(Guidonia Montecelio) The Americans, who emerged victorious from a duel presented two years ago in Wisconsin, are aware that a victory on hostile terrain at the Ryder Cup has not been achieved for three decades.
The United States team will have to deal with a noisy European crowd, which will not fail to highlight every missed shot by the representatives of Uncle Sam.
So it was no surprise to hear Team USA captain Zach Johnson sing the praises of the host nation during the Ryder Cup opening ceremony on Thursday. He praised Italy, and recalled the invaluable contribution of immigrants from this country to American culture and identity.
“And this week, in some way, we hope that the United States can give back to Italy,” he said.
European team captain Luke Donald believes the United States can offer him at least one thing.
“Yeah, a little gold trophy somewhere at the end of the day on Sunday,” he said, smirking.
The battle for the Ryder Cup, which has belonged to the Americans since their 19-9 victory over Europe at Whistling Straits in 2021, will begin Friday at the Marco Simone Course on the outskirts of Rome.
Johnson will first send out the No. 1 golfer in the world, Scottie Scheffler, and his good friend Sam Burns to face reigning Masters champion Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton in the first of four matches scheduled in curtain raiser of the competition.
Four duels contested according to the four-ball, best-ball format will then take place in the afternoon. It will be the same thing on Saturday, before the 12 individual matches scheduled for Sunday to settle the debate. The Americans are defending champions, and they need just 14 of 28 points at stake to retain the Ryder Cup.
In the other matches on Friday, the Norwegian Viktor Hovland and the Swede Ludvig Aberg will meet the Americans Max Homa and Brian Harman; Collin Morikawa and Rickie Fowler will face Sepp Straka and Shane Lowry; while the highlight of the day will pit Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele against Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood.