Full Swing Season Two: No hole-in-one, but enough birdies for the Netflix sequel to draw in new fans

New and returning faces tee it up in round two of Netflix’s inside-the-ropes docuseries Full Swing, following another year of turbulence on the PGA Tour.

Full Swing Season 2: Episode-by-Episode

*This review contains spoilers.

A little over a year on from Full Swing’s debut season, golf’s all-access answer to F1’s Drive To Survive has landed with another eight 45-minute episodes following the game’s biggest stars as they swing their way through an increasingly fractured landscape.

The jury is still out as to whether Season 1 attracted an entirely new audience to the sport, but there is no mistaking that the essential ingredients of high drama, controversy, and emotional twists were all there. It just needed an extra pinch of spice.

It’s a tweak that shouldn’t be too difficult to make either with golf’s enviable ready-made script, stacked with a diverse range of characters and unmistakable talent, torn by the cost of loyalty. Almost everyone appears to have a number in a sport defined by them.

This political jeopardy is an absolute ‘gimmie’ for Netflix with Season 2 diving straight into golf’s civil war, re-ignited with even more vigor after news breaks of a previously unthinkable merger between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf.

They say sport and politics shouldn’t mix, but when it comes to entertainment, the more the merrier, please.

And if you can stab one of the key protagonists in the back at the start of the season, surely you’re off to a Ror(y)ing start.

Another free hit in 2023 for producers Vox Media Studios and Box to Box Films was the gift of golf’s greatest event to bookend the season – The Ryder Cup.

Scotland's Bob MacIntyre won two-and-a-half-points on his Ryder Cup debut.

The final stretch of episodes centers around the gladiatorial battle in Rome, and while unrestricted locker-room access was off the cards, it provides a fitting crescendo to the series that should satisfy both casual and die-hard golf fans.

Whether the story-telling manages to keep pace throughout the central chapters of Full Swing Season 2 is up for debate and will be the acid test for audiences in judging if the sequel has knocked a shot off its Season 1 handicap.

Its inaugural series performed more than respectably. Full Swing peaked at No.2 in Nexflix’s charts for both US and UK audiences, racking up 53 million hours of watch time over its first five months and proving a significantly bigger hit than tennis’ equivalent Break Point series.

Whether these figures convert to fresh eyeballs on the PGA Tour remains to be seen, however, but incremental improvements to the story-telling and cinematography can only help. As will the candidness and bite offered by the stars it chooses to follow.

It’s of little surprise therefore that self-deprecating bucket-hat hero, Joel Dahmen returns. This time for an uncomfortably gripping watch as he struggles to adjust to his new-found fame, ironically stemming from his heartwarming appearance last season.

Joel Dahmen once again steals the show in Season 2, whether he likes it or not.

Vulnerability and dealing with adversity is once again a theme that lands well for Full Swing, humanizing the players in what is undoubtedly the most compelling TV of the series.

We see Rory at his most vulnerable, lost in the locker room after losing faith in his swing, Rickie Fowler admitting he’s not good at expressing his feelings, and the gut-wrenching moment Keegan Bradley is confronted with the news that he’s missed out on a captain’s pick for the Ryder Cup.

These are the birdie moments that make Full Swing that much fuller.

Fresh faces in Wyndham Clark, Tom Kim, Justin Rose, and Alex Fitzpatrick all make the cast in Season Two, along with Ryder Cup captains Luke Donald and Zach Johnson.

Tom Kim is given the reins in an amusing fourth episode, which arguably lacks the depth of the more wholesome content elsewhere in the series, likely because the 2022 Presidents Cup star is yet to experience any notable adversity in what’s such an early stage in his career.

Golfer Tom Kim at Tottenham Hotspur's stadium.

For some, these mid-series storylines, which also feature an interesting dive into the Fitzpatrick brother dynamic, may feel forced in places and kill the momentum earned from an explosive start with the merger bombshell.

It’s somewhat unavoidable in fairness to the producers though. Unlike F1, golf’s whole paddock can’t be covered neatly in one series. It doesn’t even LIV in one paddock anymore!

Cherry-picking personalities will inevitably be hit-and-miss with the calculated trial-and-error approach needed to keep it fresh. It’s for this reason that Full Swing needs to be afforded a couple of mulligans.

After all, it’s certainly not through a lack of trying.

