Straits vibin’

Pairing clues, Bryson updates, lingering questions, and course notes from the 43rd Ryder Cup


Three years and a pandemic delay later, the 2020 (yes, that’s what it’s called) Ryder Cup has arrived. The Spotted Cow is flowing, the cheese curds are curdling, and just 48 hours remain until they launch ’em at Whistling Straits.

In honor of Ryder Cup week, we’re running a print sale over at the Fried Egg pro shop! All prints will be 20% off with code RC2020 through the end of the event. Newly added courses include Whistling Straits, White Bear Yacht Club, Pacific Dunes, Bandon Trails, Old Macdonald, the Aiken Golf Club, and Inverness Club. Shop the full collection!

Tuesday notes

While nothing is official until Thursday, Ryder Cup practice rounds generally give away which players will team up in foursomes and four-ball on Friday and Saturday. HERE are the groups that went out on Tuesday.

Team Europe’s golf bags have numbers signifying the players’ places in European Ryder Cup history. Bernd Wiesberger, whose bag has “164” on it, is the 164th (and latest) member of the tribe. Related: an astronaut mannequin stands in the European team room to remind players that 570 people have been to space, whereas about a third of that number have played for Europe in the Ryder Cup. This is inspiring, apparently.

Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka, at least as far as public relations go, have declared a truce. In his press conference on Tuesday, Bryson also hinted at “something fun” involving himself and Brooks coming in the near future. (It’s clearly the next edition of The Match.)

Oh, also! Bryson has a “brass chest.” Asked about his haters and hecklers, of which there are many, he said, “You can have a lot of armor and you can protect yourself with people around you and all that, and there are times where it’s not comfortable, but there’s also times where it fuels me…. I’ve got a brass chest, I’ve taken a lot of heat, but I’m okay with it.”

Dream scenario

You may not be teeing it up at Whistling Straits this weekend, but you can still play a bucket-list course in the near future. Dream Golf is here to help!

Dream Golf—the people behind Bandon Dunes, Cabot Cape Breton, and Sand Valley—has been making golfers’ dreams come true for over two decades. Recently, they announced a partnership to bring an array of USGA events to Bandon Dunes, and the long-lost Lido is nearing its resurrection near Sand Valley. To celebrate, Dream Golf is hosting a giveaway to send you to either Bandon Dunes or Sand Valley! Winners will have their choice of adventure, either attending the 2022 U.S. Junior Amateur at Bandon Dunes or being among the first to preview the Lido. Entries close on September 20.

Win the trip of a lifetime today!

Lingering questions

What’s the status of Brooks’s health? – The last we saw Brooks Koepka in action, the four-time major winner injured his wrist by hitting a tree root at East Lake and had to pull out of the Tour Championship. Koepka claims he’s 100% ready to go, but he has bluffed about his health before. The real sign will be how many matches he plays this week.

How often will the inexperienced players play? – In recent Ryder Cups, almost all players have taken part in at least three matches. This wasn’t always the case. Especially on Team Europe, the weakest players used to sit for most of the foursomes and four-ball sessions. Granted, this year, every player on both teams either is in strong form or has a strong Ryder Cup history, but we’re still curious to see whether anyone is left off the tee sheets on Friday and Saturday.

Will Bryson play foursomes? – In case you’ve been living under a rock, many people believe it will be difficult to pair Bryson DeChambeau with someone else in alternate shot. But are we overthinking this? DeChambeau said he is ready and willing to play any format, and exactly which member of the U.S. team doesn’t enjoy hitting a lag putt for a second shot on a par 4?

The course

Whistling Straits has hosted multiple stroke-play majors, but we haven’t seen how the course reacts to match play. Here are a few threads we’ll be tracking:

Drivable par 4s – Nos. 6, 10, 14 – Pete Dye didn’t love short par 4s, but he built a few at Whistling Straits, and they should be entertaining for match play. Depending on tee positions, Nos. 6, 10, and 14 could provide opportunities for players to go for the green, but danger lurks at every turn.

The 6th hole at Whistling Straits. Photo: Andy Johnson

Must-hit fairways – Nos. 4, 8, 11, 18 – Anything can happen in match play, but if you miss the fairways on these holes, you’re probably done. All are long par 4s that demand both length and accuracy off the tee. While we’ve heard a lot about the U.S. team shaving down the rough to suit its longer, less accurate drivers, we can assure you it’s not a free-for-all out there.

The 8th hole at Whistling Straits. Photo: Andy Johnson

Par 3s – All four of Whistling Straits’ one-shotters play along Lake Michigan, but they’re not hard to distinguish from each other. No. 12 can play under 100 yards while No. 17 can play over 220, and Nos. 3 and 7 sit between those numbers. With wild greens and dramatic settings, these par 3s are must-watch holes.

The 12th hole at Whistling Straits. Photo: Andy Johnson

Quick Hooks

The LPGA’s 54-hole Walmart NW Arkansas Championship gets underway on Friday. Jin Young Ko, Sei Young Kim, Lexi Thompson, and Brooke Henderson headline the field.

Everyone is hoping that the players and caddies remain healthy at Whistling Straits this week, but if a Covid outbreak occurs, it’s not clear what the process would be. Full Article from Rex Hoggard

Daniel Berger, aka DB Strait Vibin’, is clearly feeling himself in Wisconsin.

The Latest from The Fried Egg

Whistling Straits’ Best Bunkers, Ranked – There are quite a few bunkers at Whistling Straits. Will Knights identifies the ones he expects to be the most influential this week.

The Fried Egg Podcast: Five Things About the Ryder Cup with Lawrence Donegan

Lawrence Donegan (@lawrencedonegan) is a longtime golf journalist who has worked for The Scotsman and The Guardian. He co-founded the excellent McKellar Magazine and hosts the McKellar Golf Podcast. With the 2020 (not a typo) Ryder Cup approaching, Lawrence joins Andy Johnson to share five things to watch for at Whistling Straits. They discuss Steve Stricker’s uninspired start to his week-of captaincy, the reasons behind Team USA’s chronic underperformance, the looming succession drama on the European side, and more. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.

The Shotgun Start will be on the grounds at Whistling Straits on Wednesday and will record afterwards. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify.