Ryder Cup 2023: Where did it go wrong for USA in Rome as Europe extend home winning streak?


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Team USA captain Zach Johnson gives his reaction after his side lost the Ryder Cup to Team Europe.

Team USA captain Zach Johnson gives his reaction after his side lost the Ryder Cup to Team Europe.

The wait goes on for Team USA.

Not since 1993 at The Belfry have America won a Ryder Cup on European soil, with a 16.5-11.5 defeat in Rome this week condemning them to a seventh consecutive loss on the road.

So just where did it go wrong for Zach Johnson’s side at Marco Simone?

The best of the action from day three of the Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Italy.

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The best of the action from day three of the Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Italy.

The best of the action from day three of the Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Italy.

Lack of preparation

Whereas each member of the European team teed it up at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth earlier this month, nine of the American twelvesome had not tasted any competitive golf since the season-ending Tour Championship in Atlanta in late August.

Only Justin Thomas and Max Homa – the latter of whom ended up USA’s top points scorer in Rome with 3.5 out of five – had played on the PGA Tour in the last month, while Brooks Koepka featured on the LIV Golf circuit a week before the Ryder Cup.

US skipper Johnson refuted the notion that his men were undercooked, saying at his post-event press conference: “There’s something to be said about rest and recovering and getting your game in a position where you can compete. These guys have won a lot of golf tournaments with weeks off.

“I might reflect on some changes that I maybe could have done or nuanced or altered or whatever [but] I am not going to slight the preparation of these guys. Whether it was at home or here, I know they were working their tails off to retain and bring the cup back home.”

After Team Europe won the Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome, take a look at the best shots from the Sunday singles matches.

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After Team Europe won the Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome, take a look at the best shots from the Sunday singles matches.

After Team Europe won the Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome, take a look at the best shots from the Sunday singles matches.

However, Paul McGinley, who captained Europe to Ryder Cup glory at Gleneagles in 2014, felt the American team lacked a “competitive cutting edge, saying: “In Paris in 2018, America were over-golfed and jaded. This time was the opposite, players hadn’t played in weeks. I only started to see fire from USA on Saturday afternoon but by then the horse had bolted. Europe were out of sight.”

Sir Nick Faldo also said that there was “no way” America’s players would head into a major having not played for so long and Jordan Spieth said for him personally that such a lengthy rest was not ideal.

“If it were tighter to our TOUR Championship and/or even if it were later and we had more of an opportunity to get a little rest and play more of an event or something, then it helps a bit.”

Johnson’s captains’ picks

Eyebrows were raised when Johnson announced his wildcard selections for the Ryder Cup with Justin Thomas given a gig despite failing to qualify for the FedExCup Playoffs, missing the cut in three majors (Masters, US Open, Open Championship) and finishing tied for 65th in the other.

Thomas picked up 1.5 points in Italy, the joint-highest return among Johnson’s six picks alongside Koepka, with Collin Morikawa, Sam Burns and Spieth securing a solitary point and Rickie Fowler absolutely zilch, although the latter was said to be battling illness.

European fans at the Ryder Cup continued to taunt Patrick Cantlay by waving caps in his direction and booing him on the first tee at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome.

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European fans at the Ryder Cup continued to taunt Patrick Cantlay by waving caps in his direction and booing him on the first tee at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome.

European fans at the Ryder Cup continued to taunt Patrick Cantlay by waving caps in his direction and booing him on the first tee at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome.

Among those overlooked by Johnson was Lucas Glover, with the 43-year-old’s back-to-back victories at the Wyndham Championship and FedEx St Jude Championship in August not enough to earn him a call-up. LIV trio Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Talor Gooch also missed out.

Dustin Johnson managed five points from five when USA demolished Europe 19-9 at Whistling Straits in 2021, DeChambeau has won two of the last three LIV events and shot a 58 in one of them, while Gooch is a three-time champion in the LIV League in 2023.

Faldo said: “Johnson took a risk with his six picks. They are great names but I said right from the start that they were all running hot and cold. He left out Glover who had just won two tournaments so I am sure he is hurting over that.”

The pairings

“I maybe made some poor decisions… I’ll reflect at some point,” was what captain Johnson told Sky Sports shortly after Tommy Fleetwood clinched the Ryder Cup for Team Europe.

Tommy Fleetwood secured a point for Team Europe in his singles match against Rickie Fowler at the Ryder Cup, with an incredible tee shot at the par-4 16th hole at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome.

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Tommy Fleetwood secured a point for Team Europe in his singles match against Rickie Fowler at the Ryder Cup, with an incredible tee shot at the par-4 16th hole at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome.

Tommy Fleetwood secured a point for Team Europe in his singles match against Rickie Fowler at the Ryder Cup, with an incredible tee shot at the par-4 16th hole at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome.

Johnson was quick to praise his 12 players but those “poor decisions” he mentioned are possibly with regards to how he paired them, with USA only managing 5.5 of the 16 points available across fourballs and foursomes. Foursomes was a complete disaster for America. They were thrashed 7-1.

It was a little odd to see Ryder Cup rookie Burns put in the first match of the entire contest – one he and Scottie Scheffler lost 4&3 to Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton. It was perhaps even odder to see Koepka, Thomas and Spieth not used at all until the afternoon’s fourballs.

Koepka has been one of the gun players of 2023, winning the third PGA Championship of his career in May after finishing second at The Masters in April, while Thomas and Spieth were expected to be a key pairing for Johnson having linked up before in Ryder Cups and Presidents Cups.

Overconfidence, illness or lack of team morale?

We may never know if any of those things played a part in Team USA’s defeat but Sky Sports’ Dame Laura Davies wondered whether the away side expected an easy win after utterly dominating Europe in Wisconsin two years ago. “Maybe because they won so easily at Whistling Straits they thought it would be a breeze to win the trophy again,” she said.

Faldo added: “Whether America thought they could waltz over here because they are bigger and stronger, I don’t know, but they got a nasty shock. Europe were physically, technically and mentally prepared. They were ready.”

Johnson and his players have also been adamant that this USA team is a close-knit one, despite murmurings that not all was well in the camp. The team line has been that Patrick Cantlay’s decision to go hatless was not done because he objected to players going unpaid for this tournament but simply because he could not find a cap that fit.

Maybe the ill-feeling was overplayed, then, but you do sense the more natural rapport there seems to be in the European side was crucial in their foursomes success.

Luke Donald was overcome with emotion after leading Team Europe to a sensational Ryder Cup victory over Team USA in Rome.

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Luke Donald was overcome with emotion after leading Team Europe to a sensational Ryder Cup victory over Team USA in Rome.

Luke Donald was overcome with emotion after leading Team Europe to a sensational Ryder Cup victory over Team USA in Rome.

Skipper Luke Donald opted to begin with that format in the hope of a “fast start” and, boy, did he get one, with the home side winning the opening morning 4-0.

US captain Johnson said after his team’s day-one horror show that illness had been a factor, if not an excuse. “We’re fighting things internally. It’s kind of passed around a little bit, caddies, players. I’m grateful we have a team doctor.

“The bottom line is there’s been some unforeseen things that we’ve had to navigate around, which is really unfortunate, in the sense of health. It’s one of those where sometimes the energy is probably a little low, but the ability and desire to go out and play is still there.”

Europe were too good

Viktor Hovland was in inspired form in his singles match against Collin Morikawa, winning 4&3 as Europe edged closer to regaining the Ryder Cup in Rome.

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Viktor Hovland was in inspired form in his singles match against Collin Morikawa, winning 4&3 as Europe edged closer to regaining the Ryder Cup in Rome.

Viktor Hovland was in inspired form in his singles match against Collin Morikawa, winning 4&3 as Europe edged closer to regaining the Ryder Cup in Rome.

That’s the main reason USA lost the Ryder Cup. Even if there was infighting, illness, a lack of competitive golf, and poor pairings, even if not wining overseas in 30 years weighed heavily on them, America were ultimately blown away by the better side.

McIlroy, Rahm and Viktor Hovland showed exactly why they sit so high in the world rankings, winning four, 3.5 and three points respectively to lead Europe towards victory, while every single player contributed at least half a point to the overall tally of 16.5.

Home Ryder Cups seem to bring the best out of Europe and for McIlroy the event cannot be topped by anything else in the game.

Rory McIlroy reflects on Team Europe's journey to victory at the Ryder Cup and how much the win means to him.

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Rory McIlroy reflects on Team Europe’s journey to victory at the Ryder Cup and how much the win means to him.

Rory McIlroy reflects on Team Europe’s journey to victory at the Ryder Cup and how much the win means to him.

“I don’t get emotional about any other event apart from this. This is truly the best event in golf bar none. Any boy or girl aspiring to play golf, this is the pinnacle.

“This is the best and I hope anyone who is a great golfer gets to experience what we are experiencing right now.”

Team USA will hope to experience it at New York in 2025, erasing the mistakes and memories of another unsuccessful visit to Europe.

