The European team is loaded with hope in Liverpool

Just a few months ago there was concern about the fitness of several European golfers who are supposed to be in this year’s Ryder Cup (from September 29 to October 1 at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome, Italy). A good handful of players called to be leaders of the Old Continent chained discreet results, and the new generation did not quite settle among the best on the planet. However, as the Italian event approaches, the continental delegation is gaining hope through good results. The British Open at Royal Liverpool was the latest proof of this.

Of the top 32 finishers at Hoylake, 15 of them were representatives of European countries. It is true that in the British Open there are more places for representatives of the DP World Tour, but the continentals took advantage of the opportunity. Jon Rahm (Spain), Sepp Straka (Austria), Rory McIlroy, Matthew Jordan and Tommy Fleetwod (England) finished in the final top-10, and others like Viktor Hovland (Norway) or Thomas Detry (Belgium) were about to achieve it. The victory, yes, went to the American Brian Harman, although the country of stars and stripes ‘only’ had three representatives in the noble positions (Cameron Young, 8th, and Max Homa, 10th). Not a trace of several North American stars who suffered in the English links.

Sepp Straka and Tommy Fleetwood.
Sepp Straka and Tommy Fleetwood.PAUL ELLISAFP

The number of five Europeans in the top-10 is the best this year in the majors: in Augusta there were three, the same record as in the US Open, while in the PGA there were four. With regard to Marco Simone, Europe has safe values ​​such as Jon Rahm (win at the Masters, second at the British and 10th at the US Open), Rory McIlroy (three top-7s in majors) and Viktor Hovland (always within the top-20), although the great unknown was the appearance of second swords capable of giving the chest in Italy. It is not known what will happen to the members of the LIV, among which there are great European Ryder emblems such as Sergio García, Lee Westwood or Ian Poulter. And, in dire need of fresh sap, there are green shoots.

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The name of Sepp Straka has burst into force in this 2023. The Austrian, second at Royal Liverpool, was also seventh in the PGA and won the John Deere Classic. He caresses the automatic classification by points (three get in for European points and another three for world goals) but, if he doesn’t get it, he will surely be one of the six invited by captain Luke Donald. The English Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton and Justin Rose have stepped forward in recent months, and others with a lower profile, such as the Polish Adrian Meronk, the French Antoine Rozner or the Danish Hojgaard brothers, may receive the great opportunity in Marco Simone. The pity of this British Open is that none of the other three Spaniards with options to be in Italy (Pablo Larrazábal, Jorge Campillo and Adrián Otaegui) completed a great tournament.

Despite these reasons for hope, the American team remains the favorite for the duel. Three of the four major winners this year are American (Brooks Koepka, Wyndham Clark and Brian Harman), and the fight to get into the top six positions in the country’s classification, which give the automatic ticket to Ryder, is fierce. With his win at Hoylake, Harman jumped from 20th to third, getting very close to being in his first USA vs. Europe. Schauffele, Homa, Cantlay, Spieth, Morikawa, Fowler, Thomas… they all exchange positions week after week in a table dominated, of course, by Scottie Scheffler. Two months after the start of the Ryder Cup, the difference between sides narrows.

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