Ryder Cup match previews: Sunday Singles
September 25, 2021
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
- September 25, 2021
Flyover: Whistling Straits
The United States leads 11-5 entering Sunday's 12 singles matches at Whistling Straits. It would take a historic comeback for Europe to ruin the home team's week.
The 11-5 lead It is the United States' largest advantage entering singles against Europe and their biggest in the Ryder Cup since 1975. The six-point lead ties the modern record Europe set in 2004 at Oakland Hills in a record rout.
The Ryder Cup isn't over but the United States is one day away from celebrating on the shores of Lake Michigan.
Xander Schauffele (USA) vs. Rory McIlroy (Europe)
Schauffele is undefeated this week. McIlroy is winless. They’ll face off in the opening match. A win for Schauffele, the gold medalist, would continue a big year for him while donning the red, white and blue. Harrington is obviously hoping that putting McIlroy, the two-time FedExCup champion, into the spotlight will help him find his game again. McIlroy finished T3 in the 2010 PGA at Whistling Straits.
Player records: Xander Schauffele (3-0-0 overall; 0-0-0 singles); Rory McIlroy (11-12-4 overall; 2-2-1 singles)
Patrick Cantlay (USA) vs. Shane Lowry (Europe)
These two are rookies in name only. Cantlay has continued his strong FedExCup-winning form, going undefeated thus far this week. Lowry owns a major and World Golf Championship, and has to be riding a wave after his big putt to finish Saturday’s Four-balls match. This will be a study in contrasts, as Cantlay is known for always being in control of his game and emotions while Lowry is a big hitter with a knack for extricating himself from trouble when he strays off-line. Whistling Straits is built to resemble the dunes of Ireland, so perhaps he could channel the spirit he showed at Royal Portrush two years ago.
Player records: Patrick Cantlay (2-0-1 overall; 0-0-0 singles); Shane Lowry (1-1-0 overall; 0-0-0 singles)
Scottie Scheffler (USA) vs. Jon Rahm (Europe)
Scheffler, the 2020 Rookie of the Year, is looking for his first PGA TOUR victory. Beating the World No. 1 in Ryder Cup singles should count for something. If nothing else, it will give him a boost going forward, just as it did for Rahm after he beat Tiger Woods in singles in the last Ryder Cup. Rahm has done Rahm things this week, including a massive birdie putt toward the end of Saturday’s Four-balls match. He’s 3-0-1 this week.
Player records: Scottie Scheffler (1-0-1 overall; 0-0-0 singles); Jon Rahm (4-2-1 overall; 1-0-0 singles)
Bryson DeChambeau (USA) vs. Sergio Garcia (Europe)
DeChambeau led the TOUR in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee in 2021. Garcia was third in that statistic. DeChambeau not only has the distance advantage but also on the greens. He ranked 20th in Strokes Gained: Putting this year, while Garcia ranked 173rd. Garcia’s putter always performs differently at the Ryder Cup, however, and he’s found the old magic this week. Garcia defends his Sanderson Farms title next week while DeChambeau heads off to the World Long Drive.
Player records: Bryson DeChambeau (1-3-1 overall; 0-1-0 singles); Sergio Garcia (25-12-7 overall; 4-4-1 singles)
Collin Morikawa (USA) vs. Viktor Hovland (Europe)
They were playing college golf two years ago. Now they’ll meet in Ryder Cup singles. Both are known for their ball-striking – Morikawa led the TOUR in Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green, while Hovland finished 15th in that stat (and fifth in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee). Now that he’s feeling healthy again, Morikawa is flashing the form of a two-time major winner. He’s undefeated this week. Hovland has yet to win in his highly-touted debut.
