Ryder Cup: Europe take on United States at Whistling Straits

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Rory McIlroy was seen wearing a foam cheesehead, which is worn by Wisconsinites at sporting events, before Wednesday's practice. Many patriotic home supporters are dressed in American stars or stripes.

Dates for the 43rd Ryder Cup: 24-26 September Location: Whistling Straits (Wisconsin) Coverage: Live text, clips, highlights and audio on BBC Sport's website and app. Listen on BBC Radio 5 Live, Sports Extra, and BBC Sounds. Highlights on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer. For more information, click here

The United States now have the chance to revenge the European defeat in Paris three years ago.

After being delayed for one year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 43rd edition will begin on Friday.

Europe won 17-10 at Le Golf National 2018 and is aiming to win their eighth consecutive victory in 10 meetings.

During Thursday's opening ceremony, the line-ups of Friday's foursomes (alternate shots) matches will be announced at 22:45 BST

The visitors hope experience will prove to be the key to another victory against an American team that features six Ryder Cup debutants.

The hosts, however, are led by Steve Stricker who has played in three Ryder Cups, and was also vice-captain. They have a greater history in terms of major victories and world ranking.

Jon Rahm, Europe's number one, is ranked below by Dustin Johnson (left).

Recent results have shown that home advantage is crucial, with only two away wins - for Europe in 2004, and 2012 – in the 11 previous events.

Rory McIlroy, Europe's President, stated that winning any Ryder Cup was a huge achievement and a tremendous accomplishment for everyone involved.

"But winning the Ryder Cup on the Road has become more meaningful.

"We are underdogs and have a lot against us. I believe that this would make it even more impressive."

There is bound to be a strong partisan atmosphere in Wisconsin with up to 40,000 expected home fans at Whistling Straits every day and almost zero European support due to strict US travel rules.

American patriotism was evident on the course during the practice rounds. It was illustrated by supporters wearing brightly coloured clothing with stars or stripes and supporting chants of "U-S.-A, U.S.A" - which will only increase when the real action begins on Friday.

Stricker, a native of the upper midwestern states, said that "it's not just Wisconsin. The whole country is showing up."

"It has been a long wait and everyone is excited to see this thing move."

Who is playing?

The United States has eight of the top 10 world-ranked players in their 12-man team. They are led by Dustin Johnson, world number 2, and Collin Morikawa, Open champion.

Johnson and Morikawa were also among the six major American winners, alongside Jordan Spieth and Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau.

However, there was a long-standing narrative that stars of American football struggled to form bonds and gel like European counterparts. This led to defeats that did not appear to be possible on paper.

Stricker believes that it is a misperception, having been involved in all six Ryder Cups as either a player or vice captain.

He also said that the long-running rivalry between DeChambeau & Koepka was "not going to cause any problems".

Some people have wondered if their rows or spiky exchanges could undermine team spirit. However, both men dismissed the question and stated that they had enjoyed "great conversation" over dinner this past week.

Justin Thomas said that the United States team is enjoying the "brotherhood, camaraderie" of an extraordinary week

Europe includes seven of the top players from Paris, including Jon Rahm (Spanish world number one), Rory McIlroy (Norway), and Tommy Fleetwood (England).

Lee Westwood, another Englishman, makes his 11th appearance in Europe. Fellow veterans Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter, were selected by Harrington to be two of his wildcards.

Spain's Garcia is the winner of nine Ryder Cups. He has 25 points and is Europe's top points scorer. England's Poulter has been a great player in the event, and makes a seventh appearance.

Shane Lowry from Ireland, Harrington's 2019 Open champion, was the third captain's wildcard, as England's Justin Rose failed to qualify.

Lowry is among three newcomers to the team. He joins Viktor Hovland from Norway and Bernd Wiesberger from Austria, who were both the first players to represent their countries at the event.

"Europe is a strong team in terms of experience. This is very important when you're playing anaway match," Harrington said. He promised to get his first tattoo to commemorate the occasion if Europe wins, following the example of Thomas Bjorn, who did it after Paris' win.

"If there were two experienced players and one less skilled, I would expect them to be more successful in away matches." It's very comforting to know that my team is so experienced.

Lee Westwood says that the European team spirit isn't something players "have to work on". According to the Englishman, "It's just here."

What is the course like?

This part of Wisconsin's Lake Michigan coast was once a flat farmland. It became a desolate hinterland when the US Army decided to stop using it for anti-aircraft training.

The 560-acre parcel was built by Herb Kohler, a local billionaire who earned his fortune through the family's plumbing company. It was designed by Pete Dye and remodelled to fulfill Kohler's requirements of making it look like it's in Ireland.

Eight holes are located along the shoreline of Lake Michigan, covering two miles. All 18 have elevated views of Lake Michigan, which has an area nearly as large as Ireland.

The seventh - a 221-yard par three - is one of many visually-breathtaking holes on the Wisconsin coast

The lake is a source of a powerful wind, as the waves crash onto the rocks. This course's name derives from the fact that the pace picks up when the holes cling to the coast.

Although there are over 1,000 bunkers, the majority of them are cosmetic and add to the visually-daunting atmosphere for which Dye is renowned.

According to Mike O'Reilly (director of operations at Whistling Straits), "The difficulty level on the course is determined by how windy it's that day and how difficult or easy Captain Stricker wants it set up."

It's a great way to test all aspects of your game, including short, long, and reachable par fours as well as unreachable parfives.

What happens if a player is positive for Covid-19

According to Ryder Cup protocols, any player who tests positive for Covid will be "immediately outeligible" for the rest of the event.

The whole event may be at risk if more than one player tests positive.

The organizers stated that they would not speculate on exact numbers but would assess the impact of the scenario on the Ryder Cup's overall play.

Harrington, the European captain, and Stricker, his counterpart in America have made an agreement to each team carry a "Covid envelope" in the event that any of their players are positive for coronavirus.

Before Sunday's 12 singles matches, Harrington and Stricker will place the names of three players in an envelope.

To rebalance matches, if a player is forced to leave, the other team will then take the top Covid envelope player and reduce the point by half.

A similar envelope is available in case a player becomes injured and is unable to play in singles.

What format should I use?

The Ryder Cup matches players against each other in a matchplay event. This is a different format than most weeks where strokeplay events are held on the respective PGA or European Tours.

It's played over three days, with four foursomes (alternate shots) and four fourballs matches on Friday and Saturday. Then there are the 12 singles matches Sunday.

There are 28 points available over the week, with one point for each match. Europe, the Ryder Cup defending champions needs 14 points. To regain the trophy, the USA will need to win 14 points.

Steve Stricker, the captain of the home team, determined the order of play for the first two days.

Friday: Four foursomes match at 13:05 BST. There will be four fourball matches starting at 18:10.

Saturday: Four foursomes at 13:05 and four matches of fourball starting at 18:10.

Sunday 12 singles matches for all players starting at 17:04.

The official opening ceremony will be held on Thursday, before the action begins.

It will feature live music, team introductions, and anthems. The event starts at 22:00 BST (6:00 local time). A live text commentary will be available on the BBC Sport website.