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Staff picks for the 2023 Ryder Cup at Marco Simone in Rome

The 2023 Ryder Cup is set to get underway Friday morning at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome — the first match will go off at 1:35 a.m. ET — and both teams are in full preparation mode.

The Zach Johnson-led Americans are looking to win on foreign soil for the first time in 30 years while the Luke Donald-led Europeans are hoping to put up a bigger fight than they did at Whistling Straits two years ago when the blue and yellow got thumped, 19-9.

For one of the biggest events in golf, the staff at Golfweek has decided to make predictions on who will be hoisting the Cup come Sunday afternoon.

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Tim Schmitt, Managing Editor

2023 Ryder Cup
Team Europe golfer Justin Rose hits his tee shot on the third hole during a practice round of the Ryder Cup golf competition at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Score prediction: Team Europe, 15½ – 12½

Odds: Team Europe to win by 1-3 points (+350); Team Europe to win (+100)

A few weeks ago I was sitting with Lanny Wadkins, whose 18 total overall match victories are the most by any living player on the U.S. side, when he said something that stuck with me:

“When we come play Ryder Cups here, we play the best venues. We go to Whistling Straits, we go to Bethpage Black,” Wadkins said. “In 1977, we went to Lytham & St Annes. We’ve never played another great venue over there since, and it’s disappointing that we haven’t. I think they do that because they know we know those great venues from playing Open Championships, but we never get to go play the others.”

Damn Euros. Hiding their courses in plain sight.

But Lanny has a point. Familiarity certainly helps and in a competition as emotional as the Ryder Cup, that home cookin’ will prove the difference between two evenly matched sides.

Adam Schupak, Senior Writer

Team USA golfer Jordan Spieth tees off on the third hole during a practice day for the Ryder Cup golf competition at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Adam Cairns-USA TODAY Sports
Team USA golfer Jordan Spieth tees off on the third hole during a practice day for the Ryder Cup golf competition at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Adam Cairns-USA TODAY Sports

Score prediction: Team USA, 15 – 13

Odds: Team USA to win by 1-3 points (+340); Team USA to win (+105)

Jordan Spieth was in diapers the last time the U.S. won on European soil but come Sunday he will be sipping champagne and Xander Schauffele will be smoking a victory cigar.

This Cup will be closer than the last bunch but the U.S. team is deep from world No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, who sought out a new putting coach to fix his Achilles Heel, to the pairings of Xander-Pat and JT-Jordan, a healthy Brooks Koepka and a rookie like Brian Harman who won’t be afraid of 50,000 fans rooting against him. The Euros have some formidable players, home course and the crowd on their said but even Rory McIlroy has admitted this is a transitional year for Team Europe. This is America’s chance to pounce and behind the leadership of Zach Johnson they are ready to do so. U.S. retains the Cup 15-13.

Todd Kelly, Assistant Managing Editor

2023 Ryder Cup
Team Europe golfer Jon Rahm hits his tee shot on the third hole during a practice round of the Ryder Cup golf competition at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Score prediction: Team Europe, 14½ – 13½

Odds: Team Europe to win by 1-3 points (+350); Team Europe to win (+100)

Sometimes it’s easy to overanalyze a matchup. Other times, everything boils down to one or two things. That’s why it’s an easy call to pick the European side to win the 2023 Ryder Cup, because it all comes down to home-field advantage. It’s been well documented that the Americans haven’t won on foreign soil in this biennial duel since 1993. While both teams took scouting trips to Rome ahead of this year’s competition, recent history nonetheless favors the home team.

The U.S. team on paper seems to be the superior one. Its average world ranking is 13 compared to 29 for the Euros. But, the top 13 players in the Official World Golf Ranking are basically a push: seven Americans, six Europeans. Beyond the history and the numbers, though, are intangibles, and those just seem to go against the Americans in this event when it’s in Europe. There will be no carrying the momentum from Whistling Straits to Marco Simone. It’ll be close but the Europeans will win 14 ½ to 13 ½.

Adam Woodard, Staff Writer

2023 Ryder Cup
Team Europe golfer Rory McIlroy hits his shot from the rough on the second fairway during a practice round of the Ryder Cup golf competition at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Score prediction: Team Europe, 15½–12½

Odds: Team Europe to win by 1-3 points (+350); Team Europe to win (+100)

Having just seen first hand what homefield advantage can do for a side at the Solheim Cup, I’ve got a hard time picking against the Europeans. While some of the pairings will be the same, this is not the U.S. team that won in 2021 and they’ll face a considerably different test in Italy compared to Wisconsin.

The teams are so evenly matched, with the back-end of Team USA holding a slight advantage compared to Nos. 10-12 on the Team Europe. That said, with the Ryder Cup in Italy for the first time, local fans will show up (just like the Spaniard’s did for the women) and make the difference. The most talent doesn’t always win, and that’ll bear true again this year.

Riley Hamel, Staff Writer

2023 Ryder Cup
US golfer, Justin Thomas (L) and US golfer, Jordan Spieth (R) leave the 16th tee during practice ahead of the 44th Ryder Cup at the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome on September 26, 2023. (Photo by Paul Ellis / AFP)

Score prediction: Team USA, 15½ – 12½

Odds: Team USA to win by 1-3 points (+340); Team USA to win (+105)

This isn’t going to be Whistling Straits 2.0. The European team is revamped, shedding the old weight of Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood and replacing them with young studs including Ludvig Aberg. Still, the Americans have six of the top-10 players in the world and seem to have at least two pairings they’ll ride for all four sessions (Schauffele/Cantlay and Spieth/Thomas).

For the first time since 1993, Team USA will hoist the Cup across the pond.

Cameron Jourdan, Staff Writer

2023 Ryder Cup
Team Europe golfer Ludvig Aberg hits his tee shot on the third hole during a practice round of the Ryder Cup golf competition at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Score prediction: Team USA, 15 – 13

Odds: Team Europe to win by 1-3 points (+350); Team Europe to win (+100)

So, here’s the deal. Until the Americans go to Europe and prove they can win on foreign soil, I refuse to pick them. On paper, the U.S. has a better team with more experience on the big stage. Although the European stars have been showing better form in recent months, the Americans are deeper and more experienced. However, none of that matters when it comes to the Ryder Cup, as has been proven time and time and time again. This seems like a time when a Ludvig Aberg or Robert MacIntyre, one of the young guns for the Euros, step up and become a headache for the Americans for a long time, and Marco Simone will be their breaking out party.

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek