Sept. 22-28, 2025 Bethpage Black Course, Farmingdale, NY

Main Characters

Luke Donald, Zach Johnson, U.S. Team, Team Europe


We land squarely in Frisco, Texas and the home of the PGA of America with Zach Johnson making the calls to his captain’s picks – the picked and the not picked.

First up is Jordan Spieth, who doesn’t answer. Brooks Koepka, the winner of the PGA Championship earlier that summer, is in. Spieth picks up on the second call, and, in a needed moment of levity, says he was changing a diaper earlier. Rickie Fowler gets the call and gets choked up. He’s in, too.

Then it’s Keegan Bradley’s turn. Johnson admits he wishes he could bring “30 guys” with him to Rome, but it just wasn’t the case. The team has decided to go in a different direction. Bradley was devastated but wishes Johnson the best of luck.

“For us, you realize how much influence the Ryder Cup has on the European and American players,” says Warren Smith, one of the executive producers of Full Swing. “The year of the Ryder Cup, they’re all thinking about how they could get into that top six, and if they’re not, how they’re going to make sure they get picked.

“It became a big narrative, and even the guys who didn’t get there, like Keegan, it’s one of the best moments of both (seasons) in terms of being there and realizing he wasn’t going to make it in. That wasn’t acting or re-enactment. That was the call.”

Johnson then calls Justin Thomas, who says he knows he didn’t make it easy on the captain, but he earned a spot as well.

“It’s time to get to work and bring that cup home,” Johnson tells Thomas.

So, the American team is set, with the top six of Scottie Scheffler, Wyndham Clark, Brian Harman, Patrick Cantlay, Max Homa, and Xander Schauffele joined by Koepka, Spieth, Morikawa, Burns, Fowler, and Thomas.

Chad Mumm, another executive producer on the show, says unlike with other weeks, the Ryder Cup has provided them with some actually content-planning opportunities – like those captain-selection phone calls.

“When Zach made his captain’s picks we knew those calls were going out. We knew that we were going to have cameras there with Keegan, Rickie, and (Justin Thomas) in order to get that moment. That was one of the first times we could plan ahead. And it wasn’t performance oriented,” Mumm says. “They’re going to take a phone call and it’s either the best moment of this person’s year or the worst moment of the person’s year and we could make sure we could capture it on the show.”

We then pivot focus to the European side, led by Luke Donald. Donald was a former world No.1-ranked golfer and multi-time Ryder Cup winner, but unlike his American counterpart, Donald was never a major champion – and he was brought on to lead the European squad due to extenuating circumstances.

“There was no way I was going to say ‘no,’” Donald states.

The European side has a tall ask for 2023, however, after a 19-9 drumming at Whistling Straits by the powerhouse Americans. Now Donald has some top-heavy team members – Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, and Viktor Hovland are three of the top-four ranked golfers in the world – but a mixed-bag of contenders for his six captain’s picks.

“It’s as big a challenge I’ve had in my golf career,” he says.

In the end, Donald picks Tommy Fleetwood (whose played two Ryder Cups before), rookies Sepp Straka (two-time PGA Tour winner), Nicolai Højgaard (three-time DP World Tour winner), and Ludvig Aberg (a superstar-in-waiting), along with major champions Shane Lowry and Justin Rose.

Rose is the veteran of the bunch. At 43, he’s the oldest participant from either side (and is just three years younger than Donald, the captain). There’s plenty of focus on Rose and his family (he gets the call when playing soccer with his son), as he’s never earned a pick to join the Ryder Cup before, but Donald says he needed the extra experience in the team room.

The teams are complete and arrive in Rome as Ryder Cup week is finally here. Of course, there is plenty of pomp and circumstance around the beginning of the week as both teams get dressed to the nines for the opening ceremony and pre-match galas. Dianne Donald, captain Luke Donald’s wife, says she’s trying to get the team to feel like family as quick as possible.

The teams begin their on-course efforts, too, and McIlroy provides some sage advice to Højgaard who is overthinking his practice sessions. You don’t need to prove anything, McIlroy tells the rookie, because you’re already on the team.

Friday morning rolls around and the Ryder Cup has begun – and there’s nothing quite like it.

“Bob MacIntyre says he felt like throwing up,” Donald explains with a smile.

Fortunately for Team Europe, there was no need to feel ill – the team goes undefeated in the morning. It was the first time in Ryder Cup history the European side had a 4-0 lead after the first session.

Can the Americans mount an epic comeback? Or will Team Europe roll to a victory? All the questions will be answered in the season finale.

“You’ll soon see why,” Johnson says at one point, “there’s nothing like the Ryder Cup.”

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