The U.S. Ryder Cup team has planned a scouting trip to Whistling Straits this weekend, and U.S. captain Steve Stricker confirmed Wednesday that there will be full participation.
American assistant captain Davis Love III broke the news, telling Golfweek’s Adam Schupak that Stricker will host as many as 10 players for a two-day practice session on Sunday-Monday at this month’s Ryder Cup host venue, less than two weeks before the official matches begin. Stricker raised that RSVP list after announcing his captain's picks.
"From what I understand, all the players and all the caddies will be here," Stricker said.
The purpose of the trip is to familiarize the American team members with the layout, which hosted PGA Championships in 2004, 2010 and 2015. While some U.S. players, including Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and captain’s pick Jordan Spieth, have played Whistling Straits, the majority of the team, notably Collin Morikawa and Bryson DeChambeau, have not.
"My message from Day 1 has been to try and out-prepare the other team, the European team, and for me it’s been that way throughout my career, just trying to prepare the best as I can going into events," Stricker said. "So, let’s get in as much practice as we can here, maybe take a little bit of the stress of Ryder Cup week off our plates by getting our work done now, earlier than Ryder Cup week, and get some rest that week."
The 2018 course, Le Golf National in Paris, hosted an annual European Tour stop. The home-course advantage played a role in Europe's seven-point victory.
“They had us over a barrel in Paris because we didn’t have enough practice rounds at [Le Golf National],” Love said. “The other team knew the golf course way better. … We’re going to focus on breaking down the course over the next couple of weeks until we get there. It’s important for us to gather local knowledge and pass it on to the guys that don’t have the intimate knowledge as guys like DJ.”
Stricker, who added that they will work on potential pairings this weekend, said he believes this type of gathering is unprecedented in terms of numbers of players participating. Past captains have organized scouting missions, but none this large or this close to the matches.
The PGA Tour has a bye week this weekend before the new season starts the following week in Napa, California. Koepka, an automatic qualifier, withdrew from the Tour Championship on Saturday after injuring his left wrist, so it's unclear how much golf he'll play during the preview.