When is it, where is it and what is the format and schedule?

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How can I watch on TV?

NBC are the broadcasters in America, where viewers will either have to stay up late or wake up very early to catch the morning sessions on Friday and Saturday. When the Ryder Cup was played in France five years ago, play began at 2.10am Eastern Time, with the afternoon sessions starting at a more civilised 7.50am Eastern Time. 

No such worries for viewers in the UK, where there will be exclusive live TV coverage on Sky Sports. In 2018, the first matches went off at 7.10am BST. 

What is the Ryder Cup?

One of the most-watched sporting events in the world, the Ryder Cup is distinctive for inserting competitors from an individual sport into a team environment. Aside from the golf, the team dynamics and relationships have made for compelling viewing.

Amateur golfer and businessman Samuel Ryder conceived the idea of a match between British and American professionals, with the inaugural Ryder Cup played in Massachusetts in 1927. 

The match was played between an American and British or British and Irish team until 1977. 

After nine USA victories and one tie in 10 meetings, Jack Nicklaus wrote a letter to Lord Derby (then president of the British PGA) suggesting Britain and Ireland merge with Continental Europe to make the Ryder Cup more competitive. 

Ryder Cups became far more closely fought and dramatic by the mid-Eighties, and the extravaganza we know today was born.

Who are the Ryder Cup captains? 

Europe will be led by Luke Donald, who replaced Henrik Stenson last year after the Swede was stripped of the title. The USA captain is 2007 Masters champion Zach Johnson. 

Who’s on the teams?

Team Europe

Six players will qualify automatically – the three leading players on the European points list and the next three players on the world points list. The qualification period ends on September 3. Captain Luke Donald is then permitted to pick another six. 

The six leading European players are (from the European points list) Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Robert MacIntyre and (from the world points list) Viktor Hovland, Tyrrell Hatton and Tommy Fleetwood. McIlroy and Rahm are already mathematically assured of a place.

European golfers who are playing on the LIV Golf tour are not permitted to qualify for the Ryder Cup. This is because European Ryder Cup players must be members of the DP World Tour (formerly known as the European Tour) and those players who signed up with LIV were forced to give up their places on the DP World Tour. 

Team USA

Like Europe, America now use a ‘six plus six’ method for selecting the team: six players qualify automatically and captain Zach Johnson picks the remaining six himself. 

The American team selection is if even more interesting, because unlike Donald, Johnson is permitted to select from the LIV ranks.

Johnson’s messaging has changed subtly since May when he insisted LIV players were “not even on my radar” unless automatically qualified, which is why the sight of him practising with Koepka at the Open was particularly noteworthy. Koepka is already certain to be in Rome courtesy of his results at the Masters and the PGA Championship. 

As things stand, the six players qualifying for Johnson’s team are: Scottie Scheffler, Wyndham Clark, Brian Harman, Max Homa, Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay.

Brooks Koepka, Cameron Young and Sam Burns are hot on the heels of this top six. But could Johnson be prepared to hand a captain’s pick to one of the other big beasts on the LIV Tour? Phil Mickelson, for example, is way down in 33rd in the rankings. 

He, like Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, even ‘Captain America’ himself Patrick Reed, are in contention, along with Talor Gooch who, having won three LIV events, is the most in-form of all of them.

How can I buy tickets?

General admission tickets for the Ryder Cup are now sold out, but more premium tickets including hospitality packages are available via the official website. 

A Vista Terrace ticket for the final practice day – featuring live entertainment, DJs, private bars and food stands – will set you back about £350. 

A place in the ‘Captains Club’ for Thursday to Sunday inclusive cost around £5,800 per person.

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