“We shot over 700 hours of original footage and brought in almost 6,000 hours of archive to make this series,” revealed Full Swing’s producer, Chad Mumm.

Netflix Full Swing Season 2 Premiere

Season two has done enough to get the series over the cut line, but a third season, believed to be in production, has to be a ‘moving day’ and charge up the leaderboard with a pace that continues to build from the off.

There’s enough that’s working, it’s now a case of cutting out the duff shots and throwing caution to the wind. After all, the real-life script has it all!

Today’s Golfer verdict | Season 1: 72 (E) | Season 2: 70 (-2)

To watch Full Swing Season 2 you’ll need a Netflix subscription, starting from just £4.99/$6.99 per month, and can be canceled at any time.

Full Swing Season Two Review: Episode-by-Episode

Ep.1: The Game Has Changed – Part 1

Season two begins exactly where he left season one… with Rory McIlroy battling the LIV rebels while trying to end his Major drought.

“Yeah, it’s been quite the year in the world of professional golf,” the Northern Irishman laughs as we cut to him from a montage of the highs and lows of 2022.

It’s not all drama… the episode gives us glimpses of the stars who will feature throughout and starts with Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler firing balls at a portable toilet at the Phoenix Open as Adam Hadwin attempts to, ahem, lighten himself. “I hope you feel like shit… no pun intended,” the Canadian tells the giggling Americans as he finally exits.

It’s a testament to producer Chad Mumm and his team that they manage to balance the light and shade so well – Justin Thomas toasting Mito Pereira – the man who collapsed to hand the American his second Major – at his PGA Championship dinner is another moment of light relief. Unfortunately for McIlroy, as the unelected players’ leader on the PGA Tour, the balancing act is far tougher.

Rory McIlroy admits he's been too judgmental of LIV Golf and now accepts it.

“With leadership comes sacrifice and my day has been filled up with stuff,” he tells the cameras. “Phone calls, emails, updates. I feel like I’ve had a ton of balls in the air this year, juggling, and demanding my time and it’s just a matter of trying to balance it and not lose sight of what’s really important, which is trying to stay the best player in the world.”

Perhaps it’s because this show is something of a positive spin campaign for the ‘good guys’, but there are some digs at the Saudi-backed Tour that the PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan himself could have directed.

“If you have your finger on the pulse of golf, it’s pretty apparent that one side has quite a lot more support than the other,” McIlroy tells us, as footage cuts from a raucous WM Phoenix Open to a tiny ripple of applause for Brooks Koepka at LIV Golf’s Orlando event. In fact, it’s only slightly louder than the reserved applause he receives from his contemporaries at the PGA Championship champions’ dinner.

It’s no surprise that Mumm followed the ‘good vs evil’ storyline as the Tours prepared to reunite at the year’s opening Major with both McIlroy and Koepka headed to Augusta tied on four apiece. They greet with hugs and laughter ahead of a surprise practice round together but that doesn’t stop McIlroy from admitting he’d prefer any PGA Tour player to slip on the Green Jacket over someone from LIV.

“Smell good, play good,” Tommy Fleetwood tells McIlroy as he passes his Ryder Cup teammate spraying himself in the Augusta locker room. Unfortunately smells good, misses the cut proved more accurate. “I played like dog shit,” he reflects.

Fleetwood snatched victory from McIlroy at the 2024 Dubai Invitational.

Luckily for the cameras, the PGA Tour vs LIV battle played out with Jon Rahm and Koepka going head-to-head on the Sunday. Luckily for the PGA Tour, the Spaniard prevailed. Anyone know what he’s up to now?

The episode also gives us insight into Koepka’s mindset. Having revealed he was paid nine figures to join LIV, he admits that all he cares about are the Majors with 12 career wins his target. 

“Momentum appears to be shifting, says journalist Dylan Dethier. “The LIV guys are walking around with a little more swagger. The Masters made everyone realize it’s not a case of if a LIV guy wins a Major, it’s a case of when.”

And ‘when’ was just a few weeks away at the PGA Championship. McIlroy has a tetchy pre-tournament exchange with journalist Alan Shipnuck before suffering more disappointment on a poor Sunday. As he slumps through the locker room, telling his team “My technique is nowhere near as good as it used to be,” the difficulty of balancing his role as player spokesman and player becomes even more blatant. Meanwhile, Koepka gets his “f*ck you” moment (Claude Harmon’s words, not ours) as he secures Major number five.

