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How to watch the 2021 Ryder Cup

Ryder Cup Jordan Spieth
Jordan Spieth at the 2018 Ryder Cup (Image credit: Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

It’s a year delayed, but the Ryder Cup is back this week, Sept. 23-26. Intended to be played in 2020 but pushed back a year because of the pandemic, the matchplay tournament will see some of the best golfers in the world representing Team USA and Team Europe as they battle it out in the 43rd edition of the event, once again taking place on U.S. soil.

The Ryder Cup was first played in 1927 and has continued biennially, alternating locations every year between the U.S. and Europe. The most recent tournament took place in 2018 at Le Golf National outside of Paris, with Team Europe winning by a score of 17.5 to 10.5. The U.S. will look to reclaim the cup on U.S. soil. The U.S. has the lead in overall Ryder Cup wins, 26-16.

The 2021 Ryder Cup will consist of three days of golf action, taking place from Friday, Sept. 24, to Sunday, Sept. 26, at the Whistling Straits Golf Course in Kohler, Wis. The action will air on the Golf Channel, NBC and Peacock. Here is what you need to know about the 2021 Ryder Cup.

What is the Ryder Cup format?

2021 Ryder Cup TV Schedule

(All times Eastern)

Friday, Sept. 24
8 a.m.-7 p.m., Golf Channel/Peacock

Saturday, Sept. 25
8-9 a.m., Golf Channel/Peacock
9 a.m.-7 p.m., NBC/Peacock

Sunday, Sept. 26
Noon-6 p.m., NBC/Peacock

The Ryder Cup is a matchplay tournament between Team USA and Team Europe. Twelve players comprise each team, with a non-playing captain making decisions on pairings and order.

In matchplay, the goal is to win more holes than your opponent. Best score wins, no matter what that is; if the two teams have the same score, the hole is halved. The first team to win a hole would go one up, with that score increasing with every hole they win, unless the other team wins a hole, in which case their score would decrease by one. The match continues until it is mathematically impossible for the trailing team to overtake the leading team with the number of holes remaining; the match can end in an all-square draw after 18 holes.

While golf is normally played as an individual sport, the Ryder Cup turns it into a team game. On each of the first two days of the tournament, the competition features four matches of alternating shot and best ball format in the morning and afternoon. Alternating shot requires each player to alternate shots until they get into the hole, while best ball sees all players play their own ball. Then on Sunday, the players are put into one-vs-one pairings where they play traditional style matchplay golf.

Each match is worth one point, with a winning team earning the whole point and a draw earning a half point for both teams. There will be 28 points available during the Ryder Cup. Team USA will need 14.5 points to reclaim the Ryder Cup, while Team Europe just needs 14 to keep the cup.

Who is playing in the 2021 Ryder Cup?

Here are the players representing Team USA and Team Europe in this year’s Ryder Cup:

Team USA

  • Daniel Berger
  • Patrick Cantlay 
  • Bryson Dechambeau 
  • Harris English 
  • Tony Finau 
  • Dustin Johnson 
  • Brooks Koepka 
  • Collin Morikawa 
  • Xander Schauffele 
  • Scottie Scheffler 
  • Jordan Spieth 
  • Justin Thomas 
  • Captain: Steve Stricker 
  • Vice Captains: Fred Couples, Jim Furyk, Zach Johnson, Davis Love III, Phil Mickelson 

Team Europe 

  • Paul Casey
  • Matt Fitzpatrick 
  • Tommy Fleetwood 
  • Sergio Garcia 
  • Tyrrell Hatton 
  • Viktor Hovland 
  • Shane Lowry 
  • Rory McIlroy 
  • Ian Poulter 
  • Jon Rahm 
  • Bernd Wiesberger 
  • Lee Westwood 
  • Captain: Padraig Harrington 
  • Vice Captains: Luke Donald, Robert Karlsson, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell, Henrik Stenson 

Where is the 2021 Ryder Cup being played?

The 2021 Ryder Cup is being held at the Whistling Straits Golf Course in Kohler, Wis. Designed by Pete Dye, the Ryder Cup website describes Whistling Straits as an “open, rugged and windswept terrain” envisioned as more of a link-style course along a two-mile stretch of Lake Michigan. It is widely considered one of the best golf courses in America.

A par 71 that plays 7,390 yards, Whistling Straits has hosted three PGA Championships (2004, 2010, 2015) and a U.S. Senior Open (2007). The 2021 Ryder Cup will be the first time Whistling Straits has hosted the matchplay event.

How to watch the 2021 Ryder Cup in the U.S.

Coverage of the 2021 Ryder Cup begins with the opening ceremony on Thursday, Sept. 23, airing on The Golf Channel from 5-8 p.m. ET. The rest of the playing schedule is shared in the pop-out box above, with tournament action being broadcast on The Golf Channel and NBC, and streamed on Peacock.

NBC is one of the four major networks that have a local station in essentially every TV market across the U.S. As a result, it is carried by every traditional cable/satellite TV provider, as well as being accessible for consumers utilizing a TV antenna. Check your local listings to confirm what channel is NBC. The peacock network is also available on all of the major live TV streaming services, Fubo TV, Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV and YouTube TV.  

The Golf Channel, meanwhile, is a premium cable channel. While it is offered by many traditional pay-TV providers, be sure to check to see if the subscription you have or plan to sign up for includes it. As for the live TV streaming services, it is also on Fubo TV, Hulu with live TV, Sling TV (Sling Orange) and YouTube TV.

Live streams of all the Ryder Cup action will also be available via Peacock, NBCUniversal’s own streaming service. While there is a free version of Peacock, if you want to watch the Ryder Cup (or any live sport) you will need to be signed up for either the $4.99 ad-supported or $9.99 ad-free versions of Peacock Premium

How to watch the 2021 Ryder Cup in the U.K.

Sky Sports will carry live coverage of all three days of the Ryder Cup on its dedicated golf channel. If you are not a Sky Sports subscriber but want to tune in, you can purchase a NOW Pass for £10 for a single day or £34 for a month; it will provide you with access to all 11 Sky Sports channels.

In addition to Sky Sports live coverage, BBC will have two-hour highlights of each day on BBC Two starting around midnight BST.

How to watch the 2021 Ryder Cup from anywhere

Whether you’re rooting for Team USA or Team Europe from someplace where the above options aren’t available, or you’re just a golf fan anywhere in the world, you can still watch coverage of the 2021 Ryder Cup by using a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN is designed to route network traffic through a specific set of servers in a specific country, allowing viewers to watch content on an encrypted feed over a computer. 

ExpressVPN is one of the easiest and affordable ways to watch what you want from anywhere you want to watch it. Plus it'll help keep your network traffic away from any prying eyes on public networks.

And it's a great way to keep up with action from anywhere in the world.View Deal

When is the next Ryder Cup?

Prior to the pandemic, the Ryder Cup would take place on even-numbered years. But with the delay of the 2020 holding of the event, the Ryder Cup will now take place on odd-numbered years. That means that the 44th iteration of the Ryder Cup will be held in 2023.

We also know that the 2023 Ryder Cup will take place in Italy, at Rome's Marco Simone Golf & Country Club. What we don't know yet is if Team USA or Team Europe will be the defending champs when we get there.

Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a D.C.-based entertainment writer and content producer for What to Watch. He previously has written for TV Technology and Awards Circuit.