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Ryder Cup Radicals: Last days before the big days

September 19, 2023
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Mondadori Portfolio

We spend so much time talking about the Ryder Cup that it's almost a shock when it actually arrives. Wait, you mean they're actually going to play this thing? That time has come at last, in one week, the players and captains and media will all be in Italy preparing for the start of the tournament. But first, we have some final analysis to do, and it comes in the form of the last events held before the Big One.

In Europe, the BMW PGA Championship featured all 12 players from the European Ryder Cup team, and the news was nothing but great for Luke Donald. All 12 made the cut, and the majority finished in the top 20, including Ludvig Aberg, who had a chance to grab the second win of his short career, and came up just short on Sunday. Adrian Meronk, who many see as the biggest snub of this cycle, was in contention after Friday, but faded, and in his place players like Tyrrell Hatton, Tommy Fleetwood, Viktor Hovland, Rory McIlroy, and Jon Rahm all finished inside the top ten. The team's form, at least judging by this event, seems to be spectacular.

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Orlando Ramirez

Zach Johnson got a bit of good news himself at the PGA Tour's Fortinet Championship, where Justin Thomas—easily the most controversial pick on the American side, after a tough year—finished in solo fifth with three rounds in the 60s. That should quell a number of anxieties about his form, and also serve as a kind of PR boon for Johnson, who took some flack for spending a pick on Thomas.

Meanwhile, in Italy, word is coming from Marco Simone that the course is being tailored to a specifically European vision complete with thick, gnarly rough they hope will punish the American team, particularly off the tee.

On this week's Ryder Cup Radicals, we hit all of these topics as we prepare to fly overseas ourselves. Have the Europeans really hit a perfect stride at the right time, or is it all a mirage? What have we learned thus far about Luke Donald and Zach Johnson as captains? Are they system men, or can we expect some deviations? And considering the fact that the last four Ryder Cups have been home blowouts, should control of the course be taken from the home team and given to a neutral body?

Listen below, or wherever you get podcasts.