The 42nd Ryder Cup gets under way on Friday, September 28th, and will see Europe take on the USA in France for the first time. The visitors are defending the title they won in Hazeltine, US, two years ago, and are looking for a first win on European soil since 1993.
Here is all you need to know about this year’s instalment of the biennial contest.
When is it on?
The competition will be played over the three days of Friday, September 28th, Saturday, September 29th, and Sunday, September 30th.
And what format does it take?
This year European captain Thomas Bjorn has opted to start with the four fourball matches on each of the first two mornings, followed by the four foursomes matches in the afternoon. Sunday will see 12 singles matches take place to decide the winner.
The winner of each match gets a point, with half points for drawn games and a total of 28 points up for grabs. As the defending champions the US need just 14 points to retain the trophy, while Europe need 14 and a half to win it back.
What time will the matches take place?
The first tee time on Friday and Saturday morning will be 7.10am (Irish time) with the following fourball matches starting at 7.25am, 7.40am and 7.55am.
After the two captain's named their first pairings at the opening ceremony on Thursday afternoon we know who will face off in the morning.
7.10am: Brooks Koepka/Tony Finau v Justin Rose/Jon Rahm
7.25am: Dustin Johnson/Rickie Fowler v Rory McIlroy/Thorbjorn Olesen
7.40am: Jordan Spieth/Justin Thomas v Paul Casey/Tyrrell Hatton
7.55am: Patrick Reed/Tiger Woods v Francesco Molinari/Tommy Fleetwood
In the afternoon the foursomes will start at 12.50pm (Irish time), 1.05pm, 1.20pm and 1.35pm. All going well play should be wrapped up by 6.30pm at the latest each of the first two days.
On Sunday the 12 singles matches will go off at the following times: 11.05am (Irish time), 11.17am, 11.29am, 11.41am, 11.53am, 12.05pm, 12.17pm, 12.29pm, 12.41pm, 12.53pm, 1.05pm and 1.17pm.
The trophy presentation will take place between 5.45pm and 6pm.
So where can I follow it all?
Sky Sports have exclusive television rights to the Ryder Cup in the UK and Ireland, with coverage starting on its dedicated Sky Sports Ryder Cup channel at 6.30am the first two days and 9.30am on Sunday.
Alternatively, you can follow every point, every thrill and every spill on our liveblog on www.irishtimes.com/sport which will kick off at 7.0am Friday and Saturday and 10.0am on Sunday.
Who makes up the two teams and is there any Irish interest?
Rory McIlroy is the lone Irish player on the European team, and he will carry quite the target on his back after his performance at Hazeltine. Pádraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell make up two of Thomas Bjorn's vice-captain's alongside Robert Karlsson, Lee Westwood and Luke Donald.
The European team will contain five rookies – one less than the 2016 event – while McIlroy will become the first player in golfing history to win four Majors and play in five Ryder Cups before the age of 30.
The European team is: McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton, Alex Noren, Thorbjorn Olesen, Jon Rahm, Justin Rose, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey (captain's pick), Sergio Garcia (captain's pick), Ian Poulter (captain's pick), Henrik Stenson (captain's pick).
On Jim Furyk's US team there are just three rookies – Bryson DeChambeau, Tony Finau and the 2017 US PGA champion and former world number one Justin Thomas. Not quite the rookie you'd expect but a rookie nonetheless. Those three are supplemented by buckets of Ryder Cup experience including one Tiger Woods who plays for the first time since 2012, as well as Phil Mickelson who will play for a record-breaking 12th time, having played every Ryder Cup since 1995.
Furyk's vice-captains will be David Duval, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Davis Love III and Steve Stricker.
The US team is: Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Patrick Reed, Webb Simpson, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Bubba Watson, Tiger Woods (captain's pick), Phil Michelson (captain's pick), Bryson Dechambeau (captain's pick), Tony Finau (captain's pick).
Where is it being played?
This year the competition moves to continental Europe for the first time since it was held at Valderrama, Spain, in 1997. Le Golf National near Paris is the host of the French Open each year, and traditionally plays as a tough course with plenty of water and long rough. The Albatros course is a stadium course built for events like the Ryder Cup and it is a 7,331-yard Par 72.
And have Europe made many changes to the course to give them an advantage?
Already the reports are of the traditional European changes with the rough grown up and brought in to make the fairways tighter – thus restricting the advantage of the American big-hitters – while the greens are running at the usual pace of a European Tour event which is quite a bit slower than they are on the PGA Tour.
What are the odds?
USA are favourites to win at 4-5, with Europe at 11-8. The draw is 10-1.
So who is going to lift the trophy?
This looks like one of the hardest Ryder Cups to call in years. The Americans certainly have more firepower in their side, but if the course is set up with tight fairways it should nullify that somewhat. Winning away from home is traditionally extremely tough in the Ryder Cup, but there is no doubt that this is the US team’s best chance of doing so since 1993. Whatever happens it will be very close, but Europe to win 16-12 is this reporter’s prediction.