England rugby legend and Arsenal icon show off golf skills ahead of Ryder Cup
The Ryder Cup starts tomorrow with Europe aiming to hit back after the USA’s dominant win two years ago.
Captains Luke Donald and Zach Johnson must decide on their pairings later this afternoon for the Friday morning foursomes as a packed schedule begins early.
European stars Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm appear ready to lead a new generation for European golf, with Robert McIntyre praising the world No 2 and 3: “It’s been brilliant, it’s been everything I have dreamed of. Going into that team room with what you would call superstars, they are just normal human beings. They have treated me unbelievably.”
Follow all the build-up to Marco Simone and updates and reaction from the opening ceremony when we will learn the matches to begin this historic event. Get all the latest golf betting sites offers here.
PGA Tour have received interest from investors other than LIV Golf
The PGA said that while it did not solicit additional investment interest, it has a responsibility to members, sponsors and fans to thoroughly evaluate all potential options.
“Our focus continues to be on finalising an agreement with the Public Investment Fund and the DP World Tour, however, our negotiations have resulted in unsolicited interest from other investors,” PGA said in a statement on Wednesday.
Any investments that come from the talks will be made into PGA Tour Enterprises, a subsidiary of the PGA Tour, which it would permanently control.
Jack Rathborn28 September 2023 14:03
Ryder Cup 2023
Jack Rathborn28 September 2023 13:52
Brooks Koepka sends blunt message to LIV golfers missing Ryder Cup: ‘Play better’
Brooks Koepka has told his fellow LIV golfers they should have played better if they wanted a Ryder Cup berth.
The five-time major winner was the only member of the Saudi breakaway venture to make Zach Johnson’s team despite the United States captain admitting he paid little attention to what was happening on that circuit.
But he could not ignore Koepka after he finished second at the Masters and then won the US PGA in May.
Bryson DeChambeau, who won his second LIV event in successive months on Sunday, complained it “would have been nice to have a call” from Johnson but he finished 54th on the qualifying list due to poor performances in majors and an ineligibility to play PGA Tour events.
“I don’t make the decisions. Everybody had an opportunity to get there. I mean, I had the same opportunity as every other LIV player, and I’m here,” he said.
“Play better. That’s always the answer.”
Jack Rathborn28 September 2023 13:50
Padraig Harrington: After 2021, they said we wouldn’t win a Ryder Cup for 20 years. Now Europe are favourites
There was a point earlier in the year when a 51-year-old Padraig Harrington began to appear on the radar for a Ryder Cup captain’s pick.
The chance of a wild card selection, which would have made him the oldest competitor in the tournament’s history, fell away as the Irishman’s form subsided over the summer, but the three-time major champion still found his phone ringing on the morning of Luke Donald’s captain’s picks.
“Luke rang me when he made the picks to say I hadn’t got one which I thought was very polite. Not necessary, mind you. I knew I wasn’t getting on,” he says.
Jack Rathborn28 September 2023 13:25
Ryder Cup 2023 predictions: Who will be the star player at Marco Simone?
LO: Viktor Hovland – Hovland is yet to win a match at the Ryder cup but he has never been in better form and he can have a massive impact, both in steering the young Scandinavian rookies on Team Europe and delivering himself.
JR: Viktor Hovland. The gruelling landscape of Marco Simone might prove testing for anybody to play five sessions, but Luke Donald will be brave to resist pushing out the Norwegian each time. Stunning form and now with a short game that stands up with the best, perfectly complimenting his mesmeric ball-striking from tee to green. Hovland’s laid-back demeanour should make him a dream partner and the 26-year-old may tie this group together and serve as a vital bridge between the Scandinavian contingent and the rest.
LB: Tommy Fleetwood. An impeccable ball-striker with pedigree in this event (who can forget the Moliwood partnership four years ago), Fleetwood seems to thrive in team golf. He’s in the best form of his career and a considerably better player now than when he tore it up in Paris. Rumours of a potential partnership with Rory McIlroy at some point in the week are mouth-watering and could help him boost his points tally. In order to win, Europe will need their ‘second tier’ of players to shine and Fleetwood can lead that charge.
BF: Patrick Cantlay. Success at Marco Simone will likely be dictated by length and accuracy off the tee. In that regard, few players fit the mould better than the American who is third in strokes gained off the tee on the PGA Tour (0.852). Cantlay went unbeaten (3-0-1) in his rookie Ryder Cup two years ago and will look to pick up where he left off alongside his close friend and matchplay partner, Xander Schauffele.
Jack Rathborn28 September 2023 13:12
Europe’s secret weapon? Heavy-hitting Nicolai Hojgaard on his Ryder Cup debut and emulating Rory McIlroy
Nicolai Hojgaard was beating himself up after falling short in the Swiss Alps at the Omega Masters. A blaze of birdies from Swedish phenom Ludvig Aberg not only clinched a maiden DP World Tour title but locked up one of what many assumed to be two remaining wild-card picks for the Ryder Cup. Hojgaard, who finished in a tie for fifth, was facing an anxious wait, hoping he had done enough to convince Europe’s captain Luke Donald of his worth over Poland’s Adrian Meronk.