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Ryder Cup: Europe lead 10.5-5.5 over Team USA despite Patrick Cantlay’s dramatic fourballs finish

Rory McIlroy involved in heated exchange on 18th green and in car park after Patrick Cantlay’s dramatic final-hole fourballs win; Team Europe need just four points on final day to regain trophy; Watch the Sunday singles live from 9am on Sky Sports Golf, ahead of first tee from 10.35am

Last Updated: 30/09/23 10:33pm


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Lots of drama on the 18th hole on Day 2 as Team USA wave their caps back at the Ryder Cup crowd as Patrick Cantlay earns his team a crucial point.

Lots of drama on the 18th hole on Day 2 as Team USA wave their caps back at the Ryder Cup crowd as Patrick Cantlay earns his team a crucial point.

Team Europe are closing on an emphatic Ryder Cup victory after retaining a commanding five-point lead over Team USA heading into the Sunday singles in Rome.

Luke Donald’s side began the day five ahead and extended their advantage after edging the Saturday foursomes session, only for Team USA to claim three points in the fourballs and cut the gap to 10.5-5.5 at Marco Simone GC.

Viktor Hovland and Ludvig Åberg had reduced Scottie Scheffler to tears earlier in the day after defeating the world No 1 and Brooks Koepka 9&7, the biggest 18-hole win in Ryder Cup history, only to struggle in the afternoon session and fall to a 4&3 loss to Sam Burns and Collin Morikawa.

Sam Burns and Collin Morikawa beat Viktor Hovland (Nor) and Ludvig Åberg (Swe) 4&3

Max Homa and Brian Harman beat Tommy Fleetwood (Eng) and Nicolai Hojgaard (Den) 2&1

Justin Rose (Eng) and Robert MacIntyre (Sco) beat Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth 3&2

Patrick Cantlay and Wyndham Clark beat Matt Fitzpatrick (Eng) and Rory McIlroy (NIrl) 1up

The best of the action from day two of the Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Italy.

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The best of the action from day two of the Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Italy.

The best of the action from day two of the Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Italy.

Scottie Scheffler and Brooks Koepka were beaten 9&7 by Viktor Hovland and Ludvig Aberg in the Saturday foursomes at the Ryder Cup in Rome, a record defeat in the competition

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Scottie Scheffler and Brooks Koepka were beaten 9&7 by Viktor Hovland and Ludvig Aberg in the Saturday foursomes at the Ryder Cup in Rome, a record defeat in the competition

Scottie Scheffler and Brooks Koepka were beaten 9&7 by Viktor Hovland and Ludvig Aberg in the Saturday foursomes at the Ryder Cup in Rome, a record defeat in the competition

Max Homa and Brian Harman claimed their second point of the day when they survived a late comeback from Tommy Fleetwood and Nicolai Hojgaard to earn a 2&1 win, with a Team USA clean sweep temporarily remaining a possibility with two matches left on the course.

Justin Rose and Robert MacIntyre claimed Europe’s first point of the session when they despatched Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas 3&2, before Rory McIlroy and Matt Fitzpatrick were beaten in a dramatic finish in the final match.

Justin Rose repeats his heroics of day one by draining this clutch putt to seal a point for Team Europe, this time claiming a 3&2 win over Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth

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Justin Rose repeats his heroics of day one by draining this clutch putt to seal a point for Team Europe, this time claiming a 3&2 win over Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth

Justin Rose repeats his heroics of day one by draining this clutch putt to seal a point for Team Europe, this time claiming a 3&2 win over Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth

The Europe were one ahead with two to play against Wyndham Clark and Patrick Cantlay, who quietened the home crowd by birdieing the 17th and draining a sensational 45-foot birdie at the last to snatch a 1up win and session victory for the visitors.

Angry scenes followed on the 18th green, with Cantlay’s caddie Joe LaCava involved in heated conversations with McIlroy after allegedly standing on his line, before the argument spilled over to the car park and McIlroy had to be ushered away by Lowry.

A furious Rory McIlroy confronted a Team USA caddie in the car park post-round after an incident on the 18th hole.

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A furious Rory McIlroy confronted a Team USA caddie in the car park post-round after an incident on the 18th hole.

A furious Rory McIlroy confronted a Team USA caddie in the car park post-round after an incident on the 18th hole.

Europe need four points in the Sunday singles to regain the trophy and win a seventh consecutive home edition of the biennial contest, while Zach Johnson’s American team need eight points to retain the cup and 8.5 points to end their 30-year wait for victory on away soil.

Sky Sports' Jamie Weir dissects the stories surrounding Patrick Cantlay and why day two has led to high tensions between the two teams.

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Sky Sports’ Jamie Weir dissects the stories surrounding Patrick Cantlay and why day two has led to high tensions between the two teams.

Sky Sports’ Jamie Weir dissects the stories surrounding Patrick Cantlay and why day two has led to high tensions between the two teams.

Sam Burns and Collin Morikawa beat Viktor Hovland and Ludvig Åberg 4&3

Burns holed a birdie at the first and converted from 10 feet for a winning par at the third, then responded to Hovland winning the fourth by birdieing the next and gesturing to the home crowd after holing from close range at the sixth.

Team USA's Sam Burns sinks the putt to win the sixth hole before gesturing to the Ryder Cup crowd.

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Team USA’s Sam Burns sinks the putt to win the sixth hole before gesturing to the Ryder Cup crowd.

Team USA’s Sam Burns sinks the putt to win the sixth hole before gesturing to the Ryder Cup crowd.

Morikawa took advantage of the par-five ninth to reach the turn four ahead and followed a birdie at the 11th by making a 10-foot eagle at the 12th to go six up with six to play.

The two-time major champion missed from four feet at the 13th and six feet at the 14th to lose both holes to Åberg birdies, before a par at the next was enough to give both Americans their first win of the contest.

Team USA's Sam Burns makes his par putt on the 15th hole to close out a 4&3 win with partner Colin Morikawa and insists the team believe they can make a Ryder Cup comeback.

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Team USA’s Sam Burns makes his par putt on the 15th hole to close out a 4&3 win with partner Colin Morikawa and insists the team believe they can make a Ryder Cup comeback.

Team USA’s Sam Burns makes his par putt on the 15th hole to close out a 4&3 win with partner Colin Morikawa and insists the team believe they can make a Ryder Cup comeback.

“We did a good job out there,” Burns said. “We knew it was going to be tough. We knew the crowds were going to be against us. We just kept fighting, and glad to put a point on the board for our team.”

Max Homa and Brian Harman beat Tommy Fleetwood and Nicolai Hojgaard 2&1

Homa opened with a six-foot birdie and Team USA stayed ahead when Hojgaard missed a birdie opportunity at the third, with the American then draining a 40-footer at the fourth and matching Fleetwood’s birdie at the next.

Max Homa produced some stunning shots as he was Team USA's star man winning both his matches on Saturday at the Ryder Cup in Rome.

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Max Homa produced some stunning shots as he was Team USA’s star man winning both his matches on Saturday at the Ryder Cup in Rome.

Max Homa produced some stunning shots as he was Team USA’s star man winning both his matches on Saturday at the Ryder Cup in Rome.

The Americans pulled further clear when Homa birdied the sixth and Harman took advantage of the ninth to reach the turn four ahead, with the visitors responding to losing the 10th to a Fleetwood birdie by making a brilliant eagle at the par-five 12th.

Hojgaard’s 30-foot birdie at the 14th and Fleetwood’s remarkable chip-in eagle from off the 16th green extended the contest, before Homa secured a second point of the day for him and Harman with a par on the penultimate hole.

Tommy Fleetwood keeps the hopes alive in his match-up with this spectacular chip-in to ignite the Ryder Cup crowd.

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Tommy Fleetwood keeps the hopes alive in his match-up with this spectacular chip-in to ignite the Ryder Cup crowd.

Tommy Fleetwood keeps the hopes alive in his match-up with this spectacular chip-in to ignite the Ryder Cup crowd.

Justin Rose and Robert MacIntyre beat Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth 3&2

MacIntyre slotted in from 15 feet to match the birdie at the first from Spieth, who added another at the fourth, while Rose’s winning birdie at the sixth was cancelled out when Thomas holed from six feet to win the next.

It was the signature pumped up celebration for Justin Rose as he sinks this 15-foot putt for the birdie and to win the hole.

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It was the signature pumped up celebration for Justin Rose as he sinks this 15-foot putt for the birdie and to win the hole.

It was the signature pumped up celebration for Justin Rose as he sinks this 15-foot putt for the birdie and to win the hole.

Rose birdied the ninth and drained a 15-footer at the 10th to move Europe ahead in the match for the first time, with MacIntyre winning the par-three 13th to double their advantage.

A par from Rose was enough to claim the 14th and MacIntyre’s brilliant up and down secured a tie at the next, with the point secure at the next to continue the Scot’s unbeaten start to his Ryder Cup career.