In an exclusive extract from his new book, LIV and Let Die, Alan Shipnuck shares the views of tour pros who have had enough of Rory McIlroy.

“F*ck, someone in my era has got more Majors than I have,” McIlroy reflects as he admits it was the wakeup call he needed to focus more on his golf and less on off-course matters.

Regardless of his disappointment, it’s testament that McIlroy goes out of his way to find Koepka and congratulate him on his victory.

“Now a LIV golfer has won a Major, where do we go from here?” journalist Dan Rapaport asks, segueing perfectly into the PIF and PGA Tour merger reveal.

“Why did I just waste 12 months of my life to fight for something that was always going to come back together?” a stunned McIlroy asks.

TG Episode Verdict: It’s a strong and revealing start to the season with plenty of unseen and insightful footage and commentary. If you’re watching it as a golf fan and know how things play out across the year, it’s also heartbreaking seeing McIlroy’s unwavering loyalty to Jay Monahan and the PGA Tour. “I would say I’m closer with Jay than any of the other players on Tour,” he says early in the piece. Safe to say he won’t be making that mistake again. Unlike his latter appearance in season one, Koepka comes across well, and it’s clear that despite taking the LIV coin, he’s still driven by success on golf’s biggest stage. 4/5

The LIV Golf merger still hangs in the balance

Ep.2: The Game Has Changed – Part 2

“What the fuck? There’s clearly a lot more to this than a merger. No-one knows anything.” says JT as Public Investment Fund Governor Yassir Al-Rumayyan and Monahan sit side-by-side on television announcing the framework agreement between the PIF and the PGA Tour.

After episode one’s focus on the divide in the game, episode two starts by focusing on the potential shock reuniting of the game. June 6, 2023, hit like a bolt out of the blue for golf fans and players.

“The answer I have is not going to be palatable to them,” Monahan tells a meeting at PGA Tour Headquarters as he’s grilled over details, a timescale, and schedule for the merger.

Unsurprisingly McIlroy’s faith in his “close’ relationship with the Tour Chief wanes rapidly. “I’m almost at the point where I’m like f*ck it, do what you want to do,” he says.

For those who missed the Northern Irishman’s famous “sacrificial lamb” quote at the time, his press conference at the Canadian Open plays a prominent part as Mumm and his team present the demoralization and shock McIlroy and his contemporaries are feeling.

Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson have been suspended by the PGA Tour

Cue the cut to Dustin Johnson, the former World No.1 and two-time Major champion who himself shocked the world when he joined LIV ahead of their first event. Does he regret the decision? Not a chance. “I played on the PGA Tour for a long time. Joining LIV, I knew I was going to get shit for it.,” he reflects. “The die hard PGA Tour fans were going to be upset but if I had to do it again I’d make the same decision.”

We join a relaxed DJ behind the wheel of his yacht and fishing in Ponte Vedra Beach where he’s asked about potential compensation for PGA players who didn’t make the move.

“We’re the ones who took the risk for everything so why should they be compensated? If this merger happens there’s going to be a lot of guys that wish they would have signed.”

Claude Harmon III goes one step further. “When the dust settles I think there’s an argument to be made that some of the LIV guys will be seen as pioneers.”

Rickie Fowler and Xander Schauffele chat after carding 62s in the opening round of the 2023 US Open.

One man who rejected countless offers to follow DJ to LIV was Rickie Fowler. Hailed as golf’s next superstar and a career-long rival for McIlroy, many expected him to win countless Majors. Instead, we find him reflecting on the lowest period of his life and career, missing cuts, sliding down the world rankings and at a loss with his game. It would be easy not to feel sympathy for Fowler as he sits outside his enormous luxury home but this feels like Mumm showing that happiness relies on far more than money.

Fowler returns to work with swing coach Butch Harmon before heading to the US Open, where PGA Tour and LIV players reunite for the first time since the merger announcement.

TG Episode Verdict: It’s the strongest episode of the series by quite a long way thanks to the presence of Rickie Fowler, DJ, and CH3. 4.5/5

Joel Dahmen is struggling mentally and it's harming his golf

Ep.3: Mind Games

Life on the PGA Tour is tough, as we all know, but this episode in particular shines a light on how tough it really can be. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows!

