Hit 'Em Straight

Your first look at the Ryder Cup rough is here and it’s not for the faint of heart

September 25, 2023

In just a few days’ time, Ryder Cup XLIV gets underway at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club just outside of Rome. The teams will be stacked with grizzled vets and young bucks. Home-continent advantage will be huge. The streets will run red with Chianti. All of this you already know.

What you’re probably still wondering about, however, is the setup. Sure, you could draw the layout on a bar napkin blindfolded if you had to, but the jury is still out on how Marco Simone—a course with very little “tape,” as we American football fans like to put it—will play heading into the weekend. Slowly but surely it’s secrets are being revealed, though, starting with arguably the most important of all: The rough.

The recon comes by way of Irish Twitter account @amatuer_info, who is on the grounds for the Junior Ryder Cup before the big dogs tee off on Friday. We'll stop well short of calling it the nastiest lettuce we’ve ever seen, but it is pretty aggressive for a ra-ra match-play exhibition [ducks].

Dropped from about thigh height, this ball almost completely vanishes in Satan’s salad. If it's as thick (and thicc) as it looks, that's going to put a premium on fairways hit. Professor Bomb n’ Gouge—AKA Bryson DeChambeau—isn’t in the U.S. team this year, so we suspect you’ll see a lot of long irons and fairway metals off the tee, especially as the pressure ratchets up during Saturday’s afternoon session. Keep it in play, put it on the dance floor and make some putts. If that’s not a recipe for Ryder Cup success, then we don’t know what these guys are cooking up.