It’s about time for the Ryder Cup, the biennial match-play tournament between the best the United States has to offer and the top golfers from Europe. Things often get heated and the gamesmanship often is through the roof, making the Ryder Cup one of the more interesting golf tournaments to watch, which this year means getting up plenty early to see it. Here’s what you need to know.
Ryder Cup 2018
Thursday: Opening Ceremony, 9 a.m., Golf Channel.
Friday: Midnight-11 a.m., Golf Channel.
Saturday: Midnight-1 a.m., Golf Channel; 1 a.m.-11 a.m., NBC.
Sunday: 4 a.m.-11 a.m., NBC.
SCHEDULE (all times Mountain)
Thursday: Opening Ceremony, 9 a.m.
Friday: 12:10 a.m., four-ball matches; 5:50 a.m., foursomes.
Saturday: 12:10 a.m., four-ball matches; 5:50 a.m., foursomes.
Sunday: 4:05 a.m., singles matches.
The Ryder Cup consists of 28 matches over three days: eight four-ball matches, eight foursomes matches and 12 singles matches. Each team gets one point for winning a match, with a half-point awarded to each team for matches that are tied after 18 holes. A team must garner 14 1/2 points to win the Ryder Cup; in the event of a 14-14 tie, the defending champion retains it (Team USA is the defending champion this year).
Four-ball matches: Two teams of two golfers each, with each golfer playing his own shot. The team with the golfer who has the lowest individual score on each hole wins the hole. If the low scores are tied, the hole is halved. Most holes won wins the match.
Foursomes matches: Two teams of two golfers each, with the golfers alternating shots. The players also alternate tee shots. Each hole is won by the team that completes the hole in the fewest shots. A tie means the hole is halved. Most holes won wins the match.
Singles: One-on-one matches, with the lowest score winning each hole.
Team USA has a 26-13-2 record at the Ryder Cup but is only 8-10-1 against Team Europe since 1979. Before that, the European team was composed of golfers only from Great Britain, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Guernsey and Jersey. Since then, it has been open to golfers from across the continent.
Player to Watch
Mickelson will be appearing in his 12th Ryder Cup, a record, and has appeared in 45 Ryder Cup matches, one short of Nick Faldo’s all-time mark. He’s 18-20-7 all-time at the Ryder Cup.
Woods, making his eighth Ryder Cup appearance, is just 13-17-3 in 33 career matches. He’s 4-1-2 in singles but 9-16-1 in four-ball and foursomes matches.
Reed has lost just one of the nine Ryder Cup matches he has played over two appearances, going 6-1-2.
Watson is 3-8-0 all-time at the Ryder Cup, losing all three of his singles matches and both of his foursomes matches.
Garcia is back for his ninth Ryder Cup and has a 19-11-7 match record.
Poulter is 12-4-2 all-time at the Ryder Cup and never has lost a singles match (4-0-1).
Molinari, this year’s British Open champion, has never won a Ryder Cup match in two appearances, going 0-4-2.
Thomas, DeChambeau and Finau are making their Ryder Cup debuts for Team USA. Hatton, Fleetwood, Oleson, Rahm and Noren are the newcomers for Team Europe, which had six rookies in 2016 (none of them made this year’s team).