One year later, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, everything is ready in Whistling Straits (Kohler, Wisconsin) for the dispute of the 43rd Ryder Cup, the tournament that every two years faces the best players from the US and Europe and that this 2021 is played on the field designed by Pete Dye in 1998 next to Lake Michigan.
The american team, captained by Steve Stricker, will try to recover the trophy before the Europe led by Padraig Harrington. For the umpteenth time since 1979 – there has always been at least one Spanish player on the team – the golf of our Spanish country will be represented, as in Le Golf National in 2018, by Jon Rahm and Sergio García. And both will play together the first morning foursome against Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth, two former world number 1s in a dog-face duel. They will follow Paul Casey-Viktor Hovland against Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa, Lee Westwood-Matthew Fitzpatrick against Daniel Berger-Brooks Koepka and the foursomes will close Rory McIlroy-Ian Poulter against Xander Schauffele-Patrick Cantlay.
Jon and Sergio will become the tenth Spanish couple in the Ryder Cup. You have to go back to September 1979 to find the first time that two Spaniards played together. It was also in the first game of that Ryder held on the route of The Greenbrier, in West Virginia (USA). The protagonists, Antonio Garrido and Seve Ballesteros. They played a fourball and lost 2-1 to Lanny Wadkins and Larry Nelson, then two heavyweight golfers.
Rahm will play his second Ryder. And he will do so as a solid number one in the world rankings and having already debuted his Grand Slams roster with the Torrey Pines US Open. Jon, 26, in addition to winning his first major, also contracted Covid-19 on two occasions, forcing him to withdraw from the Memorial in June, when he was leading the tournament, and from the Olympic Games. from Tokyo. Rahm said yesterday that he felt like he had gone through two years of experiences in the five and a half months since he became a father before the Masters in April.
“So much has happened since then. The good times, the great experiences, the happiness far outweighs the setbacks, and that’s all I can say about this year. Winning the Ryder Cup would be a very nice ending to what has been a wonderful year. ”Rahm told the accredited media in Kohler. With his victory at the US Open, Rahm joined Seve Ballesteros, Txema Olazábal and Sergio García in the elite group of Spanish Grand Slam champions. “When you are born in Spain, the Ryder Cup is something special. I don’t know the exact time, but it has been on my radar for many years. There is a lot of legacy in this event between Seve and Ollie, especially because of the amount of points in Ryder they scored together. It’s a lot of history to measure up, I’m not going to lie. There are many expectations that are created when you are Spanish ”, he added.
Jon said it a few hours before the opening ceremony and knowing that he would finally play in the morning session of foursomes with Sergio García. “In my first Ryder in Paris I was number three in the world. In this, the second and it comes relatively early, I am number one in the world and I have won a ‘big one’ ”, added the US Open champion, who is accompanied by his family (by the way living more than an hour from the field).
Rahm has shared a good part of the practice days with Sergio, one of the most veteran of the European team, with ten participations in the Ryder and although captain Harrington had the last word, everything indicated that Jon and Sergio would be a good couple in one of doubles matches on Friday or Saturday.
“The strongest point is the claw and the Spanish connection. We are two players who never give up and we are going to fight every hit. We have a certain imagination on the field, which in match play is difficult to beat, especially on a good day, ”said the Basque. It is the fourth Spanish couple from Castellón, who made a duet with Txema Olazábal in 2006 (KClub), with Miguel Ángel Jiménez in 2008 (Valhalla) and with Rafa Cabrera in 2016 (Hazeltine).
“A strong point of Sergio is that from tee to green he is a robot and one does not fail. So I delighted. We are two very good players in that aspect, that in a field like this and in these conditions (watch out for the wind and how long it is) we can be very difficult to beat ”, added Jon. “I believe – he repeated – that our great value is that determination and that determination that makes us a little unique. As we would say in Spain, a bit of a bad host ”, concluded the one from Barrika.
The start of this Ryder will therefore have a great Spanish accent, not in vain Sergio García and Jon Rahm will play together and they will do so in the first game against Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth, the couple in which the United States has the most faith. Very tough confrontation to open the great transoceanic duel, starting at 2:05 p.m., Spanish peninsular time (Movistar Golf). After the first four games in the afternoon, the fourballs will be played. The pairings will be announced by the captains in the final stretch of the morning session of foursomes.