The Ryder Cup is a biennial competition between the United States and Europe that rotates home-course advantage and provides golf fans an opportunity to jump headfirst into team play without firing up LIV Golf on the weekend. Players have an opportunity to earn their way onto the roster by accumulating points throughout the year or convincing their team captain that they're just the man for the job. This year's event will take place at Marco Simone in Rome, where the U.S. will try to replicate their resounding victory two years ago.
A full picture of the teams should emerge today with plenty of intrigue and strategy talk to come over the next month. To fully dive into that, though, it's helpful to know the rules. Here is how it all works:
Each of the first two days includes one four-match session of four-ball and one four-match session of foursomes. The final day is reserved for 12 singles matches. Four-ball involves each member of a two-man team playing their own ball and taking the best score on the hole. If the two teams tie, then the hole is halved. Whichever side wins the hole, wins the match.
In foursomes, two-man teams rotate hitting shots. For instance, if Jordan Spieth hits the tee shot on a par-four, then Justin Thomas would strike the approach. Spieth would then putt for birdie and Thomas would conceivably cleanup for par. Then Spieth would once again have driving duties for the next tee box. Whichever team wins the most holes will be the match winner.
Singles is much simpler as the two rivaling teams go against each other in traditional match play.
Each match in the competition is worth one point and it is possible to tie and earn a half-point. The first team to get to 14.5 points out of a possible 28 is the winner.
The other thing to know is that concession rules are in play and gimme putts are often conceded in gentlemanly fashion, much like you might do with your friends for a weekend round.
Simple enough, right? Let the battles begin.