Ryder Cup 2020: Everything you need to know about Team Europe

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The 12 golfers who will represent Team Europe and play for captain Padraig Harrington at the 2020 Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits.

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1.   Jon Rahm (Automatic qualifier)

2.   Paul Casey (Automatic qualifier)

3.   Rory McIlroy (Automatic qualifier)

4.   Viktor Hovland (Automatic qualifier)

5.   Tommy Fleetwood (Automatic qualifier)

6.   Tyrrell Hatton (Automatic qualifier)

7.   Matt Fitzpatrick (Automatic qualifier)

8.   Bernd Wiesberger (Automatic qualifier)

9.   Lee Westwood (Automatic qualifier)

10. Sergio Garcia (Captain’s pick)

11. Shane Lowry (Captain’s pick)

12. Ian Poulter (Captain’s pick)

Team Europe’s line-up for the Ryder Cup was completed at a dramatic BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth as Matt Fitzpatrick, Bernd Wiesberger and Lee Westwood all confirmed their qualification.

Captain Padraig Harrington then announced Sergio Garcia, Shane Lowry and Ian Poulter as his picks for Whistling Straits as Europe attempt to defend the trophy they won in Paris in 2018.

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Padraig Harrington poses with the Ryder cup as his Team Europe players pose with their bags at Whistling Straits.

Three of the 12 – Hovland, Wiesberger and Lowry – are rookies, compared with the six debutants in Steve Stricker’s Team USA side.

Harrington’s side is made up of six Englishmen, an Irishman, Northern Irishman, two Spaniards, a Norwegian and an Austrian. The side has an average age of just over 32 and an average world ranking of 30th, compared with Team USA’s average age of just under 29 and average world ranking of 9th.

The European team has a combined 39 Ryder Cup appearances and 29 wins compared. Team USA has just 12 Ryder Cups and only three victories between them, giving Harrington’s men a clear advantage in terms of experience. That experience (and success) extends to the vice-captains where Harrington has named Luke Donald, Robert Karlsson, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell and Henrik Stenson as his assistants.

RELATED: Everything you need to know about Team USA

Padraig Harrington with his five Team Europe Ryder cup vice-captains.

However, Team USA do have a substantial advantage when it comes to Major wins, leading by 14-7.

But, for all the stats, the Ryder Cup will ultimately come down to which group of 12 men combine to play the better golf and reach the magical 14.5 points target.

Let’s take a closer look at Team Europe.

Ryder Cup 2020: Team Europe automatic qualifiers

Click a player's name for what's in their bag

Jon Rahm

Age: 26 | Nationality: Spanish | Ryder Cup appearances: 1 (2018 – won) | Ryder Cup record: W1 L2 H0 | World ranking: 1 | Major wins: 1 | PGA/European Tour wins: 6/7

Jon Rahm will make his second appearance for Team Europe in the Ryder Cup.

For all the talk about Team USA’s world rankings, Team Europe has the one that really matters – the World No.1.

Rahm has undoubtedly been the best player in the world for the past year and, had it not been for an awfully-timed positive Covid test, would arguably be heading to Whistling Straits with more victories to his name (and Patrick Cantlay would have less to his).

Rahm led the Memorial Golf tournament by six shots after 54 holes back in June, only to be informed of his test result as he left the course, forcing him to withdraw. Team USA’s Patrick Cantlay ‘won’ the tournament the following day and went on to lift the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup by a single shot from Rahm, taking full advantage of a headstart that could well have been the Spaniard’s had it not been for Covid.

Impressively, Rahm didn’t dwell on his misfortune, coming out of isolation to claim his first Major at the US Open in his very next start. Long birdie putts on Torrey Pines’ 17th and 18th holes helped him pip Louis Oosthuizen to the crown. His Major record for the year reads T5, T8, 1, T3.

Rahm only played three of the five matches at Le Golf National in 2018 and is yet to record a win in either the fourballs or foursomes having lost matches while partnering Justin Rose and Ian Poulter.

However, the 26-year-old took the scalp of Tiger Woods in the Sunday singles to help Europe to victory and is a far more experienced player now having won 13 titles and the 2019 Race to Dubai.

We expect the 26-year-old to spearhead this side and play all five in Wisconsin.

Who could he partner?

Anyone! But we wouldn’t be surprised to see the Spaniard sent out with Tommy Fleetwood in the fourballs and Viktor Hovland in the foursomes.

