder Cup in 2008.

Tons of experience does not translate to Ryder Cup success (Phil Mickelson is 18-20-7 in 11 appearances).  But Justin Rose is tearing up 2018, with 11 top-10 finishes, and 3 straight top-5s to come storming into the 2018 Ryder Cup.  If you worry about anyone being a threat to Team USA repeating, Justin Rose will be a big reason.

Tiger Woods Wins the Tour Championship

If Justin Rose is the feel-good story coming into the 2018 Ryder Cup, then Tiger Woods is the feel-(insert adjective here) story.  Great, incredible, unlikely, improbable, unbelievable are just 5 that come to mind to me.  But think about where Tiger’s game was at this time last year… It didn’t exist. He missed a cut and withdrew from an event, and we were left wondering not if we would see the old Tiger Woods again.  Instead, we wondered whether we would even SEE Tiger Woods again.

Fast forward to today, and Tiger has climbed back to #13 in the world and has 7 top-10s in 2018.  Not only that, he finished 2nd at the PGA Championship and won his 80th tournament.  How did this all happen?  Three words:  he’s Tiger Woods.

Now his record in Ryder Cup competition is underwhelming at best (13-17-3 in 7 appearances).  But Tiger didn’t earn a captain’s pick on name recognition, though he most certainly would have.  Instead, it was his play on the course that ultimately led to the 14-time major champion becoming a 2018 Ryder Cup captain’s pick for Team USA.

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And if you don’t think Tiger Woods winning the week before the 2018 Ryder Cup was good for golf, you don’t understand how TV ratings work.

The 2016 Ryder Cup

The 2018 Ryder Cup is going to be a premier event because that’s exactly what it is: a premier event.  But does anyone remember the 2016 Ryder Cup?  Even if you’re a casual golf fan who only watches majors or plays a handful of rounds a year, my guess is you do.  Most notably, a very memorable back-and-forth between Patrick Reed and Rory McIlroy.

Here’s a quick reminder:

A 60-foot birdie putt, followed by a cupped ear and an “I can’t hear you” from Rory to the crowd.  A 20-footer and a finger wag from Reed, and a fist bump between the two competitors.  That was and is what the Ryder Cup has become, and I personally love it.

In a sport where much of the tradition comes off as stiff and exclusive to the casual fan, the Ryder Cup is in itself an anomaly.  It allows anyone who loves golf to tune in, pick a side and get immersed in competition.  When I watch a tournament, I’m usually cheering for incredible shots, amazing saves and crucial putts.

Sure, there may be a storyline or golfer I would like to win, but there are so many likeable players that it’s often hard to root against guys.

That’s not the case for the Ryder Cup.  The Ryder Cup is all about choosing sides.

The Ryder Cup Teams

Just how accomplished are the 2018 Ryder Cup Teams?  Let’s take a look:

Team USA

  • 9 of 12 players have at least 1 Major
  • Team USA has a combined 30 Major victories
  • The LEAST accomplished guy is ranked #17 in the world (Tony Finau)
  • Last year’s PGA Tour Rookie of the Year and current world #19 didn’t even make the cut (Xander Schauffele)

Team Europe

  • 5 of 12 players have at least 1 Major
  • Team Europe has a combined 8 Major victories
  • Europe has won 8 of the last 11 Ryder Cups
  • Ian Poulter is 12-4-2, Sergio Garcia is 19-11-7 in Ryder Cups

There is a lot of accomplishment to go around this week, and both sides have success and experience to boot.

The Rookies

There are 8 rookies to the 2018 Ryder Cup teams (Europe has 5, USA has 3).  But these guys hardly come off as rookies.

For example, Tommy Fleetwood tied the U.S. Open single round scoring record with a 63 back in June, en route to a 2nd place finish.

Bryson DeChambeau won the 2015 NCAA Division I championship and U.S. Amateur championship in the same year.

Tyrrell Hatton has 4 top-10 finishes in majors since 2016.

Jon Rahm had 4 wins in his first 38 professional starts (only Tiger Woods has a better ratio in the last 30 years).

Justin Thomas is a major champion, former world number 1, and FedEx Cup champion.  And he did it all before turning 25.

The oldest guy mentioned is Tommy Fleetwood.  He’s 27.  That means these guys could very well be the Ryder Cup veterans for years to come.

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Who Wins the 2018 Ryder Cup?

Who do you think will win the 2018 Ryder Cup?  Does Team Europe have the ability to take their youth and past success to victory?  Or will the favored Team USA be able to repeat as Ryder Cup champs?  Read our 2018 Ryder Cup Preview and see who we think will win!

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