Rónán MacNamara in Rome
As Rory McIlroy put it, the circus really is in town this week ahead of Friday’s Ryder Cup in Marco Simone as Europe look to reclaim the cup they lost in record-breaking fashion to the USA in Whistling Straits two years ago.
More than 150,000 fans are expected to pack into Circus Maximus this week which will provide as much tension and enjoyment as your traditional tight rope walking with Marco Simone GC set up for constant drama.
Drivable par fours, short par-3s (especially the 13th hole which could see a hole in one with a front pin supported by a steep backstop) penal rough and plenty of water hazards, the host course has the perfect blend of beauty and the beast.
Ahead of Friday’s opening foursomes session we take a deep dive into some of the numbers inside the Ryder Cup.
It’s thirty years since the USA last triumphed on European soil when a Tom Watson led American team won 15-13 at The Belfry in 1993.
Thirty is the average age of both teams ahead of this weekend’s Ryder Cup with Europe trimming their 2021 average age from 34.58 to 30.
There are four Irish caddies at the Ryder Cup – more than any other nation. Rickie Elliott is on Brooks Koepka’s bag while Darren Reynolds will loop for Shane Lowry. Harry Diamond will caddie for Rory McIlroy while Greg Milne will be bagsman for Ryder Cup rookie, Robert MacIntyre.
Both sides have four Ryder Cup rookies this week. Europe: Sepp Straka, Robert MacIntyre, Nicolai Hojgaard, Ludvig Aberg. USA: Sam Burns, Max Homa, Brian Harman, Wyndham Clark.
Team Europe have only led the Ryder Cup after the first session four times (1999, 2002, 2004, 2006) but have won three times.
Team Europe boast the top four drivers in driving distances leading into the Ryder Cup: Rory McIlroy 326.3yds, Nicolai Hojgaard 315.1yds, Ludvig Aberg 317yds, Jon Rahm 314yds.
The European team have played in 21 previous Ryder Cups.
Of the 21 day one four ball sessions none of them have been halved.
Team Europe have a combined nine major championship victories in their side.
Team USA have a combined fifteen major championship victories in their side.
USA players have played in a combined 17 Ryder Cups.
The average world ranking of the European team.
The average world ranking of Team USA.
Of the ten occasions that the USA have won the opening session of day one, they have won the Ryder Cup five times.
Five of those leads came in the opening session on European soil (1985, 1989, 2010, 2014 and 2018) but they failed to win any of those Ryder Cup matches.
USA have won seven of eleven Ryder Cups on home soil since 1979.
USA have only won on European soil twice since 1979