Justin Rose is rolling back the years on Day 2 of the Ryder Cup, as he sinks this superb birdie to give Europe the lead for the first time in match three.

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Justin Rose is rolling back the years on Day 2 of the Ryder Cup, as he sinks this superb birdie to give Europe the lead for the first time in match three.

Justin Rose is rolling back the years on Day 2 of the Ryder Cup, as he sinks this superb birdie to give Europe the lead for the first time in match three.

“Today is everything I’ve dreamed of. I worked hard for it,” MacIntyre said. “Yesterday I felt like I let Justin [Rose] down a little bit but he stood up to the challenge and today he was brilliant again, and thankfully I helped him out.”

Patrick Cantlay and Wyndham Clark beat Matt Fitzpatrick and Rory McIlroy 1up

McIlroy edged ahead with a 10-foot birdie at the fourth and halved the next after missing his eagle try, having driven the green, with both teams taking advantage of the par-four ninth to leave Europe 1up at the turn.

Rory McIlroy had three wins from three before this loss

Rory McIlroy had three wins from three before this loss

Cantlay left himself a close-range birdie to win the 11th and Fitzpatrick drained a 20-footer to match Clark’s birdie at the 13th, while McIlroy moved Europe back ahead when he holed from 10 feet at the 14th.

Cantlay holed from 10 feet to match McIlroy’s birdie at the 16th and made a birdie at the next to pull the contest level heading to the par-five last, where Cantlay recovered from a poor pitch to hole a remarkable 45-foot birdie and spark wild celebrations on the final green.

Patrick Cantlay amazing three putts on the last three holes helped Team USA claim a point and keep their Ryder Cup hopes alive.

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Patrick Cantlay amazing three putts on the last three holes helped Team USA claim a point and keep their Ryder Cup hopes alive.

Patrick Cantlay amazing three putts on the last three holes helped Team USA claim a point and keep their Ryder Cup hopes alive.

Caddie LaCava appeared to step across the line of a European putt as he waved his own cap in the air in celebration, with a heated debate ensuing on the 18th green and the argument continuing into the car park.

“Obviously they had a great finish and you know, Patrick made three great putts at the end to seal the deal, so hats off to them,” McIlroy said. “They played a great match, and yeah, a few scenes there on 18 and just fuel for the fire tomorrow.”

What’s next?

Watch the Ryder Cup exclusively live this week on Sky Sports! Live coverage of the singles begins on Sunday from 9am, ahead of the first tee time at 10.35am. Stream the Ryder Cup and more for £21 a month for six months with NOW.

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Ryder Cup: What next for Team USA after nightmare start? Europe enjoy historic start in Rome


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The best of the action from day one of the Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Italy.

The best of the action from day one of the Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Italy.

As Team Europe romped into a 6.5-1.5 lead over the USA on a remarkable opening day of the 2023 Ryder Cup in Rome, we take a look at the biggest talking points from Friday’s action…

Europe make history with strong start

Historically, the team which leads after the first session in the Ryder Cup goes on to win the trophy 60 per cent of the time, so it was imperative Europe got off to a flying start in the foursomes.

They did that in emphatic style, completing a clean sweep in the morning session, with a devastating showing where the hosts were not behind at any point.

It is the first time Europe have led 4-0 after the opening session and the first time the Americans had trailed heading into the afternoon on day one since 2006, with former Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley leading the praises.

“It’s huge – I didn’t see it coming,” McGinley, who oversaw Europe’s 2014 victory, said. “I knew Europe were primed, I knew they had a lot of form in their team, and I knew America were a little bit under-prepared.

Jon Rahm was on brilliant form for Team Europe as he partnered Tyrrell Hatton to beat Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns 4&3 during the Friday foursomes at the Ryder Cup in Rome.

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Jon Rahm was on brilliant form for Team Europe as he partnered Tyrrell Hatton to beat Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns 4&3 during the Friday foursomes at the Ryder Cup in Rome.

Jon Rahm was on brilliant form for Team Europe as he partnered Tyrrell Hatton to beat Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns 4&3 during the Friday foursomes at the Ryder Cup in Rome.

“I thought we were going to come out of the blocks fast, I didn’t think it was going to be this fast. What a sensational morning for Europe. It was brilliant golf – it wasn’t a fluke in any way.”

Donald’s foursomes gambit pays off

The start vindicated Team Europe captain Luke Donald’s decision to play the foursomes first and underlined his belief that is the format his players are stronger in.

That decision was taken after some detailed analysis which showed the team’s strength lies there rather than in the fourballs, with Donald adopting specific practice routines to build on that.

Luke Donald praised his team's performance on the first day of the Ryder Cup as they notched five match victories across foursomes and fourballs.

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Luke Donald praised his team’s performance on the first day of the Ryder Cup as they notched five match victories across foursomes and fourballs.

Luke Donald praised his team’s performance on the first day of the Ryder Cup as they notched five match victories across foursomes and fourballs.

“I’m happy with the way the guys came out the gate,” Donald said. “They got leads early on, which is paramount in match play, so it was an amazing start.”

Rory McIlroy, who partnered Tommy Fleetwood to a 2&1 victory over the previously unbeaten pairing of Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay, was in no doubt that was proven by Europe’s morning showing in Rome.

“We switched the format this year to go foursomes first because statistically that’s our better session and, all week, all we’ve been talking about is getting off to fast starts,” McIlroy said.

Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood reflect on their 2&1 win over Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay at the Ryder Cup in Rome which gave Team Europe a Friday foursomes whitewash over Team USA.

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Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood reflect on their 2&1 win over Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay at the Ryder Cup in Rome which gave Team Europe a Friday foursomes whitewash over Team USA.

Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood reflect on their 2&1 win over Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay at the Ryder Cup in Rome which gave Team Europe a Friday foursomes whitewash over Team USA.

“Playing three-hole matches in practice, three holes, go again, three holes, go again, something that Luke’s drilled into us. We were ready to go from the first tee shot as obviously as you can see in how everyone played.”

Lack of match practice costly for USA?

There had been a lot of talk about whether the limited competitive action for America’s players in the build-up to the Ryder Cup would affect them.

Judging by their dismal performances in all of the morning foursomes, that argument would seem to have merit.

Viktor Hovland produced some stunning shots on the way to partnering Ludvig Aberg to a 4&3 victory over Max Homa and Brian Harman.

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Viktor Hovland produced some stunning shots on the way to partnering Ludvig Aberg to a 4&3 victory over Max Homa and Brian Harman.

Viktor Hovland produced some stunning shots on the way to partnering Ludvig Aberg to a 4&3 victory over Max Homa and Brian Harman.

Two of the matches were finished with three holes to play while the other two were concluded on the 17th and two-time Solheim Cup captain Catriona Matthew saw that lack of action as a contributory factor.

“The Americans just looked rusty,” Mathew said. “They were hitting a bad shot at the wrong time, not putting particularly well, and I think that lack of playing has really hurt them this morning.”

That was a view which was shared by McGinley, although he felt a lot of the lopsided scoreline was down to how well Europe played as much as anything.

“That concentration level of not being competitive for four or five weeks is relevant,” McGinley said. “They’re the small mistakes you make when you’re not on the edge competitively. I saw a little bit of that from the American team this morning, along with some brilliant golf from the Europeans.”

Though the US team were more competitive in the afternoon fourballs, Sky Sports’ Andrew Coltart didn’t hold back in his criticism of the Americans’ preparation.

“Who on earth in their right mind thinks the best way to prepare for a Ryder Cup is to take five weeks off?” he said. “Nine of the 12 American players took five weeks off. That’s disgraceful!”

Andrew Coltart questions Team USA's preparation ahead of the Ryder Cup, as David Howell says they have been humbled following a dominant European display on Friday.

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Andrew Coltart questions Team USA’s preparation ahead of the Ryder Cup, as David Howell says they have been humbled following a dominant European display on Friday.

Andrew Coltart questions Team USA’s preparation ahead of the Ryder Cup, as David Howell says they have been humbled following a dominant European display on Friday.

US fail to capitalise in afternoon session

While Europe’s dominance on the opening day can’t be understated, there was a fear that their four-point advantage from the foursomes was to be reduced to two heading into Saturday.

“It was looking like 3-1 to the US,” Donald admitted, before adding: “To win this session was huge!

Justin Thomas holed a pressure par putt on the 15th hole at the Ryder Cup in Rome to stay one up with three to play in the fourballs session but then missed a short putt on the 16th to lose the hole.

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Justin Thomas holed a pressure par putt on the 15th hole at the Ryder Cup in Rome to stay one up with three to play in the fourballs session but then missed a short putt on the 16th to lose the hole.

Justin Thomas holed a pressure par putt on the 15th hole at the Ryder Cup in Rome to stay one up with three to play in the fourballs session but then missed a short putt on the 16th to lose the hole.

“We showed so much grit and determination to turn it around. It was tough this afternoon, really hard going, with three matches coming down to 18, but the 18th was kind to us!”