Paul Casey

Age: 44 | Nationality: English | Ryder Cup appearances: 4 (2004 – won, 2006 – won, 2008 – won, 2018 – won) | Ryder Cup record: W4 L3 H5 | World ranking: 22 | Major wins: 0 | PGA/European Tour wins: 3/15

Paul Casey will make his fifth appearance for Team Europe in the Ryder Cup.

Casey made his debut in Europe’s record-breaking win at Oakland Hills in 2004 and then went unbeaten at The K Club in 2006, making the last hole-in-one in the Ryder Cup.

He returned to the side after a decade’s absence in Paris in 2018 and formed an impressive fourballs partnership with Tyrrell Hatton. The Englishmen narrowly lost to Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas (1up) on the opening day but took down Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler 3&2 on the Saturday. Sent out second in the singles, Casey halved his match with Brooks Koepka to halt the momentum Team USA seemed to be building.

He won his 15th European Tour title at the Dubai Desert Classic in January and has enjoyed another consistent season with five top-five finishes and making the cut in all four Majors, including T4, T7 and T15 finishes at the US Open, US PGA and The Open respectively. Another experienced head and could prove key to Europe’s hopes.

Who could he partner?

Tyrrell Hatton, Tommy Fleetwood.

Rory McIlroy

Age: 32 | Nationality: Northern Irish | Ryder Cup appearances: 5 (2010 – won, 2012 – won, 2014 – won, 2016 – lost, 2018 - won) | Ryder Cup record: W11 L9 H4 | World ranking: 13 | Major wins: 4 | PGA/European Tour wins: 19/14

Rory McIlroy will make his sixth appearance for Team Europe at the Ryder Cup.

The only man to have played in every Ryder Cup since 2010, McIlroy heads to Whistling Straits with his lowest world ranking for years but remains one of the key figures for Team Europe.

The Northern Irishman has tasted defeat just once his five appearances (Hazeltine 2016) and has played every session in each of the last four events.

He ended his 553-day winless run with victory at the Wells Fargo Championship in May just weeks after starting work with Pete Cowen and has six top-20s and three top-10s since.

Played a key role in the Miracle of Medinah in 2012, partnering with Ian Poulter to ensure Europe won Saturday’s final match to go into the final day 10-6, then saw off Keegan Bradley in the singles having famously arrived at the course just minutes before his tee time.

He played with Poulter again in 2018 and has regularly partnered Sergio Garcia, so don’t be surprised to see either of those pairings, although we can see him playing with Shane Lowry at some stage.

The 32-year-old is without a Major win since 2014, the same year he last won a singles match in this event having lost to Patrick Reed and Justin Thomas in the last two events, a stat he’ll be keen to reset in Wisconsin on a links-style course that should really suit his game.

Who could he partner?

Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia, Shane Lowry.

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Viktor Hovland

Age: 23 | Nationality: Norwegian | Ryder Cup appearances: Debutant | World ranking: 14 | Major wins: 0 | PGA/European Tour wins: 2/1

Viktor Hovland makes his debut for Team Europe at the 2020 Ryder Cup and becomes the first Norwegian to play in the event.

The first Norwegian to play in the Ryder Cup, the debut of very few ‘rookies’ has got us as excited as Viktor Hovland’s.

Like Morikawa for Team USA, he’s only a rookie by name having already won twice on the PGA Tour and sitting inside the world’s top 20 players since the end of last year.

He became the first Norwegian to win on the PGA Tour after his victory at the Puerto Rico Open in February 2020 and added a second victory at the Mayakoba Golf Classic in December.

The 23-year-old, who is the former Amateur World No.1, then became the first Norwegian to win on the European Tour with victory at the BMW International Open in Germany in June.

He heads to Wisconsin in encouraging form with seven top six finishes this year, including a T4 finish at the Tour Championships last month.

Hovland made the cut at three of the year’s four Majors and was forced to withdraw from the US Open with injury during the second round.

Anyone who is concerned about his matchplay credentials would do well to remember that he went undefeated at the 2015 Jacques Leglise Trophy and became the first Norwegian amateur to win the US Amateur Championship in 2018.

Who could he partner?

Jon Rahm, Lee Westwood.

