When lone fighters have to show team spirit: Golf star Bernd Wiesberger challenges the USA with Team Europe, the tennis elite fights for the Laver Cup.
Bernd Wiesberger fights for the Ryder Cup
The twelve best golfers in Europe against those from the USA – the 43rd Ryder Cup (live Sky Sport) starts in the US state of Wisconsin on Friday. It is considered the mother of all continental comparisons in sport and was held for the first time in 1927. Named after a British seed dealer, the competition is one of the most prestigious in world sport.
The Laver Cup in tennis is 90 years younger. Co-initiator Roger Federer took the Ryder Cup as a model, and the fourth edition will also take place in Boston on Friday (live Eurosport). What are the two formats? What are the similarities, what are the differences?
Wiesberger is happy
From a domestic point of view, the most important difference this year: While tennis ace Dominic Thiem had to watch the Laver Cup injured, Bernd Wiesberger was the first time an Austrian made it into Team Europe. “If you don't shake your knees at the debut, you're dead,” said seven-time participant José María Olazábal (ESP) once. The 35-year-old from Burgenland can hardly wait: “Of course I'll try to get as many points as possible for the European team.” And in the best case scenario, to fly home with the trophy again. Europe is defending champion, but is considered an outsider. The US team has eight players from the top 10 in the world rankings.
Federer & Co. are missing
Different in tennis. Although the three biggest names in Boston with Djokovic, Nadal and Federer are missing, the sextet from Europe, led by Medvedev, Tsitsipas and Zverev, is the clear favorite. The fact that it is not “only” against the USA as in the Gulf, but against the rest of the world does not change that. Europe has won all three editions so far. Nine singles and three doubles are played, with the value of a win increasing with each passing day.
Wiesberger and his colleagues tee off on the Whistling Straits Golf Course in Kohler (named after a family from the Bregenz Forest). On the first two days, four doubles each are played in foursome and fourball mode, followed by twelve singles on the final day. In fourball, both golfers play their own ball in a team of two, the better score counts per hole. In the foursome, the players in a team of two take turns hitting the same ball.
Alexander Zverev is one of the stars in Europe's Laver Cup team
800 million viewers
It is lined up by the captains Pádraig Harrington (Europe) and Steve Stricker (USA). Also at the Laver Cup, famous ex-professionals try to form individual athletes into a team: Björn Borg for Europe, John McEnroe for Team World. There is a huge difference in terms of prize money. While not a cent is distributed at the Ryder Cup, at the Laver Cup each member of the winning team receives $ 250,000 – plus a generous entry fee depending on their world ranking position.
Up to 800 million people worldwide will watch the Ryder Cup on television, making it one of the five largest sports events in the world. The tennis aces can't (yet) keep up. Nor with the fact that for some golf stars, taking part in the prestigious team competition is tantamount to winning a major.