Player records: Collin Morikawa (3-0-0 overall; 0-0-0 singles); Viktor Hovland (0-3-1 overall; 0-0-0 singles
Dustin Johnson (USA) vs. Paul Casey (Europe)
It’s a match between two Ryder Cup stalwarts. Johnson is the oldest member of the U.S. Team but also the only one to play all four team sessions this week. He won all four times, looking all the bit of the World No. 2 and 2020 FedExCup champion. Johnson also is the only member of either team to finish in the top 10 in multiple PGAs at Whistling Straits, finishing T5 (despite the two-shot penalty on the final hole) in 2010 and T7 in 2015. Casey, who’s 0-3 this week, has finished MC, T12 and T30 in the PGAs here. He finished second on TOUR in Strokes Gained: Approach this season.
Player records: Dustin Johnson (11-9-0 overall; 3-1-0 singles); Paul Casey (4-6-5 overall; 1-1-2 singles)
Brooks Koepka (USA) vs. Bernd Wiesberger (Europe)
Koepka is coming off a day where he went 0-2 but he’s facing a rookie who has yet to win a point. Koepka finished T5 in the 2015 PGA, back before he was a four-time major winner. He was chippy Saturday and that’s often when he plays his best. He could play a key role in the heart of the lineup if Europe gets off to a hot start.
Player records: Brooks Koepka (5-5-1 overall; 1-0-1 singles); Bernd Wiesberger (0-2-0 overall; 0-0-0 singles)
Tony Finau (USA) vs. Ian Poulter (Europe)
Length is important at Whistling Straits, and Finau definitely has the advantage. Poulter is the shortest hitter on property, finishing 185th in driving distance last season. But Poulter was picked for experience and he is undefeated in six Ryder Cup singles matches.
Player records: Tony Finau (3-2-0 overall; 1-0-0 singles); Ian Poulter (14-8-2 overall; 5-0-1 singles)
Justin Thomas (USA) vs. Tyrrell Hatton (Europe)
It’s been a mixed bag for Thomas this week but he’s undoubtedly the United States’ most fiery player. Should things start to turn blue on the board, he can deliver the theatrics, and reactions, that will fire up the partisan crowd. Thomas, THE PLAYERS champion, finished third in Strokes Gained: Approach this season, while Hatton ranked 13th.
Player records: Justin Thomas (5-2-1 overall; 1-0-0 singles); Tyrrell Hatton (2-3-1 overall; 0-1-0 singles)
Harris English (USA) vs. Lee Westwood (Europe)
It’s been a quiet debut for English, but that should be no surprise. That’s how he does things. But English can handle the big stage. He’s finished in the top 10 in the past two U.S. Opensmand was 12th on TOUR in Strokes Gained: Putting this year. Westwood’s experience is highly valuable but he’s appeared overmatched this week.
Player records: Harris English (1-1-0 overall; 0-0-0 singles); Lee Westwood (20-20-6 overall; 3-7-0 singles)
Jordan Spieth (USA) vs. Tommy Fleetwood (Europe)
Spieth famously finished runner-up at the PGA here six years ago. That was during one of history’s great putting seasons. Spieth’s putter went cold Saturday, however, and now he’s in a spot where the Cup could be over while he’s still on the course. He has never won a Ryder Cup singles match, though, so he’ll surely want to end that streak. Fleetwood, after his successful pairing with Francesco Molinari three years ago, has been rather quiet this week after a season where he finished 137th in the FedExCup.
Player records: Jordan Spieth (8-7-2 overall; 0-3-0 singles); Tommy Fleetwood (4-2-1 overall; 0-1-0 singles)
Daniel Berger (USA) vs. Matt Fitzpatrick (Europe)
Berger is known as a fierce competitor with a well-rounded game. His approach play is an asset – he was fifth in Strokes Gained: Approach and seventh in greens in regulation in 2021 – but it’s likely the Ryder Cup will be decided well before this match. Fitzpatrick is just hoping to salvage a point after an 0-4 start to his Ryder Cup career.
Player records: Daniel Berger (1-1-0 overall; 0-0-0 singles); Matt Fitzpatrick (0-4-0 overall; 0-1-0 singles)