Good morning and welcome to our live coverage of the 2023 Ryder Cup as Europe seek to keep the famous golf trophy on this side of the Atlantic following a bruising defeat at Whistling Straits two years ago.
That USA victory looked like it might usher in an era of dominance – and that could still prove the case – but shrewd golf watchers have grown ever more bullish about Europe’s chances over the last 12 months. Captain Luke Donald must have wondered where the new blood was going to emerge from as the likes of Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia and Paul Casey slipped off the scene for a variety of reasons.
But Europe now boasts the World No 2, 3 and 4 in Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Viktor Hovland, who won three times in America this year on his way to winning the FedEx Cup. Matt Fitzpatrick won last year’s US Open, while his fellow Englishmen Tyrrell Hatton and Tommy Fleetwood have enjoyed consistent seasons. Former Italian Open winners Bob MacIntyre and Nicolai Hojgaard earned captain’s picks in part due to their course form at Marco Simone. Prodigious talent Ludvig Aberg was one of Donald’s other picks and heads out alongside Hovland in this morning’s foursomes.
This are the morning matches:
6:35am: Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns vs Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton
6:50am: Max Homa and Brian Harman vs Ludvig Aberg and Viktor Hovland
7:05am: Rickie Fowler and Collin Morikawa vs Shane Lowry and Sepp Straka
7:20am: Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay vs Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood
Speaking about sending Rahm and Hatton out first, Donald said: “They are very passionate. I think Jon feeds off a playing partner with a similar kind of fire and passion. He wants to feel like he’s out there with a team-mate that’s really engaged with him. Tyrrell really fits that bill.
“The Ryder Cup means a lot to both of those, I found that out over the last couple of weeks. Jon was really inspired by the Ryder Cup back in ‘97. It was the first time he really came to golf – the Ryder Cup at Valderrama.
“I think their personalities match up, the statistics point towards a very strong partnership.”