2021 Ryder Cup excitement sets up for another competitive showdown

PARIS, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 30: Justin Thomas of the United States celebrates chipping in on the 12th during singles matches of the 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National on September 30, 2018 in Paris, France. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 30: Justin Thomas of the United States celebrates chipping in on the 12th during singles matches of the 2018 Ryder Cup at Le Golf National on September 30, 2018 in Paris, France. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Welcome to my first golf column at Pro Golf Now. I’m more fired up about the Ryder Cup captain’s picks and Ryder Cup in general than about the current college football season and the upcoming NFL draft, so I  had to put my thoughts on this page.

While I  love college football and the rivalries are different because the fans take over so much, and yes, they are harder-fought games on the field too, but there is a difference.

Golf has the ability to pin two individual golfers fighting to win a point for their country, and that match between Rors and Reed was something I’ll never forget.

The Ryder Cup in 2016 when Rory McIlroy and Patrick Reed went head to head was one of the first things that really made me pay attention to golf.

Seeing them battle it out, encouraging the crowd, and flat out playing excellent golf excited me. The “I  can’t hear you,” finger shaking at each other, and death stares they gave each other, I  mean that is everything you could want and more in a golf event.

That rivalry between the Americans and the Europeans is unmatched. However, the even better part is after the round, they respect each other and shake hands, which is why golf is so damn special.

Now we’re in 2021, playing a Ryder Cup in an odd year for the first time since 2001, and the 9/11 tragedy moved it to even years. We had to wait a whole year for this moment, and I  think the six captain’s picks are some of the most anticipated among all sports.

Who will Captain Steve Stricker pick to finish his team? Some thought Phil Mickelson had a shot, then he was named as an assistant captain, so that took him off the table — or did it? It’s doubtful, but Tiger Woods did play as a captain in the Presidents Cup —  I’m just speculating.

There is the Kevin Kisner crowd who desperately wants the former Bulldog golfer on the team. Kiz won the WGC-Match Play event in 2019 and went 2-0-2 at the 2017 President’s Cup.

However, he isn’t long enough for a daunting course like Whistling Straits, and in my opinion, Stricker wouldn’t do that to his team. They want to win, and I  don’t think Kisner gives them the best shot to do so.

Team Europe is already stacked, and I  mean stacked, so you need to complement those guys with Americans that can beat them. Yes, Kisner won the Wyndham Championship, which is when this Ryder Cup talk started, but other than that, he has 4 top-10 finishes, a  T66 at the BMW Championship and missed cut at Northern Trust.

While, yes, he is a great locker room guy, someone who could be a great motivator, I  want someone who can be that and kick butt on the golf course. I’m not saying he couldn’t potentially do that, but the Straits just doesn’t fit his style. Don’t shoot me Kisner fans, and I love the guy because I’m a fellow Georgia alumnus, but I  want to win, and he isn’t it.

I  know there aren’t any more assistant captain spots, but make him an honorary one or the team cheerleader. That works, right?

I’m all for Harris English getting the nod, which at this point seems like an easy selection, along with Jordan Speith, who seems to think he already secured a spot, and rightfully so.

There is Tony Finau, who just got over the hump and won at the Northern Trust event. Also in the hunt are Xander Shauffele, the gold medalist at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Patrick Reed who has been sick, but man, he was a force in 2016 for the Americans.

Daniel Berger, Webb Simpson, Scottie Scheffler, Sam Burns, Jason Kokrak, Billy Horschel, Kisner, and Kevin Na round out the top 20 on the Ryder Cup rankings. All these guys have been named on people’s predictions lists.

Na is the lastest to surge, with five top-10s this year, including four in the last six events, it’s understandable. However, he doesn’t have the experience and is the same length as Kisner. I don’t see it, but as hot as he is right now on the course, it makes more sense than Kisner.

Even though this article will publish just before they make the captain’s picks at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 8 on GOLF Channel, this isn’t about who I  would pick if I  were Stricker.

Nope, this is about the sheer excitement I  have for the Ryder Cup in the coming weeks and how these six captain’s picks could really help the American’s get a victory for the first time since Reed and company defeated the Europeans in 2016.

Everyone is talking about it, and even after Stricker announces his picks today, the talk will continue. After waiting an extra year and having this many Americans good enough to compete against a tough, tough European team should excite everyone who follows the Ryder Cup and professional golf.

France left a nasty taste in our mouth in 2018, and today’s picks will either solidify the American’s chances, or they’ll make for a heavily favored European team.

dark. Next. 2021 Ryder Cup: Patrick Cantlay’s clutch putting makes him scary opponent

Today is the day we really get to count down and get excited because the next 11 to 10 days are going to drag on until we all get to root like madmen for our countries. Hopefully, France’s loss left a bad enough taste in the American’s mouths to get a big win on home soil.