This week marks the best week of golf every two years. It is like the best of all four majors combined into one event. It has the international feel of the Open, the competitiveness of the US, the small elite field of the Masters, and the bonkers scoring of the PGA (and the crazy fans of the Players).

What: A biannual, three-day exhibition featuring the best players in the world. There is no purse, only bragging rights between individuals and nations. Originally designed to be the US vs. Great Britain and Ireland. In 1979, the European team was expanded to include all of Continental Europe. The exhibition has been canceled or postponed for WWII and 9/11.

Currently, the US holds the cup, only the second time in the last eight meetings.

The first two days have two sessions each. Both sound sexier than they are- fourball and foursomes. The morning session is fourball (best score between partners on a given hole), while the afternoon features foursomes (where each duo alternates hitting each other’s shot). The last day is a blind draw heads up singles match where each player from each team participates.

Each match is worth one point, a draw is worth half a point. The defending champion has to win 14 points while the challenger has to win 14.5.

When: September 25-30, 2018. Take a break from football watching for a few all day golf sessions.

Where: Le Golf National in Paris, France. It is a 7,183-yard par 71 links style course designed by Hubert Chesneau and Robert Van Hagge. The home course for Europeans will reward the typically better ball striking Euros with difficult tee and pin placements.

Who: This is the best US team ever assembled. Captain Jim Furyk has chosen five vice captains who will not play: David Duval, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Davis Love III, and Steve Stricker. Each captain oversees a pod of players who they most get along with. The twelve Americans are: Bryson DeChambeau, Tony Finau, Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed, Webb Simpson, Jordan Speith, Justin Thomas, Bubba Watson, and Tiger Woods.

The World Golf Rankings of the American Players are: 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 10, 13, 14, 15, 17, 21, 25.

The Euros are: Captain Thomas Bjorn, Assistant Captains Luke Donald, Padraig Harrington, Robert Karlsson, Graeme McDowell, and Lee Westwood. The twelve European players are: Paul Casey, Tommy Fleetwood, Sergio Garcia, Tyrrell Hatton, Rory McIlroy, Francesco Molinari, Alex Noren, Thorbjorn Oleson, Ian Poulter, Jon Rahm, Justin Rose, and Henrik Stenson.

The World Golf Rankings of the European Players are: 1, 5, 6, 7, 12, 16, 19, 23, 26, 29, 34,44.

The Dope: The Americans won in 2016 without FEDEX CUP winner Bryson DeChambeau, US Open and PGA Champion Brooks Koepka, World Ranked #4 Justin Thomas, and Tiger Freaking Woods. They are in the prime of the youth movement in professional golf, and they are cocksure enough to embrace the Dream Team scenario.

Last time Patrick Reed, dubbed Captain America, for his otherworldly performance in a head to head dual with Rory McIlroy, carried the team. This time, the theatrics may not be necessary.

However, the Euros have veterans Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia who play the best golf of their careers every two years and are a large reason for a 6-2 European record over the last decade and a half.

If Phil doing Phil things on his newly minted Twitter account doesn’t excite you, then nothing will.

Nonetheless, the Americans will be the ugly Americans in all the best ways in Paris. It is a living dream for many of the young pros to compete alongside Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. Look for pairings like DJ/Brooks (bombs away), Speith/Reed, Bryson/Tiger, Phil/Rickie, and Bubba/Webb.

While the Euros have elite players, they are top heavy, and will most likely get run on the bottom half of the roster.

The Odds: The Americans are favored -165 and the Euros are dogs at +125. A draw is a long shot at +1100. If there is a good value, the Americans are slightly favored to win Day One Foursomes at +125 to the Euros at +160. That might be the European Team’s only chance to win a session.


The Caveat: It is completely acceptable to cheer for Rory McIlroy against American golfers. He plays American golf better than most Americans. After 2016, he proved himself to be Maximus in the gladiatorial green. He is the most electrifying golfer in the field since a certain American who just won the Tour Championship and hasn’t played since 2012.