Wasn’t it just. Europe trailed in each of the opening three matches in the afternoon fourballs going down the stretch, with both Viktor Hovland and Tyrell Hatton’s pairing, and Justin Rose and Robert McIntyre, two down through 13 holes.

Not only that, but Rose and McIntyre trailed still by one heading up 18, as did Jon Rahm and Nicolai Hojgaard in their matchup against the formidable pairing of world No 1 Scottie Scheffler and five-time major winner Brooks Koepka.

Hovland got things rolling first for Europe, sinking a clutch putt over the ridge on the 18th green for birdie and to complete his and Hatton’s comeback against Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth – the first of three halved matches.

Jon Rahm produced two stunning shots to eagle the par-5 18th hole at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club and claim a thrilling half in the match against Brooks Koepka and Scottie Scheffler in the Ryder Cup.

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Jon Rahm produced two stunning shots to eagle the par-5 18th hole at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club and claim a thrilling half in the match against Brooks Koepka and Scottie Scheffler in the Ryder Cup.

Jon Rahm produced two stunning shots to eagle the par-5 18th hole at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club and claim a thrilling half in the match against Brooks Koepka and Scottie Scheffler in the Ryder Cup.

Then Rahm, for the second time in three holes, thrilled the fervent European crowd with an eagle! After chipping in on the par-four 16th, he found the green in two at the par-five 18th and holed an even longer putt than Hovland’s.

Rose then completed the streak with a clutch putt for birdie to round off a remarkable European run and see them win the session 2.5-1.5 and enter day two five points ahead.

Justin Rose holes a pressure putt on the 18th hole to deny Team USA a win, securing a brilliant day for the Europeans.

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Justin Rose holes a pressure putt on the 18th hole to deny Team USA a win, securing a brilliant day for the Europeans.

Justin Rose holes a pressure putt on the 18th hole to deny Team USA a win, securing a brilliant day for the Europeans.

Records tumble for Team Europe!

And those five points that Europe lead by heading into Saturday ties the largest one-day lead in Ryder Cup history, matching the efforts of the 1975 US team and Europe in 2004 – those teams going on to secure 10 and nine-point wins respectively.

Not only that, there’s Europe’s first ever 4-0 Friday morning clean sweep to consider, as well as the opening day in Rome being the first instance ever in which the US have failed to win one single match outright.

A look at the best of Matt Fitzpatrick in the Friday fourballs, including three consecutive birdies and a brilliant eagle on route to a dominant win with partner Rory McIlroy.

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A look at the best of Matt Fitzpatrick in the Friday fourballs, including three consecutive birdies and a brilliant eagle on route to a dominant win with partner Rory McIlroy.

A look at the best of Matt Fitzpatrick in the Friday fourballs, including three consecutive birdies and a brilliant eagle on route to a dominant win with partner Rory McIlroy.

Not that Donald is taking his counterparts lightly.

“We’ll never do that [underestimate the US],” the Team Europe captain said. “They’re too strong. We saw that two years ago [at Whistling Straits].

“Each day it’s about trying to win the next session.”

And, true to his words, the captain has chosen precisely the same eight players who swept the Friday morning foursomes to try and win the next session on Saturday. Will it be another historic day for his side or will the great American fightback take hold?

Watch day two of the Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club live on Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event from 6am, starting with the second round of foursomes. Also stream on NOW.



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Ryder Cup: Team Europe go 4-0 up over Team USA after historic Friday foursomes sweep in Rome

Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton won the opening match; Viktor Hovland impressed alongside rookie Ludvig Åberg; victories for Shane Lowry, Sepp Straka, Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood; watch the Ryder Cup all week live on Sky Sports Golf

Last Updated: 29/09/23 12:06pm


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Viktor Hovland produced some stunning shots on the way to partnering Ludvig Åberg to a 4&3 victory over Max Homa and Brian Harman

Viktor Hovland produced some stunning shots on the way to partnering Ludvig Åberg to a 4&3 victory over Max Homa and Brian Harman

Team Europe made the dream start in their bid to regain the Ryder Cup after winning all four foursomes matches to sweep the opening session for the first time in the event’s history.

Captain Luke Donald’s decision to start a home Ryder Cup with foursomes rather than the traditional fourballs immediately paid off during a dominant display at Marco Simone GC, where Europe never trailed at any point in any match as they stormed to a 4-0 advantage.

Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton brushed aside world No 1 Scottie Scheffler and an out-of-sorts Sam Burns 4&3 in the top match, while rookie Ludvig Åberg made a winning start to his Ryder Cup career by partnering Viktor Hovland to victory by the same margin over Max Homa and Brian Harman.

Jon Rahm was on brilliant form for Team Europe as he partnered Tyrrell Hatton to beat Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns 4&3 during the Friday foursomes at the Ryder Cup in Rome

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Jon Rahm was on brilliant form for Team Europe as he partnered Tyrrell Hatton to beat Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns 4&3 during the Friday foursomes at the Ryder Cup in Rome

Jon Rahm was on brilliant form for Team Europe as he partnered Tyrrell Hatton to beat Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns 4&3 during the Friday foursomes at the Ryder Cup in Rome

Sepp Straka enjoyed a winning debut as he joined Shane Lowry in despatching Rickie Fowler and Collin Morikawa 2&1, putting Europe 3-0 ahead, while Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood completed a remarkable morning for the hosts by beating Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay by the same margin.

It’s the first time Europe have ever led 4-0 after the opening session and the first time since 2006 where Team USA will trail heading into Friday afternoon, giving the hosts a commanding lead as they chase a seventh consecutive home victory in the biennial contest.

Rory McIlroy hit a stunning tee shot on the par three 17th hole at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club at the Ryder Cup to confirm a whitewash for Team Europe in the Friday foursomes

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Rory McIlroy hit a stunning tee shot on the par three 17th hole at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club at the Ryder Cup to confirm a whitewash for Team Europe in the Friday foursomes

Rory McIlroy hit a stunning tee shot on the par three 17th hole at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club at the Ryder Cup to confirm a whitewash for Team Europe in the Friday foursomes

Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton beat Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns 4&3

Rahm holed from off the green to birdie the third and Europe doubled their lead by taking advantage of the fifth, with the hosts responding to losing the sixth to a six-foot Burns birdie by winning the par-three next after Rahm almost made a hole-in-one.

Burns holed putts over the next two holes to avoid falling further behind and Rahm chipped in from off the 10th green to salvage an unlikely par, with Europe then moving ahead with a birdie at the par-four next.

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USA fell four behind when they conceded Europe’s eagle putt at the 12th, with Rahm securing the point when he lagged his birdie attempt at the 15th to within tap-in range.

“I’ve had a good feeling about Tyrrell [Hatton] all along,” Rahm said. “Last time we played together it really felt good, and it was good to come out here and perform the way we did. It’s an incredible foursomes match and we played as confident as two people can play, and it was a beautiful one.”

A Jon Rahm putt gave Team Europe a 1-0 lead at the Ryder Cup as he partnered Tyrrell Hatton in a 4&3 victory against Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns in Rome

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A Jon Rahm putt gave Team Europe a 1-0 lead at the Ryder Cup as he partnered Tyrrell Hatton in a 4&3 victory against Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns in Rome

A Jon Rahm putt gave Team Europe a 1-0 lead at the Ryder Cup as he partnered Tyrrell Hatton in a 4&3 victory against Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns in Rome

Viktor Hovland and Ludvig Aberg beat Max Homa and Brian Harman 4&3

Hovland made the perfect start when he pitched in for birdie at the first and converted a 15-foot par to also win the second, before bouncing back from losing the next two holes by claiming the fifth and sixth with pars.

Åberg slotted in a 15-foot birdie at the ninth to reach the turn three ahead and Hovland matched Homa’s birdie at the 11th, with securing another birdie at the 14th before the Scandinavian pair seasoned their victory on the next hole.

Viktor Hovland and Ludvig Åberg confirm a 4&3 win over Max Homa and Brian Harman to put Team Europe 2-0 up in the Ryder Cup

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Viktor Hovland and Ludvig Åberg confirm a 4&3 win over Max Homa and Brian Harman to put Team Europe 2-0 up in the Ryder Cup

Viktor Hovland and Ludvig Åberg confirm a 4&3 win over Max Homa and Brian Harman to put Team Europe 2-0 up in the Ryder Cup

Shane Lowry and Sepp Straka beat Rickie Fowler and Collin Morikawa 2&1

A stunning approach into the third from Lowry set up the first of back-to-back birdies, with Europe responding to Straka putting his tee shot into the water at the fifth by winning three consecutive holes from the seventh.

Lowry sent his tee shot into the water to lose the 10th and Fowler holed a long-range birdie at the 13th to cut Europe’s advantage to two, only for USA to bogey the next and the hosts to seal the win when Straka holed from close-range at the 17th.