Tommy Fleetwood

Age: 30 | Nationality: English |Ryder Cup appearances: 1 (2018 – won) | Ryder Cup record: W4 L1 H0 | World ranking: 37 | Major wins: 0 | PGA/European Tour wins: 0/5

Tommy Fleetwood will make his second appearance for Team Europe at the Ryder Cup.

Hitting form at the right time, Fleetwood finished T2 in Italy before a T16 finish at Wentworth, closing with an impressive five-under par 67.

The Englishman has five European Tour wins to his name but is without a victory since the Nedbank Challenge in November 2019.

The 30-year-old formed a record-breaking partnership with close friend Francesco Molinari during his debut in Paris in 2018, the due becoming the first European pair to win all four matches together. Fleetwood ran out of steam on the Sunday as he lost 6&4 to Tony Finau in the singles, but it didn’t impact Europe’s impressive win.

He’s a big fan of links golf so we fully expect him to love the challenge of Whistling Straits, but he’ll need to find a new partner for with Molinari failing to make the team. Played with Paul Casey at the 2018 EurAsia Cup, popular with the American fans and will definitely be one of the players Team USA are wary of.

Who could he partner?

Strikes us a player who could form a partnership with anyone but we can see him playing with Jon Rahm, Paul Casey or Bernd Wiesberger.

RYDER CUP: Tommy Fleetwood: "I fully expect a Team Europe win"

Tyrrell Hatton

Age: 29 | Nationality: English Ryder Cup appearances: 1 (2018 – won) | Ryder Cup record: W1 L2 H0 | World ranking: 19 | Major wins: 0 | PGA/European Tour wins: 1/6

Tyrrell Hatton will make his second appearance for Team Europe at the Ryder Cup.

Hatton loved his debut in Paris three years ago, so much so that he struggled for motivation after the event knowing that it wasn’t a Ryder Cup qualification year and without the same atmosphere every week.

Thankfully his motivation returned and he recorded a first victory on the PGA Tour, winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational in 2020, before lifting the BMW PGA Championship.

Unfortunately, he doesn’t head to Whistling Straits in the best of form having missed four of the last six cuts, including a disappointing defence of his title at Wentworth, but hopefully the Ryder Cup and the atmosphere (even if the crowd will mostly be made up of home fans) will inspire an upturn.

The 29-year-old Englishman, who has six European Tour titles, played twice with Paul Casey in the fourballs and foursomes in 2018, losing 1up to the strong US pair of Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth, bouncing back to beat Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler 3&2.

He then went down 3&2 to 'Captain America' Patrick Reed in the singles but Team Europe’s win had already been secured with Francesco Molinari beating Phil Mickelson on the 16th hole in the match before.

Who could he partner?

Paul Casey, Lee Westwood.

Matt Fitzpatrick

Age: 27 | Nationality: English | Ryder Cup appearances: 1 (2016 – lost) | Ryder Cup record: W0 L2 H0 | World ranking: 27 | Major wins: 0 | PGA/European Tour wins: 0/6

Matt Fitzpatrick will make his second appearance for Team Europe at the Ryder Cup.

The six-time European Tour winner makes his second Ryder Cup appearance, five years after a disappointing debut at Hazeltine.

The Englishman only played twice and failed to get off the mark in 2016, losing 3&2 alongside Henrik Stenson in the foursomes before going down 4&2 to Zach Johnson in the singles.

We fully expect the 27-year-old to get off the mark this time, especially with the help of caddies Billy Foster. The Yorkshireman is one of the most experienced bag men in the game with this his 15th Ryder Cup.

Fitzpatrick won the DP Tour Championship last December and started the year in fine form, finishing T5 at The Genesis Invitational, T11 at the WGC – Workday Championship and T10 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and T9 at The Players Championship.

He’s had a further three Top 10s, including a T2 at the Scottish Open, made the cut in all four Majors, and looked solid in finished T20 at Wentworth to end a disappointing run of tournaments.

RELATED: Billy Foster's tales from 14 Ryder Cups

Who could he partner?

Would be comfortable alongside most of the team, but Lee Westwood feels the most likely.

Bernd Wiesberger

Age: 35 | Nationality: Austrian | Ryder Cup appearances: Debutant | World ranking: 61 | Major wins: 0 | PGA/European Tour wins: 0/8

Bernd Wiesberger is the first Austrian to play in the Ryder cup. He makes his debut for Team Europe at Whistling Straits.

