The 2023 Ryder Cup will take place in Italy for the very first time, with the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club playing host to the biennial event.
The United States is the current holder, having inflicted a record 19-9 defeat on Europe at Whistling Straits in September 2021 and there were fears, from a European standpoint anyway, that the momentum was beginning to swing in favor of the Americans.
Since the turn of the century, the Europeans have dominated the event. They have won seven of the ten editions, losing only three and none of these have been at home.
The USA hasn’t won on European soil since the 1993 Ryder Cup at the Belfry and this is the aim for Zach Johnson and his team. The question is, can Europe continue this remarkable home record?
How important will Rory McIlroy be to Europe?
In terms of golf betting, Europe is not the favorites, with the USA looking very much like the stronger side heading into the competition and it could come down to several individuals to save the day for Luke Donald’s men.
McIlroy will be vital for any home success. The Northern Irishman has enjoyed a solid 2023 despite failing to win a PGA Tour event. He finished second at the 2023 U.S. Open in June and has a stellar Ryder Cup record.
He has won four of the six Ryder Cups he has participated in since his debut in 2010 at Celtic Manor, playing a total of 24 matches across those six ties.
Having secured 14 points from these matches, he will be one of the more experienced heads in the home camp and Donald may pair him with a rookie in order to showcase his strengths.
Is Luke Donald the right man to lead Europe in Rome?
The Englishman wasn’t the first choice to lead Team Europe in the Italian capital, benefitting from Henrik Stenson’s decision to join the PIF-funded LIV Golf series after the Open Championship in 2022.
Stenson was removed from the captaincy role and Donald was given the job with little more than a year to prepare for the event, perhaps putting him at a slight disadvantage compared to Johnson, the USA captain.
This shouldn’t faze the former world number one, however, especially considering his wonderful record in the event.
The 44-year-old represented the continent on four occasions and emerged as a winner every time, with his greatest contribution coming in 2012, where he led out the visiting side during the Sunday singles and claimed the important first point against Bubba Watson.
Donald was vice-captain under Thomas Bjorn for the win in Paris back in 2018 and also under Padraig Harrington for the humbling in Wisconsin two years ago, therefore bringing a wealth of knowledge to the role.
Europe could certainly use its slight underdog status to its advantage as the USA will be under severe pressure to end a hoodoo that stretches back 13 Ryder Cups and 30 years.
It promises to be yet another exciting contest between the two teams on European soil.
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