Sepp Straka holes a putt to seal a 2&1 win over Rickie Fowler and Collin Morikawa putting Team Europe three ahead

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Sepp Straka holes a putt to seal a 2&1 win over Rickie Fowler and Collin Morikawa putting Team Europe three ahead

Sepp Straka holes a putt to seal a 2&1 win over Rickie Fowler and Collin Morikawa putting Team Europe three ahead

“Obviously it’s early days but I wanted to give Sepp [Straka] his moment in the Ryder Cup to hole the winning putt,” Lowry said. “It’s huge. We are off to a great start this morning. We need to keep the foot down. Very happy out there with him and enjoyed myself.”

Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood beat Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay 2&1

McIlroy slotted in a seven-foot birdie at the fourth and edged further ahead with a par at the eighth after Cantlay found water with his approach, only for Team USA to win the ninth and reach the turn one behind.

Europe took the 11th with a conceded birdie, then cancelled out Schauffele’s birdie at the 14th by taking a momentum-changing win at the 15th.

Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy went two-up with three to play in their foursomes against Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay with an impressive par putt on the 15th green

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Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy went two-up with three to play in their foursomes against Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay with an impressive par putt on the 15th green

Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy went two-up with three to play in their foursomes against Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay with an impressive par putt on the 15th green

Fleetwood holed his 20-foot putt for par, which took the hole when Schauffele missed from four feet, with McIlroy responding to losing the 16th by firing his tee shot at the next to inside three feet and setting up the birdie.

“It has been an unbelievable session,” McIlroy said. “We switched the format this year to go foursomes first because statistically that’s our better session. And all week, all we’ve been talking about is getting off to fast starts. We were ready to go from the first tee shot as obviously as you can see in how everyone played.”

Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood discuss what their plan was heading into the first session of Day One at the Ryder Cup as their 2&1 win over Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay puts Team Europe four ahead

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Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood discuss what their plan was heading into the first session of Day One at the Ryder Cup as their 2&1 win over Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay puts Team Europe four ahead

Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood discuss what their plan was heading into the first session of Day One at the Ryder Cup as their 2&1 win over Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay puts Team Europe four ahead

What’s next?

Hovland and Hatton lead out Europe in the afternoon foursomes against Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth, with Rahm partnering Nicolai Hojgaard against Scheffler and five-time major winner Brooks Koepka.

Robert MacIntyre and Justin Rose start their week against Homa and Clark, with McIlroy joining Matt Fitzpatrick in the last match to play Morikawa and Schauffele.

Day two coverage has the same timings as Friday, with the opening foursomes tee shot at 6.35am and the afternoon fourballs sessions getting under way at 11.25am. Coverage of the final day singles begins on Sunday at 9am ahead of the first match going out at the 10.35am.

Watch the Ryder Cup exclusively live this week on Sky Sports! Live coverage from day two begins on Saturday from 6am, ahead of the first tee time at 6.35am. Stream the Ryder Cup and more for £21 a month for six months with NOW.

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Ryder Cup: Rory McIlroy believes LIV players will miss being involved with Team Europe in Rome

Team Europe looking to regain the Ryder Cup after their record-breaking 19-9 loss in 2021; Five of Europe’s line-up in Whistling Straits have since joined LIV Golf and won’t feature this week in Rome; Watch live on Friday from 6am on Sky Sports Golf

Last Updated: 27/09/23 10:06am


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Rory McIlroy say its ‘certainly strange’ not having Ryder Cup veterans Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter around and it’ll really hit them this week.

Rory McIlroy say its ‘certainly strange’ not having Ryder Cup veterans Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter around and it’ll really hit them this week.

Rory McIlroy believes the Ryder Cup stalwarts who joined LIV Golf will miss representing Team Europe more than their absence is felt this week, although admits it’s “strange” not having them in Rome.

Five of Europe’s line-up heavily beaten at Whistling Straits in 2021 have since joined the LIV Golf League, with record points scorer Sergio Garcia and stalwarts Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood all having no role in this year’s contest at Marco Simone Golf Club.

The likes of Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell and Henrik Stenson – all vice-captains in past Ryder Cups – have all also joined LIV since its launch last summer, with McIlroy believing that this week’s event could make those who moved to the Saudi-backed circuit realise the consequences of their decision.

As Team Europe prepare to take on Team USA in the Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club, take a look at the best shots from his six appearances in the competition.

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As Team Europe prepare to take on Team USA in the Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club, take a look at the best shots from his six appearances in the competition.

As Team Europe prepare to take on Team USA in the Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club, take a look at the best shots from his six appearances in the competition.

“It’s certainly a little strange not having them around,” McIlroy admitted in his pre-tournament press conference. “But I think this week of all weeks, it’s going to hit home with them that they are not here.

“I think they are going to miss being here more than we’re missing them, so it’s just more I think this week is a realisation that the decision that they made has led to not being a part of this week, and that’s tough.

Rory McIlroy receives the biggest cheer as the players head out on to the course at the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club for practice ahead of the Ryder Cup.

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Rory McIlroy receives the biggest cheer as the players head out on to the course at the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club for practice ahead of the Ryder Cup.

Rory McIlroy receives the biggest cheer as the players head out on to the course at the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club for practice ahead of the Ryder Cup.

“The landscape in golf is ever-changing and more dynamic, and we’ll see what happens and whether they will be part of it in the future. I always thought leading up to this week is when it’s going to hit home that they are not going to be here.”

Garcia enquired earlier this month about paying outstanding DP World Tour fines in an attempt to represent Europe this week, although it was irrelevant as the Spaniard – along with Westwood and Poulter – were ineligible because of withdrawing their DP World Tour membership earlier in the year.

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Europe have four rookies in their team this year and three more playing their first Ryder Cup on home soil, leaving McIlroy and Justin Rose as the most experienced in the line-up, although the four-time major champion is excited with the potential of Luke Donald’s side.

“Everyone knows this is a bit of a transitional period for the European Team and there’s people that have been part of The European Team for a long time that aren’t here this week,” McIlroy added.

US Open champion Wyndham Clark explains comments he made where he said he was better than Rory McIlroy saying that every player needs the mindset that they are the best to be ale to succeed in golf.

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US Open champion Wyndham Clark explains comments he made where he said he was better than Rory McIlroy saying that every player needs the mindset that they are the best to be ale to succeed in golf.

US Open champion Wyndham Clark explains comments he made where he said he was better than Rory McIlroy saying that every player needs the mindset that they are the best to be ale to succeed in golf.

“I think the guys that we brought in are going to be awesome. Nicolai [Hojgaard], Ludwig [Åberg], Bob [MacIntyre], that’s the future of our team and the future of the Ryder Cup.”

Rose: Team Europe in ‘transitional period’

Rose makes his seventh Ryder Cup appearance, having missed out on a place in Padraig Harrington’s side two years ago, with the Englishman believing this week can go a long way in building the future of Team Europe.

As Team Europe prepare to take on Team USA in the Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club, take a look at Justin Rose's best shots from his previous five Ryder Cup appearances.

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As Team Europe prepare to take on Team USA in the Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club, take a look at Justin Rose’s best shots from his previous five Ryder Cup appearances.

As Team Europe prepare to take on Team USA in the Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club, take a look at Justin Rose’s best shots from his previous five Ryder Cup appearances.

“There’s a lot of winning culture still in the team, with the people in and around the team, the captain and the vice captains,” Rose said. “Luke [Donald] has got an incredible Ryder Cup record, the most winning from a percentage point of view, so the winning culture in our team is as strong as ever.”

“I think that when you look at…our team room, [Paul] McGinley, Thomas Björn, like I say, José Maria [Olazabal], we had Monty [Colin Montgomerie] in there, just people that are still connected to the European team, and I would say invested in the European team.

Rory McIlroy says he has no issues with fans heckling players at the Ryder Cup, describing it as 'part of' the tournament.

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Rory McIlroy says he has no issues with fans heckling players at the Ryder Cup, describing it as ‘part of’ the tournament.

Rory McIlroy says he has no issues with fans heckling players at the Ryder Cup, describing it as ‘part of’ the tournament.

“There’s still a lot of winning culture around what we do. So obviously in life and in business and everything, there’s obviously transition phases where you need to look to new leaders and what would be great is if you can kind of slip through that period of transition unaffected.

“You start to look to the next generation obviously to come through and to start to kind of have that winning culture. That could happen as early as this year. You start to get the rookies off to a good start this year at home, and suddenly you start to blood some of the future with positive experiences.

Team Europe Ryder Cup captain, Luke Donald gives us a behind the scenes look at their team space at the Marco Simone Golf course.

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Team Europe Ryder Cup captain, Luke Donald gives us a behind the scenes look at their team space at the Marco Simone Golf course.

Team Europe Ryder Cup captain, Luke Donald gives us a behind the scenes look at their team space at the Marco Simone Golf course.

“Maybe the transition has started last time around at Whistling Straits and now we’re coming through that already. But yeah, there is a difference.