I will put myself out there and say I didn’t want Wyndham to win in LA with Rickie and Rory in the chasing pack, but after watching the episode it changed my opinion not only on the result but on Wyndham as a golfer, showcasing why he deserved every bit of success he had in 2023. From losing his mom, to his mental battles, Clark overcame all of it like a true champion and is now reaping the rewards for that. It’s certainly an inspiration to me and will likely be for many others. 

I thought the episode displayed the struggles of golf very well, and showed how even the best players in the game are no different to us. Life’s a struggle for everyone, no matter what your background or upbringing.

After learning that Joel and Wyndham had both lost their moms you could see the detrimental effect that had for them on the golf course. On one side of the coin, you have Wyndham who is dealing with it much better and is using the memory of his mom as a driving force for his success.  Whereas, Joel, who I’m sure is still driven by his mom’s memory and wants to make her proud, appears to let these emotions affect his game negatively at times.

Wyndham Clark battled his demons and prevailed

In any modern sport, the mental battle athlete’s experience is as challenging as ever. Especially in an individual sport such as golf which can be overwhelming for the best players in the world. The struggle in amateur golf is tough enough let alone on the world stage!

I thought the episode did an excellent job of displaying how having help off the course can help results on it! You had Joel without a psychology coach worsening as the months went by and on the other hand, you had Wyndham who overcame his mental demons and is now a PGA winner, US Open champion, and Ryder Cup star!

No matter what is happening off the course, trying to feel better in yourself and believing in the process will improve your game. 

Although Joel was the shining light for many in the first season of Full Swing his sudden rise to fame which wasn’t related to on-course performance seems to have got the better of him. During the episode, he said: “Being famous and shooting 76 is the worst thing in my life,” to his caddy Geno.

Golfers who rise to fame are often at the top of the world rankings and performing well each week so for someone to have the pressure without the game can slowly eat away at someone as it has done with Joel. 

Joel Dahmen and his caddy Geno Bonnalie are good friends and colleagues

Change for the Dahmen and caddy Geno has brought so much on-course attention. Not only has he become one of the more famous players on tour but becoming a parent has also had its effect on the course.

As caddy Geno has said, “He has had a lot of changes in his life, I think he may have just put his golf on cruise control a little bit.” A newborn and fame have sadly not correlated to on-course performance.

The episode did great at highlighting the stresses of the tour and how good the top players are at dealing with fame and delivering at the same time.

You can see in the scene on the plane how much of a toll it has taken on Geno and how much he and Joel care for each other. You need strong people around you, which Joel has, it’s not just a worry for golfers it’s a worry for the family, caddy, and everyone around them. It may look pretty but golfers are there to earn a living for themselves and everyone they care for. 

TG Episode Verdict: It can be easy to write someone off and judge them just as I and many did with Wyndham Clark, but hearing his back story was inspiring and filled me with respect for what he achieved last year. Then there’s the continuation of Joel Dahmen’s story and his journey to becoming a father and a golfing superstar, despite his game not being in a great place. A must-watch episode!  5/5.

Tom Kim and Jordan Spieth

Ep.4: Prove It

The episode starts at the Players Championship with Tom Kim during a practice round with Thomas, Spieth, and Homa – some of the more seasoned winners on the PGA Tour.

They were often in awe of Tom’s ball striking and ability. It is great to see the young star being embraced by some of the well-known players on the tour but due to his age, they can be seen talking down to him and making fun of his age. It’s not said vindictively, but for Tom who doesn’t want to be seen as the young one, says “I just want to be taken seriously”, which joking aside with three PGA Tour wins under his belt, I think he already is! 

There will be some genuine friendships on tour, with players who practice, fly, and live together but at the end of the day you’re playing against one another. Like Justin Thomas said, “You have friendships before the first tee time, but as soon as the tournament starts, it’s me versus you.”

For a golfer like Tom Kim who is trying to make his way in the game, understanding who you can trust and who you can’t is a huge part of being successful on the PGA Tour. Everyone may seem your friend and want to get close to you but they’re also your competitors, everyone is scoping one another out and that can be a dangerous place at times. As Dan Rapaport said, “Tom has to realize he’s swimming with sharks out there.”

Tom Kim can learn a lot from older golfers like Rory McIlroy


With so much expectation on young golfers, people can forget that you’re still learning your way and however much you’d like them to be, not everyone is like Tiger Woods.

