Ryder Cup: Which players have performed strongly at Whistling Straits before?

With the 24 players for this year’s showdown in Wisconsin now known, we look at the past course records of the two teams.

Course form proved a key element in the most recent Ryder Cup, the 2018 event at Le Golf National in France.

The Paris venue was well known to the European team and many boasted strong records there.

The stars of the show that memorable week were Francesco Molinari and Tommy Fleetwood, the duo winning all four matches together and the Italian completing a perfect 5-0-0 record by capturing his singles too.

That they should shine bright came as no big surprise. Fleetwood had won the 2017 Open de France held there while Molinari was a three-time runner-up at Le Golf National.

In fact, you could go through just about the entire European team and find excellent past exploits.

Alex Noren had won there a few months earlier, Rory McIlroy had a pair of top fours on his previous two visits and 11 of the 12 had at least a top 10 at the course, with eight recording a top five.

By contrast, the only American to come over and play the Open de France in the summer of 2018 was Justin Thomas.

He ended tied 10th and was rewarded for his reconnaissance work by finishing as the top US points scorer, racking up an impressive four wins in his side's 17.5-11.5 drubbing.

In short, past course form and suitability can be a massive factor in a Ryder Cup.

And after Le Golf National was set up to negate the Americans' power-hitting, Whistling Straits should be a far better fit for the US bombers.

Course form at Whistling Straits

We don't have a plethora of recent course form at Whistling Straits but the lengthy Pete Dye track has staged three PGAs in its relatively short history: 2004, 2010 and 2015.

And plenty of players from both teams have seen it at least once.

Here's an in-depth look at their records.

Team USA

Collin Morikawa - not played before

Dustin Johnson - 7th 2015 (66-73-68-69), 5th 2010 (71-68-67-73)

2015 - "This golf course, if you drive it in the fairway and you control your distance with your irons, you can get a lot of good looks at birdies. I think every part of your game, on this golf course, needs to be good. You've got to hit every club in the bag."

Of course, the memories for DJ at Whistling Straits are rather tainted by his infamous penalty in 2010.

Bryson DeChambeau - not played before

Brooks Koepka - 5th 2015 (73-69-67-66)

Justin Thomas - 18th 2015 (72-70-68-70)

Patrick Cantlay - not played before

Tony Finau - 10th 2015 (71-66-69-71)

2015 - "I like the golf course. I think it sets up good for somebody that can put the ball in the air 300 yards. I think my game suits some bigger golf courses, some firmer golf courses and things with my high ball flight. I knew it was a good setup for me."

Xander Schauffele - not played before

Jordan Spieth - 2nd 2015 (71-67-65-68)

2015 - "The greens are as healthy as I've seen in a long time and they putt extremely well.The bunkers are hazards out here, there's a lot of them. You almost have to approach it like an Open Championship. So, you have to almost approach them as hazards and definitely stray away from them.

"If you hit it long and straight, if you hit it his (winner Jason Day's) distance and you're hitting it straight, he's going to have a huge advantage over me, because I just can't hit it that far. But I think it's a shot maker's golf course. I don't necessarily believe in it being a bomber's course."

Harris English - 48th 2015 (68-71-76-72)

Daniel Berger - MC 2015 (74-74)

Scottie Scheffler - not played before

Team Europe

Jon Rahm - not played before

Tommy Fleetwood - MC 2015 (77-72)

Tyrrell Hatton - 25th 2015 (73-72-68-70)

Bernd Wiesberger - MC 2015 (72-75)

Rory McIlroy - 17th 2015 (71-71-68-69), 3rd 2010 (71-68-67-72)

2015 - "I always thought this course suited the longer hitters, and it does to some degree. But I feel like there's a lot of ways to get around this golf course. And Jordan showed that over the last couple of days. He hasn't hit the ball miles, he hits it far enough, he's definitely above average in terms of length. But he's the prime example of someone whose game is very efficient, when he gives himself chances."

"Overall I think it's a fantastic golf course. It's a fantastic venue for a Major championship, and looking forward to the Ryder Cup in five years' time."

Viktor Hovland - not played before

Paul Casey - 30th 2015 (70-70-70-74), 12th 2010 (72-71-70-69), MC 2004 (74-72)

2010 - "I like the golf course. I think it's quite an intimidating golf course visually, but I actually like it. I think it suits my style of game. It's a through-the-air golf course. Length is obviously an advantage.

"Having said that, if you look at 2004, it was Vijay, Justin Leonard, Chris DiMarco in a playoff. So if it's a power player, they have to drive it well and they have to keep it in play. Or, it's going to be somebody who is very precise and very accurate with long irons, hybrids, maybe somebody like a Luke Donald."

Matt Fitzpatrick - not played before

Lee Westwood - 43rd 2015 (72-72-70-73), MC 2004 (75-71)

2004 - "I've been told before I got here that there were ten really difficult holes and eight impossible ones. I'm just trying to work out which the ten difficult holes were.

"You know, I think we were walking around yesterday and I think it's a very, very difficult golf course, almost a little too difficult, really. Almost seems a bit too long."

Shane Lowry - MC 2010 (71-79), MC 2015 (78-69)

Sergio Garcia - 54th 2015 (72-71-75-70), MC 2010 (78-69), MC 2004 (73-73)

2004 - "I don't think I've ever played anything as tough as this. I think this is definitely the toughest course I've ever played in my life."

Ian Poulter - MC 2015 (75-75), MC 2010 (72-72-77), 37th 2004 (73-72-70-73)


Instinctively, it seems like Whistling Straits would be more suited to the American players and past results in PGAs confirm that.

If aggregated, here are the combined finishes of each side:

USA: 2nd, 5th, 5th, 7th, 10th, 18th, 48th, MC

Europe: 3rd, 12th, 17th, 25th, 30th, 37th, 43rd, 54th, MC, MC, MC, MC, MC, MC, MC, MC, MC, MC

The US Ryder team have also gone on a recent scouting trip to Whistling Straits to further acquaint themselves with the course.

Captain Steve Stricker explained: "My message from day one has been to try and out-prepare the other team, the European team, and for me it's been that way throughout my career, just trying to prepare the best as I can going into events.

"So, let's get in as much practice as we can here, maybe take a little bit of the stress of Ryder Cup week off our plates by getting our work done now, earlier than Ryder Cup week, and get some rest that week."

Vice-captain, Davis Love, backed those comments up by saying how much it cost the Americans in 2018.

"They had us over a barrel in Paris because we didn't have enough practice rounds at [Le Golf National]," he said, which begs the question why more of them didn't play in the Open de France the previous summer.

"The other team knew the golf course way better. We're going to focus on breaking down the course over the next couple of weeks until we get there. It's important for us to gather local knowledge and pass it on to the guys that don't have the intimate knowledge as guys like DJ."

If the tournament was being played at a neutral venue, the Europeans would have their work cut out given the talent on the American side.

The fact it's at Whistling Straits makes their task even harder.

READ MORE: Ryder Cup wildcards: The importance of captain's picks

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