“Obviously, Westy [Westwood], Poults [Poulter] – as captains or vice-captains or however they may or may not be involved in the future – they do have a lot to offer, of course, from experiences and that point of view.”

Live coverage from the opening day of the Ryder Cup begins on Friday from 6am on Sky Sports Golf. There’s also live content each day in the build-up to the tournament. Stream the PGA Tour, DP Tour, Ryder Cup and more with NOW.

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Solheim Cup: Team USA dominate opening foursomes to lead Team Europe 4-0 at Finca Cortesin

Team USA swept the opening session for the first time in Solheim Cup history and also won a foursomes session 4-0 for the first time; Team Europe face uphill task in bid for historic Solheim Cup third consecutive victory

Last Updated: 22/09/23 2:00pm


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A putt from Allisen Corpuz secured Team USA a clean sweep in the morning foursome matches on day one at the Solheim Cup in Spain.

A putt from Allisen Corpuz secured Team USA a clean sweep in the morning foursome matches on day one at the Solheim Cup in Spain.

Team Europe made the worst possible start to their bid for a historic Solheim Cup threepeat as Team USA won all four matches in the Friday foursomes at Finca Cortesin.

Ally Ewing and Cheyenne Knight secured the first point of the contest when they claimed a convincing 5&4 win over Emily Pedersen and Charley Hull, who suffered a neck strain in the build-up to the biennial contest.

Solheim Cup stalwart Lexi Thompson led from the front in the top match and partnered Megan Khang to a topsy-turvy 2&1 win over Swedish rookies Maja Stark and Linn Grant, while Celine Boutier and Georgia Hall’s unbeaten Solheim Cup partnership was ended by Danielle Kang and Andrea Lee.

Lexi Thompson and Megan Khang beat Maja Stark (Swe) and Linn Grant (Swe) 2&1

Danielle Kang and Andrea Lee beat Celine Boutier (Fra) and Georgia Hall (Eng) 1up

Nelly Korda and Allisen Corpuz beat Leona Maguire (Irl) and Anna Nordqvist (Swe) 1UP

Ally Ewing and Cheyenne Knight beat Charley Hull (Eng) and Emily Pedersen (Den) 5&4

Boutier and Hall were 1up on the final green to ensure Team USA would win the opening session for the first time since 2009, before Nelly Korda and Allisen Corpuz completed the clean sweep by defeating Leona Maguire and Anna Nordqvist by the same margin.

Linn Grant and Maja Stark were defeated 2&1 by Lexi Thompson and Megan Khang in the Friday morning foursomes session after Grant missed a short putt on the 17th hole at Finca Cortesin.

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Linn Grant and Maja Stark were defeated 2&1 by Lexi Thompson and Megan Khang in the Friday morning foursomes session after Grant missed a short putt on the 17th hole at Finca Cortesin.

Linn Grant and Maja Stark were defeated 2&1 by Lexi Thompson and Megan Khang in the Friday morning foursomes session after Grant missed a short putt on the 17th hole at Finca Cortesin.

“You could not ask for much more,” Team USA captain Stacy Lewis told Sky Sports. “We knew seeing the pairings those middle two matches were going to be tough, but I saw a ton of fight in my girls and fortunately we were on the right side of it.”

Team Europe captain Suzann Pettersen admitted her side had made a “rocky start” and pinpointed putting as the area that needed most improvement going into the afternoon fourballs.

Team USA Solheim Cup captain Stacy Lewis claimed that Lexi Thompson wasn't in her original plans for the Friday morning foursomes

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Team USA Solheim Cup captain Stacy Lewis claimed that Lexi Thompson wasn’t in her original plans for the Friday morning foursomes

Team USA Solheim Cup captain Stacy Lewis claimed that Lexi Thompson wasn’t in her original plans for the Friday morning foursomes

“It was a tough morning. I thought a lot of the girls fought really hard,” Pettersen told Sky Sports. “We’ve just got to stand back up.

“I don’t know if we’re trying too hard, but I feel like there were maybe some easy holes given away early in the morning on the greens pretty much.

“We’ve just got to get some putts dropping, get some momentum going and get the crowds louder.

“It was a rocky start, but sometimes that’s good too.”

Match 1: Lexi Thompson and Megan Khang beat Maja Stark and Linn Grant 2&1

Team USA won the first three holes and Thompson missed a birdie opportunity at the next that could have put them four ahead, only for Stark to reduce the deficit with a par at the sixth and scramble a share of the spoils at the par-five eighth despite finding bushes off the tee.

Linn Grant and Maja Stark were defeated 2&1 by Lexi Thompson and Megan Khang in the Friday morning foursomes session after Grant missed a short putt on the 17th hole at Finca Cortesin.

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Linn Grant and Maja Stark were defeated 2&1 by Lexi Thompson and Megan Khang in the Friday morning foursomes session after Grant missed a short putt on the 17th hole at Finca Cortesin.

Linn Grant and Maja Stark were defeated 2&1 by Lexi Thompson and Megan Khang in the Friday morning foursomes session after Grant missed a short putt on the 17th hole at Finca Cortesin.

A par at the 11th and a birdie at the 13th pulled the contest level, before Thompson birdied the 15th to edge back ahead and USA secured victory when the European pair bogeyed the penultimate hole.

“We worked really well together and it was definitely a great win,” Thompson told Sky Sports. “They played some good golf and we knew we had to come out swinging and play hard.”

Linn Grant holed a huge par putt on the 16th to halve the hole for Team Europe in Friday morning's foursomes to ensure Suzann Pettersen's side still had a chance of picking up a point in the match.

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Linn Grant holed a huge par putt on the 16th to halve the hole for Team Europe in Friday morning’s foursomes to ensure Suzann Pettersen’s side still had a chance of picking up a point in the match.

Linn Grant holed a huge par putt on the 16th to halve the hole for Team Europe in Friday morning’s foursomes to ensure Suzann Pettersen’s side still had a chance of picking up a point in the match.

Match 2: Danielle Kang and Andrea Lee beat Celine Boutier and Georgia Hall 1up

Kang won the opening hole with a birdie before Europe edged ahead with back-to-back holes from the fifth, only for the hosts to respond to losing the seventh hole with a bogey by making a birdie at the next.

Emily Pedersen and Charley Hull went six down through nine holes as Team Europe struggled in the bottom match during the foursomes on day one of the Solheim Cup in Spain.

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Emily Pedersen and Charley Hull went six down through nine holes as Team Europe struggled in the bottom match during the foursomes on day one of the Solheim Cup in Spain.

Emily Pedersen and Charley Hull went six down through nine holes as Team Europe struggled in the bottom match during the foursomes on day one of the Solheim Cup in Spain.

Kang and Lee won back-to-back holes to move USA ahead and Boutier converted from 10 feet again to level at the 12th, while Kang holed a monster birdie from the opposite side of the green to snatch a share of the spoils at the 13th.

The contest remained level until the par-three 17th, where Lee made an eight-foot birdie after a brilliant approach by Kang, with a par at the last enough to move the visitors into a 3-0 advantage.

Match 3: Nelly Korda and Allisen Corpuz beat Leona Maguire and Anna Nordqvist 1up

Korda found water off the tee at the driveable first but the Americans responded by winning three consecutive holes from the third to move 2up, only for the European to take successive holes from the sixth to level the contest.

Team USA's Nelly Korda gifted Team Europe the first hole against Leona Maguire and Anna Nordqvist at the Solheim Cup at Finca Cortesin.

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Team USA’s Nelly Korda gifted Team Europe the first hole against Leona Maguire and Anna Nordqvist at the Solheim Cup at Finca Cortesin.

Team USA’s Nelly Korda gifted Team Europe the first hole against Leona Maguire and Anna Nordqvist at the Solheim Cup at Finca Cortesin.

Team USA took the ninth and 11th holes before Maguire followed a birdie at the 16th by holing another to match the American birdie at the next, although the Europeans were unable to take advantage of the par-five last as the visitors won a foursomes session 4-0 for the first time in the event’s history.

Match 4: Ally Ewing and Cheyenne Knight beat Charley Hull and Emily Pedersen 5&4

A par for Team USA was enough to take the par-five second and Ewing went agonisingly close to an eagle at the par-five fourth, with the tap-in birdie starting the run of three consecutive holes won.

Emily Pedersen and Charley Hull went six down through nine holes as Team Europe struggled in the bottom match during the foursomes on day one of the Solheim Cup in Spain.

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Emily Pedersen and Charley Hull went six down through nine holes as Team Europe struggled in the bottom match during the foursomes on day one of the Solheim Cup in Spain.

Emily Pedersen and Charley Hull went six down through nine holes as Team Europe struggled in the bottom match during the foursomes on day one of the Solheim Cup in Spain.

Back-to-back birdies from the eighth left Team USA 6up at the turn against an out-of-sorts European pair, who reduced the gap by starting their back nine with a winning birdie at the par-three 10th but were unable to mount any kind of comeback in a one-sided contest.

