The dramatic narrative of the 2021 Ryder Cup—the event that pits the best golfers from the U.S. against the best from Europe—exploring the history and unique dynamics of the tournament, and how 2021's contenders represent the PGA Tour at its most intriguing.
From the moment the first ball is struck at the 2021 Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin, Team USA will be backed into a corner, fighting a rearguard action against what could be the worst and most expensive defeat in Ryder Cup history. It's the epitome of a must-win situation, but it's also something more—in the entire 93-year history of the event, no American side has ever confronted the kind of pressure that U.S. Captain Steve Stricker's team will face. Those 12 players will compete not just for a Cup, and not just for pride, but to save the reputation of the U.S. team itself. In the Ryder Cup, America has routinely had the advantage of superior talent, but just as routinely lost. It's been a struggle for decades, and it does not bode well for the U.S. that over the last ten years they have looked less like a cohesive unit and more like a dysfunctional family. Throw in the complications of COVID-19, which delayed the event from its original date in September 2020, and the stage is set for one of the strangest, most intriguing Ryder Cups ever.
Remarkably, 1993 was Team USA's last victory on foreign soil. Twenty-six years later and counting, the U.S. has gone winless in Europe, and of those six losses, most have been blowouts. Meanwhile, the Europeans have felt no such intimidation away from home: They've gone 3-3 in America, and their 9-3 overall record in the past 25 years has inspired waves of anxiety in their rivals, so much so that the Americans established a Task Force in 2014 to search for a solution. Today, Tiger Woods is out after his horrific car crash; Patrick Reed, aka "Captain America," is in the hospital with pneumonia; and America will have to rely on its rising stars—including Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka, two superstars locked in a damaging feud—to prove their mettle on the world's biggest stage. Meanwhile, the European team has the better Ryder Cup pedigree and a few major stars of their own, including Jon Rahm, the first Spanish player ever to win the U.S. Open and the current world no. 1.
Following each turn in the action on the green, The Cup They Couldn't Lose will tell the story of how the sport reached this moment, how the U.S. fares under the pressure, and what it means for the drama and spectacle of golf.
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