Battled back from a poor opening nine (+3) to impressively to secure his place under immense pressure at Wentworth with a T20 finish.

Wiesberger becomes the first Austrian to play in the Ryder Cup and has eight European Tour titles to his name, the most recent of which came at the Made in Himmerland in May.

The 35-year-old looked set to add a ninth title to his CV at last month’s European Masters before finishing second after making a nightmare double-bogey at the last hole.

He’s made the cut in two of the year’s four Majors (Masters and The Open) and has four top-10 finishes.

Unlike the majority of his teammates, Wiesberger plays most of his golf on the European Tour, something Padraig Harrington was keen to highlight.

“I'm very keen that the Ryder Cup in Europe represents the European Tour as much as Europe itself,” said the Irishman. “It's very important that the players in Europe have that opportunity to play their way into the team.

“Bernd is a European-based player, that means that anybody playing in Europe has a chance to make the team. We don't want to do the ranking off the PGA Tour rankings. We want to do it off our European system.”

Wiesberger has played in the last two EurAsia Cups, winning two out of three matches in 2016, including a dominant fourballs display alongside Ian Poulter, before adding a singles win in 2018.

Who could he partner?
Ian Poulter, Tommy Fleetwood, Sergio Garcia

Lee Westwood

Age: 48 | Nationality: English | Ryder Cup appearances: 10 (1997 – won, 1999 – lost, 2002 – won, 2004 – won, 2006 – won, 2008 – lost, 2010 – won, 2012 – won, 2014 – won, 2016 – lost) | Ryder Cup record: W20 L18 H6 | World ranking: 34 | Major wins: 0 | PGA/European Tour wins: 2/25

Lee Westwood will make his 11th appearance for Team Europe at the Ryder Cup.

Westy equals Sir Nick Faldo's record for most Ryder Cup appearances for Team Europe at Whistling Straits, returning to the playing side having been part of Thomas Bjorn's backroom staff at Le Golf National.

At 48 he’ll become the oldest player to represent Europe in the Ryder Cup.

But would the Englishman have made it in if he hadn’t just clung on to an automatic qualifying spot? His last victory came at the Abu Dhabi Championship in January 2020 and helped him win the Race to Dubai, while consecutive second-place finishes at the Aronold Palmer Invitational and The Players Championship helped solidify his place in the standings, but he’s recorded just one top-20 finish since then and struggled to a T71 finish at Wentworth.

Justin Rose and Alex Noren would arguably have been ahead of him for a pick.

None-the-less, there’s no doubting the 25-time European Tour winner’s experience and ability, especially from tee to green, and, if this is to be his last Ryder Cup appearance as a player then he’ll be desperate to end on a high.

He was unbeaten in Europe’s 2004 and 2006 victories and beat Matt Kuchar to draw the team level at 12-12 in the Miracle at Medinah.

Westwood’s last Ryder Cup appearance came as a wildcard pick in 2016 in the disappointing 17-11 Hazeltine defeat, where he lost all three of his matches and had a stone-cold putter. He was a vice-captain to Thomas Bjorn at Le Golf National.

Who could he partner?

Matt Fitzpatrick, Viktor Hovland.

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Sergio Garcia

Age: 41 | Nationality: Spanish | Ryder Cup appearances: 9 (1999 - lost, 2002 - won, 2004 - won, 2006 - won, 2008 - lost, 2012 - won, 2014 - won, 2016 - lost, 2018 – won) | Ryder Cup record: W22 L12 H7 | World ranking: 43 | Major wins: 1 | PGA/European Tour wins: 11/16

Sergio Garcia will make his 10th appearance for Team Europe at the Ryder Cup.

Europe’s all-time leading scorer will aim to add to his 25.5 points in his 10th Ryder Cup and sixth consecutive appearance.

While his pick came as a surprise to many casual golf viewers, the 41-year-old’s place was never really in doubt thanks to his experience and a very consistent season.

He won the Sanderson Farms Championship and has recorded six other top-10s. The Spaniard bounced back from four consecutive missed cuts in the middle of the season to finish T19 at both the US Open and The Open and reached the Tour Championship where he finished 10th.

Garcia made his debut in 1999 and in 2004 at Oakland Hills, became only the sixth player to win 4.5 points out of five. He followed it up two years later by going unbeaten across the first two days at The K Club to become only the second player after Ian Woosnam to take all four points from his fourball and foursomes matches.

