Every other year, the Ryder Cup comes around to extend the golf season with an event truly unlike any other. National pride and top-tier golf converge this week in Paris at the 2018 Ryder Cup as the United States and Europe go head-to-head over three days to determine who is fielding the best golfers in the sport.
The American side is absolutely loaded with every one of its golfers ranked among the top 25 in the Official World Golf Rankings. The Europeans, meanwhile, have eight golfers meeting that same criteria and five fresh-faced rookies steeping into the pressure chamber this week. Tiger Woods is looking to ride his Tour Championship win into some additional momentum for the U.S., while $10 million man Justin Rose — coming out of his FedEx Cup victory — looks to hoist Europe on his back at Le Golf National Paris.
But enough talk. What you came here for is to find out who will win the Ryder Cup and what we here at CBS Sports believe will happen this week in France. So let’s get to it.
Who will win the Ryder Cup?
Kyle Porter, golf writer — United States (17-11): I legitimately almost picked Europe here. I even wrote out an entire paragraph trying to talk myself into it. In the end, though, this U.S. team is absolutely , and talent almost wins the day at these events. It could go badly, of course, and there are plenty of ways for that to happen, but the U.S. can spread its responsibility around among so many superstars whereas Europe has to rely on two or three guys. I like a repeat score of 2016 in a tournament that never really seems that close.
Chip Patterson, writer — United States (14.5-13.5): The strength of this group makes pairing them great for conversation among fans but a tough challenge for Jim Furyk. It seems like the kind of year where one of the storylines will be second-guessing the decision making with the team play, where I think Europe will be able to pick up some valuable points. Ultimately, I think that strength shows up in singles and the United States is able to escape with a narrow victory.
Adam Silverstein, editor — United States (16.5-11.5): Shades of 2004-06 here as it feels to me like the Americans are so far beyond the Europeans from a total team talent perspective that it will never ultimately be that close. That aforementioned stretch saw Europe dominate the U.S. 18.5-9.5 in consecutive Ryder Cups. The gap isn’t as large for the Americans now as it was then for the Europeans, but I’m only going to give the hosts one point for home-course advantage. The U.S. rolls.
U.S. team MVP
Porter — Justin Thomas: I think he’s going to crush in this spot. He was awesome at the Presidents Cup, and he’s the type of player that will both love playing in front of the home crowd (2020 and beyond) and silencing folks in foreign countries. He’ll replace Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed as the big dog newcomer in his first Ryder Cup.
Patterson — Webb Simpson: The recent play of much of the American team has been a talking point of concern heading into the week, but that does not apply to Webb. After winning The Players in May, Simpson continued his run of great play and elite putting on through the season, finishing with a T-6 at the BMW Championship and a T-4 at the Tour Championship. He might be needed to carry a team or win a match on Sunday, and if so I think he’s in a spot to rise to that challenge.
Silverstein — Patrick Reed: Did we somehow forget what happened two years ago when Reed beasted to a 3-0-1 mark at Hazeltine? He’s just a different guy on this stage, and it’s not like he’s been a slouch as of late. Reed as three top-five finishes in his last five majors but has been a bit quiet over the last few events. Why? He has visions of bald eagles and red, white and blue flags dancing in his mind. Truth be told, I really wanted to pick Tiger Woods for this spot, but I’ll pick the man who I expect to be his playing partner for at least some portion of the Ryder Cup instead. Please, please let me see Reed vs. Rory McIlroy again.
Europe team MVP
Porter — Tommy Fleetwood: It’s going to be downright righteous what Tommy Lad is going to do to whichever Americans get slotted against him. I’m excited about it and here for it. A Fleetwood-Rory McIlroy duo would make me weak in the knees and might play a foursomes match in something like 8 under. I think he wins at least 2.5 points.
Patterson — Justin Rose: There’s no way Justin Rose is going to all of the sudden lose the finest form of his career, in Europe, at the site of the French Open. Rose has been in too many Ryder Cups to have a great feel for the stakes of every turn in the event, when to hit the gas and how to manage each match. I think he goes 2-1-1 with a win or wash in singles.
Silverstein — Rory McIlroy: It took him a little while — and some needling from Reed — to light a fire under his ass back in 2016, but McIlroy’s primal, full-throated yells and celebrations told me all I needed to know about the straw that stirs the drink for the European team. He obviously has the ability to win any heads-up match he’s in, and though he fell short of the Tour Championship, he’s also been hot as of late. I’ll ride McIlroy over the rookie and the dude who just pocketed a cool $10 million. He’s hungry.