This is what a Ryder Cup player’s busy daily schedule looks like

The Ryder Cup is perhaps the busiest golf week for players and their teams.

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HAVEN, Wisconsin – Most professional sporting events take place later in the day – in prime time or mid-afternoon. Golfers are among the few professional athletes who operate without the luxury of sleeping. They have to set an alarm, get out of bed early in the morning and still perform at an elite level.

This is never more true than during Ryder Cup week. It’s the bi-annual week that pro golfers aren’t in total control of their own schedule – and the only event where they regularly wake up at dawn to have time to play two rounds under pressure.

Wondering what a day in the life of a Ryder Cupper is like? On the pitch here at Whistling Straits, we spoke to a range of different coaches, players and other support staff to get a feel for what is going on hour by hour. The exact timing obviously changes depending on when you’re playing, but if you’re in training early this is what your day looks like.

4:00 am: wake up

Players participating in the morning session will wake up between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. to be ready to hit the course before the first start, which this week was at 7:05 a.m. local time.

4:15 am: Go to the gym

Shortly after waking up, the players change and head to the gym. Marnus Marais knows this firsthand. The highly respected physical trainer (who you can follow on Instagram here) works with a multitude of top players, including Dustin Johnson, Xander Sc Chaudele, Patrick Cantlay and Matt Fitzpatrick. These four players started between 7:05 am and 7:53 am on Saturday morning, creating a busy schedule as his players started playing.

“The first session is a lot of stretching, loosening up,” Marais said. “It’s all about flexibility… strength comes after breakfast. “

4:30 am: Breakfast

Once the players have laid down, it’s time to grab a quick bite. The food will be a balanced meal that is rich in protein to help them get through a long day. Think of fruit, oatmeal, and eggs. It’s a quick turnaround during Ryder Cup week, so no straying.

5h00: Return to the gym

Once the players have something in their stomachs, it’s time to head back to the gym. The first session was mainly focused on flexibility and stretching. This time it’s a quick, strength-driven routine, with an eye on stability and mobility so your body is ready to perform. We are not talking about heavy weights, but rather medicine balls, group work and bodyweight movements.

“Each player has specific exercises they do to activate specific parts of their body,” says Marais, adding that the process takes around 20 minutes. “It stimulates your muscles. “

Paul Casey warms up on the stand on Friday morning.

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5:20 am: Get dressed

With their bodies prepared and activated, it’s time to get in shape. All player clothing for the event is provided prior to the competition, with clear instructions on when to wear each outfit. Shower, shave and put on the uniform.

~ 5:40 am: Departure for the lesson

The exact start time obviously depends on how long it takes players to dress and prepare, but both teams are staying in hotels within Covid-compliant player bubbles. The American team stays at the American Club which, without traffic, is about 15 minutes from class. But you don’t want to cut it too close. The traffic was so unexpectedly bad on Friday that several players, including Xander Sc Chaudele, needed a police escort to get to the course without delay.

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~ 6h00: practice

About an hour before the tee time, players start arriving on the course and head straight for the driving range. Their coaches and caddies will be there at this point – players usually let their coaches know what time they are going to class the day before. They will start by hitting a lot of wedges and then move up into their bag.

The coaches, for their part, operate with a particularly light touch this week. Some players use ball tracking technologies like Trackman and Foresight to keep an eye on their distances, but if there’s a time to avoid tinkering with your golf swing or equipment, it’s Ryder Cup week. .

“It’s fun to be a part of it,” says Jamie Mulligan, GOLF Top 100 teacher, who also teaches Patrick Cantlay. “We try to keep it really simple.”

~ 6:40 am: Putting green

No need to get too much specific with the exact timestamps on those, as each player prefers a different balance. For the most part, they start on the field, make a quick stop at the chipping green, then spend about 20 minutes putting in before their tee time.

Again, the player coaches are already waiting for them – they have arrived early to set up a series of drills intended to help their players perform.

