2021 Ryder Cup teams: How the United States and European squads stack up at Whistling Straits

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The teams are set for the 43rd Ryder Cup, and once again, the United States has a massive advantage going into what should be a fascinating week of golf at Whistling Straits. Captain Steve Stricker has put together arguably the most talented group of players ever assembled at a Ryder Cup, but Europe has made this the most popular team event in the world by disassembling previous U.S. teams that fit that bill. They will again try to do that with world No. 1 Jon Rahm and four-time major winner Rory McIlroy leading the way.

This is a Ryder Cup of contrast. Europe is stocked with veterans who have been in some wars. The U.S. is half rookies and mostly full of players in their 20s. It’s a fascinating showdown in which both sides have fully leaned into their identities. The U.S. are a big-hitting group of young studs, while the Euros are a cagey squad rife with a handful of individuals who have as much experience as the entire U.S. team combined.

Though the event is played out with teams, it mostly comes down to individuals hitting golf shots (either together or on their own). We need to look at how every player on each roster has been playing and is projected to fit at Whistling Straits this week. First up is a U.S. side full of rookies, ranked by Official World Golf Ranking.

2021 Ryder Cup teams

United States team

The obvious theme on the U.S. side is length, and the stats are stunning. The Americans have 10 of the 11 highest-ranked in OWGR. They have six of the seven best over the last three months in terms of strokes gained. They have three of the four longest players and the four best putters over the last three months. Those numbers obviously don’t mean they will win, but if you did a blind stats test, they would win by a lot.

European team

Europe has one path to victory, and it runs through its four best drivers (Rahm, McIlroy, Hovland and Garcia). If that foursome can thrive and they can engender a bit of distrust among the Americans (which shouldn’t be that hard right now), I think Europe can win. If not, they’re going to have a hard time keeping up.

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