“We both stuck to our game plan and executed it well,” Ewing said. “It’s such a tough format, you rely and lay heavily on each other, so it’s just to know we’ve got each other’s back. We’re very happy at this point.”

Who will win the 2023 Solheim Cup? Watch exclusively live this week on Sky Sports! Live coverage continues on Saturday from 6.30am. Stream the Solheim Cup and more with NOW.

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Paul McGinley: Solheim Cup and Ryder Cup to produce exciting finishes between Europe and USA


Paul McGinley

Golf Columnist

Team Europe chase a third consecutive Solheim Cup victory this week in Spain, while Team USA look to retain the Ryder Cup and win on away soil in Rome next week; Watch both events exclusively live on Sky Sports Golf

Last Updated: 21/09/23 3:39pm


Watch the Solheim Cup and the Ryder Cup exclusively live on Sky Sports. Live coverage of the Solheim Cup is from September 22-24 and the Ryder Cup is live from September 29-October 1

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Watch the Solheim Cup and the Ryder Cup exclusively live on Sky Sports. Live coverage of the Solheim Cup is from September 22-24 and the Ryder Cup is live from September 29-October 1

Watch the Solheim Cup and the Ryder Cup exclusively live on Sky Sports. Live coverage of the Solheim Cup is from September 22-24 and the Ryder Cup is live from September 29-October 1

Former Ryder Cup-winning captain Paul McGinley looks ahead to a big two weeks of team golf and explains why both the Solheim Cup and Ryder Cup are tough to predict a winner…

I’m looking forward to the Solheim Cup and being in southern Europe for two weeks in a row. Europe have had a lot of success over the last few years and, by world rankings, they look to be even stronger than they were two years ago.

These are two very young teams – two of the youngest in history, for either side, but what is really important in any team is a vibe and energy. You can read it through the body language of the players and I certainly picked up on that for Europe in their win in Ohio in 2021.

Henni Koyack takes a look at who will feature for Team Europe as they hope to secure a third consecutive Solheim Cup which starts on Friday

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Henni Koyack takes a look at who will feature for Team Europe as they hope to secure a third consecutive Solheim Cup which starts on Friday

Henni Koyack takes a look at who will feature for Team Europe as they hope to secure a third consecutive Solheim Cup which starts on Friday

There’s no doubt Europe had great body language and looked like a team infused with a lot of energy, which is something that really impressed. They also looked like a team that had one thing on their mind and that was winning away from home, which they duly delivered.

Going in as favourites puts a target on your back, with what many would call a stronger team. It can be difficult, but the big advantage they’re going to have is the home crowd. That’s always very influential, it’s a great situation to be in when you’re favourites.

You can’t over-egg it either way, because teams are so evenly matched. The main thing is to drive the team towards performance. If they perform well, they’ll win – with the advantage of playing at home.

Team Europe captain Suzann Pettersen looks ahead to the 2023 Solheim Cup and says the players are set on what will happen on Friday with regards to pairings

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Team Europe captain Suzann Pettersen looks ahead to the 2023 Solheim Cup and says the players are set on what will happen on Friday with regards to pairings

Team Europe captain Suzann Pettersen looks ahead to the 2023 Solheim Cup and says the players are set on what will happen on Friday with regards to pairings

Sticking to a winning formula

I think, as a team, you use what has worked in the past as a base. You’ve got some young players coming in and it’s important that you don’t break up tried and tested partnerships to integrate some younger people in – you’ve got to do it in a constructive way.

It’s easy to get lost with working too hard on the rookies. Ultimately, your top players are going to win these events for you – whether that’s the Solheim Cup or the Ryder Cup. The players that play four or five matches, they’re the key. It’s important they’re in very strong partnerships and are properly engaged in the task ahead.

Live Solheim Cup Golf

September 22, 2023, 6:30am

Live on Sky Sports Golf HD

It’s not a question of treating everyone exactly the same – in theory that’s what you want to do, but in reality you lean towards the top players who are carrying the workload in terms of winning the most points.

That’s what Suzann Pettersen will be looking for from her players. You’ve got to get into their heads mentally to get a performance out of them. Ultimately, that is what will determine whether Europe win or not.

As the Solheim Cup gets under way on September 22, we take a look back at some classic winning moments from down the years between Team USA and Team Europe

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As the Solheim Cup gets under way on September 22, we take a look back at some classic winning moments from down the years between Team USA and Team Europe

As the Solheim Cup gets under way on September 22, we take a look back at some classic winning moments from down the years between Team USA and Team Europe

I think both the Solheim and Ryder Cup are going to come right down to the wire, with all four teams having a lot of players in form. For golf, it would be great to have two team events back-to-back come down a big finish and creating great excitement.

The majors this year haven’t been particularly exciting, with many of them seemingly having a clear winner with four or five holes to go. With the Solheim Cup, it has been one or two points in the last two editions and there’s no reason to say that it’s not going to be close again.

Davies: Strength in depth key for Europe

Dame Laura Davies is serving as vice-captain for this year’s contest, having played in a record 12 Solheim Cups, with the Englishwoman impressed with the strength that Europe have to offer within their line-up.

Dame Laura Davies believes the European team is the strongest she can remember in the history of the Solheim Cup

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Dame Laura Davies believes the European team is the strongest she can remember in the history of the Solheim Cup

Dame Laura Davies believes the European team is the strongest she can remember in the history of the Solheim Cup

“We’ve always had really good European teams in terms of the top seven or eight – mainly because in the old days not everyone played on the LPGA Tour,” Davies explained. “This year we’ve got 12 LPGA Tour-based players in the European team. They’re all very confident, great ball-strikers.

“I’d say we haven’t got one superstar, but 12 superstars. Number one through number 12, there’s not much in it. If you look in Suzann’s notebook, there’s about 100,000 different permutations and she’s driving herself mad with it because she has a luxury of riches.

Live Solheim Cup Golf

September 22, 2023, 12:30pm

Live on Sky Sports Golf HD

“I don’t think the girls are thinking as favourites. We’ve won the last two, but we know we could have lost the last two. I’d say it’s 50-50. It could come down to the last match or the last two. I think it probably will. It’s as even a playing field as you’ve ever seen.

“The Americans have got the last two major champions – Lilia Vu and Allisen Corpuz – and though Lexi Thompson is not playing her best, it’s match play and she’s going to relish this. They’ve also got Nelly Korda. But we’ve got Madelene Sagstrom, Charley Hull and all these players. I just think it’s going to be a feast.”

Who will win the 2023 Solheim Cup? Watch exclusively live on Sky Sports! Live coverage from the opening day begins on Friday from 6.30am on Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event. Stream the Solheim Cup and more with NOW.



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What can be done to punish ‘inexcusable’ slow play in golf and why is it not clamped down on?


Andrew Coltart

Golf Expert & Columnist

Slow play has dominated conversation within golf in recent weeks, but what can be done to stop it? Andrew Coltart looks at the recent debate around Patrick Cantlay, the issue of pace of play and why punishment is required

Last Updated: 20/04/23 6:26pm


Matt Fitzpatrick hit out at slow play and believes players should be penalised for it despite a lack of action from all of the big tours.

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Matt Fitzpatrick hit out at slow play and believes players should be penalised for it despite a lack of action from all of the big tours.

Matt Fitzpatrick hit out at slow play and believes players should be penalised for it despite a lack of action from all of the big tours.

Slow play has dominated conversation within golf, but what can be done to stop it? Andrew Coltart looks at the recent debate and why tougher punishments are required…

Slow play is probably the most distracting aspect of golf. These players use the ‘extra time’ afforded to them by their faster playing partners to ‘maintain position on the course’.

Fast players play within the spirit of the game and move play along for themselves, fellow competitors, spectators and TV. They don’t deplete resources, and yet they have to suffer the tedium of someone who cares not for the good of the game. That is unpalatable!

Slow play is, in my opinion, unsportsmanlike conduct of which the sanctions should be more that a one-shot penalty. A simple disqualification from the event would send the correct message.

Patrick Cantlay was criticised for slow play at The Masters and the RBC Heritage

Patrick Cantlay was criticised for slow play at The Masters and the RBC Heritage

These players display an unimaginable level of arrogance and complete an utter disdain for their fellow competitors, along with fans, promoters, officials and television alike. Yet, somehow, they are allowed to prosper and efforts made to hasten their play falls on deaf ears.

If that doesn’t fall under Rule 1.2a, which focuses on the conduct expected of players, then I don’t know what does! It’s a sickening sore on our game, it’s ugly, unattractive and totally inexcusable.

Players don’t just arrive on tour slow, as they’ve been allowed to get away with it for years before they become household names. Parents, club members, club coaches, national coaches and fellow competitors all had obligations to draw attention to this shocking hubris for the sport we love.

What did Cantlay do wrong?

Patrick Cantlay is one of the best golfers we’ve ever seen. A hugely talented individual, whose level of consistency in the game has propelled him almost to the very pinnacle of our sport. That is undeniable.

Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay defend recent criticism of slow pace of play by saying they can't play any faster and that it's the course set-ups that are making players slow down.

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Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay defend recent criticism of slow pace of play by saying they can’t play any faster and that it’s the course set-ups that are making players slow down.

Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay defend recent criticism of slow pace of play by saying they can’t play any faster and that it’s the course set-ups that are making players slow down.

What is also undeniable, although he makes a good fist of it, is his sloth like pace of play. Cantlay recently hit the news at The Masters for being slow. Shock horror! His reply? He claimed it was ‘slow for everyone!’

Unperturbed by what many peers perceived as contempt for his fellow pros, the very next week – when he was last to play – he contrived to take one minute 24 seconds to hole out from four feet at the ninth hole during the last round of the RBC Heritage.

Matt Fitzpatrick beat defending champion Jordan Spieth on the third hole of a play-off to win the RBC Heritage.

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Matt Fitzpatrick beat defending champion Jordan Spieth on the third hole of a play-off to win the RBC Heritage.

Matt Fitzpatrick beat defending champion Jordan Spieth on the third hole of a play-off to win the RBC Heritage.

There’s only three people better than him in the world at the game right now. Patrick, wake up! Eighty-four seconds, when you are allowed 40 and have watched your two playing partners go before you, is pathetically slow! I dare people to Google it, as it’s a difficult watch.

Rule 5.6b encourages prompt pace of play, although the usual suspects continue to exploit the generosity of their fellow players, sponsors, fans and officials. They refuse to accept accountability for their damaging actions, choosing to deflect blame entirely and seemingly have no idea how long 40 seconds is.

Live PGA Tour Golf

May 4, 2023, 5:30pm

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What can be done to stop it?

I guarantee that if TV directors ‘cut’ to these players when it is actually their turn to play, you would turn your TV off.

Our directors realise how slow these culprits are and throw in two or three other shots from different players before returning to catch the slow player preparing for action.

It’s shocking etiquette at best, and in my opinion a breach of the conduct expected of players within the rules of the game. It needs to be discouraged promptly and it needs doing now! Sadly, it’s not as simple as that.

Patrick Cantlay produced a remarkable shot at the RBC Heritage, after his ball was left trapped in the wooden decking.

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Patrick Cantlay produced a remarkable shot at the RBC Heritage, after his ball was left trapped in the wooden decking.

Patrick Cantlay produced a remarkable shot at the RBC Heritage, after his ball was left trapped in the wooden decking.

High-ranking players carry power, as they arguably have a bigger say and hold sway, not to mention the battle between golf’s tours currently. If a player feels like they’re being leaned on too heavily, then they could jump ship.

Live PGA Tour Golf

April 27, 2023, 8:30pm

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As well as that, promoters don’t want negative press to discolour their event. Promoters pay in one form or another to have stars attend, they don’t want that investment compromised or costs will increase next time round.

It’s easy to hammer young blood or someone you haven’t heard of but far harder to deal with a household name. The efficacy for this slow play virus needs looking at.

A message to all the clubs, coaches, foundations, associations, colleges – your game needs you now more than ever! Don’t leave it to others to clamp down on this, please! Act now.



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The Masters: Storylines to follow ahead of a marathon Sunday at Augusta National


Brooks Koepka leads the way at The Masters following the suspension of play on Saturday

We take a look at some of the main talking points as The Masters heads into a packed final day, with the third round still to be completed following heavy rain which forced Saturday’s play to be suspended…

Koepka vs Rahm: A two-horse race?

Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm have been the class acts of the field so far at Augusta National. Indeed, their performances in the first two rounds ensured it was the first time two players had been at 10 under par or better through 36 holes.

It is 32-year-old Koepka who holds the advantage though, leading world No 3 Rahm by four shots on 13 under up to the point where play was suspended on Saturday afternoon.

They will resume on Sunday on the seventh green with Koepka facing a putt to save par and Rahm having an opportunity to birdie, showing how much things could change with another 11 holes of the third round for the leaders to play.

As if a showdown between two golfers at the top of their game was not enough, there is the added drama of a probable showdown between LIV Golf defector Brooks and PGA Tour star Rahm for the right to pull on the fabled Green Jacket for the first time.

Smash GC captain Koepka triumphed in the most recent LIV event in Orlando ahead of The Masters and if he were to triumph it would hand a significant boost to the breakaway tour.

Koepka to seal his fifth major?

From a personal point of view, victory in the Masters would take Koepka three-quarters of the way to completing the Grand Slam of golf’s four majors.

Highlights from the third round of the 2023 Masters at Augusta National

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Highlights from the third round of the 2023 Masters at Augusta National

Highlights from the third round of the 2023 Masters at Augusta National

The American already has two PGA Championships and two US Opens to his name, and a triumph on Sunday would leave just The Open Championship remaining to complete the set ahead of this July’s tournament at Royal Liverpool.

It would put him among an elite group too, with only six other male players in the modern era having won five majors before turning 33: Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Seve Ballesteros, Tom Watson, Gary Player and Arnold Palmer.

His statistics so far in this tournament are pointing towards success for Koepka too. He leads the way in Shots Gained Approach (+2.76) and is second for Shots Gained Putting (+1.76), while his six birdie or better scores on par-fives is tied for second as well.

Spanish success for Rahm?

Rahm spoke ahead of the tournament how aware he is of the history of his fellow Spaniards at The Masters, and he would join compatriots Ballesteros, Jose Maria Olazabal and Sergio Garcia in donning the Green Jacket if he were to emerge victorious.

Win probability leaders entering Sunday

PlayerWin probability %
Brooks Koepka55.3
Jon Rahm34.7
Collin Morikawa2.2
Viktor Hovland2.0

It will not be lost on him either that April 9 marks the late Ballesteros’ birthday and is the same date that Garcia clinched the 2017 Masters title.

The 28-year-old, who has one previous major under his belt in the form of the 2021 US Open, has yet to better his fourth place at Augusta National in 2018, although four of his six appearances at The Masters have resulted in top-10 finishes.

He is aiming to become the sixth player to win the Masters and US Open before the age of 29, and only the third from outside the USA to win both, but will need to arrest a slide which saw him at one over par for his round and losing 1.25 strokes putting to the field before play was suspended.

Chasing pack charging?

Should Koepka and Rahm falter, there is a group of players, including several major winners, behind them waiting to pounce.

Matt Fitzpatrick is among the group chasing the leaders at The Masters

Matt Fitzpatrick is among the group chasing the leaders at The Masters

Last year’s surprise US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick, and former PGA Championship and Open winner Collin Morikawa are both lurking on five under par, tied for fourth with Norway’s Viktor Hovland – a player widely tipped as a future major winner.

Three-time Masters champion Phil Mickelson – back at Augusta National after missing last year’s tournament – and 2013 US Open winner Justin Rose are a further shot back tied for seventh in a group which includes another expected future major winner in Patrick Cantlay.

Still leading the chasing pack, though, in third at six under is Sam Bennett, whose total of 136 across the first two rounds was the lowest 36-hole score by an amateur at The Masters since Ken Venturi in 1956. It is worth noting, however, that no amateur player has won The Masters.

What to make of Tiger?

When he made the cut for the 23rd time at The Masters, Tiger Woods equalled a mark held by Fred Couples and Gary Player.

Tiger Woods props up The Masters leaderboard after finding the water twice on the rain-soaked course at Augusta

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Tiger Woods props up The Masters leaderboard after finding the water twice on the rain-soaked course at Augusta

Tiger Woods props up The Masters leaderboard after finding the water twice on the rain-soaked course at Augusta

But while Couples still seemed to be enjoying himself despite currently being tied for 49th on four over par, five-time champion Woods appeared to be struggling both physically and mentally on a day which saw him drop to last place and nine under par when play was suspended.

After starting the third round with a bogey, Woods made three consecutive pars, but then it was another bogey followed by back-to-back double-bogeys which left him three shots behind his nearest competitor, Charl Schwartzel.

The question now remains as to whether Woods will continue with his round and complete the tournament or decide to withdraw to save his body from further punishment.

Will the weather be a factor?

Play will resume at 8.30am local time (1.30pm BST), dependent on the condition of the course after the overnight rain, with just over 11 holes – or three and a bit hours – left of the third round still to complete.

Cloudy and breezy conditions are expected on Sunday, with no further rain or storm disruption, although any delay to the resumption would leave tournament officials in a race against time to get 72 holes completed before nightfall on Sunday.

A statement from Augusta National said the live broadcast – the global broadcast window – will remain as originally scheduled from 2pm-7pm local time (7pm-Midnight BST), with the tournament set to be finished without the need of taking the opening major of the year into a fifth day.

Who will win The Masters? Watch the conclusion of the third round live on Sunday from 1.30pm on Sky Sports Golf, ahead of the final round later that day. A host of bonus feeds will be available throughout the day via the red button on Sky Sports Golf!

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