“It’s a big week, but our preparation isn’t changing,” said putting coach Phil Kenyon, who coaches several members of the European team, including Lee Westwood, Fitzpatrick and Tommy Fleetwood. “We are working on the start line and the routine to make the players feel mentally prepared for the day.”

7:00 am: First departure time in the morning

The first departure time is at 7:05 am local time. The fans are ramped up and ready. The players nervously make their way to the tee and enter about five minutes before the scheduled time. There will be a few of the usual pre-game niceties, but not a lot. At this point, they are in play mode.

Players who don’t play in the morning wave will usually make an appearance on the course, although they will delay gym work until the afternoon and opt for a few extra hours of sleep instead.

~ 12h00: Lunch and warm-up

Obviously, each round ends at a different time, but in 2021, the first sessions were foursomes, which meant players ran the course faster than a four-ball session. If we use Saturday’s Rahm-Garcia group against Koepka-Berger as a benchmark, they were the first group at 7:05 am and won their match on the 17th hole, almost exactly 4 and a half hours later.

All of this to say that players start to exit the course around noon, and with the first group in the afternoon free at 12:26 p.m., it’s a quick turnaround for players like Rahm, Garcia, Johnson, Hatton, Rahm, Koepka, Spieth and Hovland, who attended both sessions on Saturday.

For those who play in the afternoon, lunch will be something light – sort of a sandwich, usually – and after that, players will return to the pit for an abbreviated warm-up session. They won’t spend as much time hitting balls or putting on as they did in the morning, just enough to stay loose.

12:26 p.m .: First departure time in the afternoon

And that’s the beauty of the Ryder Cup: we have another play session, so players start to come back to the first tee. If they’re on the bench in the afternoon like Berger, Thomas, Cantlay, Westwood, Fitzpatrick, Morikawa and Casey, they’ll take as long as they want for lunch before heading back to the course. Maybe they’ll even enjoy a drink or two.

~ 6 p.m .: Media and teammates

All four balls take a little longer, so around 6 p.m. the players’ matches start to end. Typically, players do a quick TV interview after their match ends, then return to the course to watch their teammates. Some will stop by the media center for a second round of interviews and so resume the course. Others will delay shutting down the media center until all matches are over. It’s a bit messy, but honestly, the chaos is pretty fun.

7:15 p.m .: Leaving the course

With everyone off the course and media obligations fulfilled, players begin to leave to return to their respective bases before dinner.

7:30 p.m .: Team meetings and dinner

Each team will have dinner together and relax after the action of the day. The time will vary depending on the details of the above, but it will be between 45 minutes and an hour.

Wondering what’s on the menu? Something high in calories and protein.

“A steak and a veg,” Cantlay said as he exited the course on Saturday. “Probably artichokes.”

The European team are watching the action end on Friday.

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8:30 p.m .: Massages

Do you remember Marnus? It’s a long week for him too, as after dinner his players will return for a quick 20-minute massage. It is especially important after long, physically demanding days to prevent muscle soreness from occurring the next day.

“It’s not long, just a quick job to avoid aches and tension for the next morning,” he said.

9 p.m .: bedtime

At this point, players do whatever they want – maybe enjoy a quick game of ping-pong – but usually they have early nights so they can do it all again the next day.

Luke Kerr-Dineen

Golf.com contributor

Luke Kerr-Dineen is the Game Improvement Editor at GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com. In his role, he oversees all of the brand’s service journalism, covering instruction, gear, health and fitness, across all of GOLF’s multimedia platforms.

A former student of the International Junior Golf Academy and the University of South Carolina-Beaufort Golf Team, where he helped them climb to number one in the NAIA National Rankings, Luke moved to New York City in 2012 to pursue his Masters in Journalism at Columbia University. and in 2017 was appointed News Media Alliance “Rising Star”. Her work has also appeared in USA Today, Golf Digest, Newsweek, and The Daily Beast.

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