The 16-time European Tour winner has failed to make just one team in the last 22 years, instead being named as a vice-captain to Colin Montgomerie for Europe’s win at Celtic Manor in 2010.

He returned to the side at Medinah in 2012 and, alongside Luke Donald, produced a vital win in the Saturday afternoon fourballs to keep his team in the match, before beating Jim Furyk in the singles as Europe produced their astonishing comeback.

Garcia took three points from four matches in Paris in 2018, defeating Rickie Fowler 2&1 in the singles to overtake Sir Nick Faldo as Europe’s leading points scorer.

This will be the first Ryder Cup the World No.43 has played in America since winning his first Major at the 2017 Masters. He was famously heckled by the crowds during Europe’s hostile 2016 defeat at Hazeltine and, when asked what he’d learned from the defeat at the post-match press conference, quipped: “Well, I know I haven’t won a Major”.

Who could he partner?

Rory McIlroy, Bernd Wiesberger.

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Shane Lowry

Age: 34 | Ryder Cup appearances: Debutant | World ranking: 40 | Major wins: 1 | PGA/European Tour wins: 2/5

Shane Lowry makes his Team Europe debut at the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits.

A rookie by name only. Lowry is a Major champion, WGC winner and has won tournaments around the world.

The Irishman missed the chance to seal an automatic spot at Wentworth but there was little doubt that he would be one of Padraig Harrington’s three picks. Not only are the pair very close friends, Lowry has played alongside the captain at several events this season, including the US PGA Championship, where he finished in a tie for 4th.

Lowry has missed just one cut all season, way back in March, has four top-10s and produced an excellent defence of the Claret Jug at Royal St George’s, finishing T12.

The 34-year-old has made no secret of his desire to make this team and we fully expect him to thrive on debut on a course that should suit his game.

He has limited team matchplay experience, but was part of Europe’s 2016 EurAsia Cup team, winning his foursomes and fourball matches alongside Andy Sullivan in an 18.5-5.5 win.

Who could he partner?

Predictable, but we can’t see past him playing with Rory McIlroy.

Ian Poulter

Age: 45 | Nationality: English | Ryder Cup appearances: 6 (2004 – won, 2008 – lost, 2010 – won, 2012 – won, 2014 – won, 2018 - won) | Ryder Cup record: W14 L6 H2 | World ranking: 49 | Major wins: 0 | PGA/European Tour wins: 3/12

Ian Poulter will make his seventh appearance for Team Europe at the Ryder Cup.

The Englishman’s Ryder Cup record is exceptional, with just six defeats from his 22 matches across six events. He’s unbeaten in the singles and, back in 2010 at Celtic Manor, confidently guaranteed “I will deliver a point” before his match with Matt Kuchar.

Deliver he did, winning 5&4 as Europe won a tight match, and Poulter’s ‘Postman’ nickname was born.

Only an awful season would have prevented Poulter from making Padraig Harrington’s side and the Irishman made it clear before the BMW PGA at Wentworth that the 45-year-old was all but certain of a place in his side.

He hasn’t won since the 2018 Houston Open but, after a slow start, has arguably enjoyed one of his most consistent seasons with four top 10s. He’s also the strongest player across both teams when it comes to Strokes Gained: Putting, so expect to see his eyes bulge and the chest getting beaten when he holes a few in Wisconsin.

A missed cut at Wentworth had some questioning whether he should make the team for Whistling Straits, but it’s a course he’s struggled at historically with last year’s 5th place a rare success.

The 45-year-old’s best Ryder Cup performance came at Medinah where he won all four of his matches to inspire Europe’s epic comeback in 2012. Poulter making five consecutive birdies in the Saturday afternoon fourballs to drag his pairing with McIlroy to victory from the brink of defeat.

He took two victories in 2018, winning alongside Rory McIlroy during the Friday foursomes whitewash and taking the scalp of Dustin Johnson for a key point in the singles. He’ll be hoping for revenge over Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas having lost two matches to the American duo in Paris.

As well as experience, confidence and passion, Poulter brings versatility to the European team, has experience as a vice-captain, and is comfortable in almost any pairing.

Who could he partner?

Almost anyone but we expect to see him alongside McIlroy and, potentially, Wiesberger. The pair produced a dominant display playing together at the 2016 EurAsia Cup.

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