“I was quite negative, to be honest,” Hojgaard tells The Independent. “But then the phone call came from Luke an hour and a half after the final round.
“I was so nervous, my heart was pumping. It turned out the way I was hoping for and it was the best phone call I’ve ever had. I’m now so excited.”
The Danish player, 22 years of age and the youngest member of Team Europe for Rome, despite Aberg’s dramatic rise since turning professional this summer, looks destined to become an integral part of European golf over the next decade.
Jack Rathborn28 September 2023 13:00
‘Wrong day!’ Viktor Hovland lands hole-in-one at par-4 during Ryder Cup practice
Viktor Hovland landed an extraordinary hole-in-one on a par-4 on the final day of practice before the start of the Ryder Cup at Marco Simone.
The European star aced the par-4 5th, a 302-yard hole that involves taking on a small greenside pond to the left of the fairway.
The Norwegian was reportedly using his second ball, however, but was still surrounded by cheering teammates when fans by the green roared in celebration.
Hovland, the world No 4, is making his second Ryder Cup appearance this week after playing in all five sessions last time out in Whistling Straits.
Jamie Braidwood28 September 2023 12:58
Who will win the Ryder Cup?
Lawrence Ostlere: Home advantage will trump America’s slight edge in quality and depth. Europe 15-13.
Jack Rathborn: Europe. The momentum has swung considerably in the last year, when the USA behemoth looked poised to emphatically crush Europe and seize a first away victory in 30 years. But now, with arguably the three best players in the world on form (Rory McIlroy, Viktor Hovland and Jon Rahm) and the home advantage, Luke Donald’s team edge a nail-biter on Sunday: 14.5-13.5.
Luke Baker: Europe. Six months ago, I would have undoubtedly said the USA but the top-end of the European team is stronger than their American counterparts, while the mid-range Europeans are in better form. Yes, the US have the superior depth from players 8 to 12, which may help in singles, but the top six or so can lead a blue charge and I’m backing a couple of the rookies to shine Thomas Pieters-style. Throw in some early hints from Team USA that the course might not be to their liking and the 30-year away losing streak that, no matter how much Jordan Spieth insists otherwise, is definitely a monkey on their back and the Europeans will edge it. 15-13.
Ben Fleming: Tie. After Whistling Straights, few could have expected such a nip-and-tuck affair by the time the Ryder Cup reached Rome. Europe have the form and home advantage, but USA’s strength and depth could mean it comes down to the last putt. Europe were the beneficiaries of a tie last week at the Solheim Cup, but it will be Zach Johnson’s men who are blessed with the good fortune of retaining the cup this time around on Sunday. 14-14.
Jack Rathborn28 September 2023 12:48
Rough justice: Inside the Ryder Cup golf course where grass is grown to trip up Team USA
he gates in the walled perimeter of Marco Simone Golf Club were shut for three weeks, other than to allow a couple of secretive scouting trips by each team. No one else was allowed in, not to snoop around and certainly not to swing a golf club on the perfectly manicured turf. Inside, a team of 20 greenskeepers and more than 100 volunteers have been working around the clock to welcome Europe, America and more than 100,000 spectators to the 2023 Ryder Cup.
It is a beautiful setting in the Lazio countryside surrounded by terracotta hill-towns and undulating farmland. The highest point of the course, the 12th tee, holds panoramic views all the way to Rome. Now the head greenskeeper, Lara Arias, is putting the finishing touches on the 350-acre plot, having spent three years preparing for this moment.
“I explain to the team that we don’t have time to make mistakes,” Arias says. “If someone chooses the wrong setting on the machine – for example, I’m going to make this higher cut of 9mm, but I choose 4mm – then we are going to make a ‘scalp’… this is something that doesn’t recover in a few days.”
Jack Rathborn28 September 2023 12:36
‘He’s once in a generation’: How Ludvig Aberg rose from obscurity to the Ryder Cup
hen Ludvig Aberg was 12 years old, a coach at his local golf club took the first photos of his swing. One image in particular stood out: his body position at impact was immaculate, the sort a club member might spend many years – and squander many thousands of Swedish krona – trying and failing to achieve.
Eslov in southern Sweden is the kind of place where everyone knows everyone, and they certainly all know Aberg now. The golf club sits on the edge of town, with a white panelled clubhouse and tree-lined fairways that demand a straight drive. He first visited aged eight with his dad Johan, a keen five-handicapper, before taking lessons with Eslov’s club coach, Tomas Setterhill.
“Ludvig was an easy kid,” says Setterhill, speaking on a day off from teaching. “Some people just have it, they can hit the ball without being told. He didn’t have to be taught that position.”
Jack Rathborn28 September 2023 12:24