I think Rory McIlroy summed it up perfectly in the episode “When people think about the best players in the world, they want them to fit into a certain mold, that’s not something I would do.” It is easy to compare golfers like Tom Kim to players who have been successful at such a young age, but letting them pave their own way to success is key. 

With early career success comes a ton of popularity. In the episode, you can see Tom’s demand is through the roof with the likes of Nike and GQ, all wanting to use him as a poster boy for campaigns.

Having the right people around you is vital to success, and Tom’s agent Ben seems to be the presence he needs around him making sure he is attending to his media duties while prioritizing his golf too!

The best players have the right people around them to manage their time which is in such high demand. Getting yourself out there in the media and having your face part of the latest fashion lines is great, but your focus needs to stay on golf! 

Tom Kim played through injury at The Open

As one of the youngest golfers on tour and even younger than some of the amateur college golfers, Tom has the golfing world at his fingertips. Not getting carried away and avoiding doubting himself early in his career will be vital to his success going forwards.

As he said himself in the episode “Am I good enough,” which coming from a golfer who turned pro at the age of 15 is quite a scary prospect and shows the high quality demanded of tour pros.  

We see Tom learning what it takes to succeed as he battles through injury at The Open. It’s one thing proving it on the PGA Tour, but the Majors is another level.

Tom’s performance at The Open proved that his agent had a point when he said, “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” Playing with injury may prove to have a negative effect in the long run, but as Tom proved at Hoylake, to prevail on tour you need that grit and determination when things are against you to help you succeed. 

TG Episode Verdict: I loved the insight the episode gave us into the life of a young superstar, showing the struggles faced no matter how good you are. However, it could have been shorter and arguably felt like a filler episode that could’ve featured another player alongside him. We often see in fly-on-the-wall docuseries like this the odd episode where the main protagonist fails to deliver the performances the producers were hoping for. That said, for golf fans and fans of Tom Kim this episode is entertaining and shows the chaotic life of stardom. 3/5.

Alex Fitzpatrick is the younger brother of Matt Fitzpatrick and feels as though he lives in the shadows of his older brother

Ep.5: In The Shadows

Episode five follows two loveable brothers searching for success on both sides of the Atlantic. Matt Fitzpatrick is a Major champion and proven winner on the DP World Tour and PGA Tour, while his brother Alex Fitzpatrick is still hunting down that first professional victory and hoping to earn his place on the PGA Tour.

Alex admits that he’s jealous of his older brother, at the same time, it’s evident how proud he is of everything he achieved – as is Matt of Alex. Full Swing followed the Fitzpatrick brothers around Hoylake at the 151st Open Championship. It was a very promising week for Alex who finished ahead of his brother. At the end of Alex’s round on day three, Matt was right there behind the 18th hole to congratulate his younger brother on what was an impressive display.

Despite this rivalry between the two Sheffield lads to beat one another – as is the case with all siblings – the mental toll on Alex was clearly overbearing, but it all seemed to change following that great week in Liverpool.

For most of his life, Alex has been drowned out by his brother and his successes

At the start of the episode, Alex voices that he’s “pissed off from being in my brother’s shadow.” However, after his performance at The Open Alex clearly felt like he proved himself on the world stage and he shared that “It’s the first day I’ve felt like I was starting to become my own person in the game.”

After the 72nd hole Alex was called in for interviews and he enjoyed that during those interviews he wasn’t ever compared to Matt, everyone wanted to discuss his game and his achievements of a top 20 finish at his first Open Championship.

For much of the episode, there’s this clear juxtaposition between Alex and Matt, not only in the way their careers have transpired but in their mindset and demeanor. It seems as though before competing at The Open, especially after seeing how the pair played at the Zurich Classic Alex had adopted this mindset that he was a disappointment and a failure because he hadn’t yet hit the heights his brother has achieved.

Alex Fitzpatrick felt like his own person after a good showing at The Open, afterwards he won on the Challenge Tour and finished in second on the DP World Tour

However, I’m pretty sure anyone who watches that episode will finish it being as much of a fan of Alex as they are of Matt. Following his result at The Open, Alex released it was nice to “go to sleep at night with a smile on your face,” something he clearly can’t have been doing throughout his career.

Off the back of that superb display at The Open, Alex went on to win on the Challenge Tour just a fortnight later, and he finished in second place at the ISPS Handa World Invitational two weeks later. The good run of form didn’t end there, and he’s made a decent start to his 2024 campaign. I’m sure Alex will have enjoyed many more nights going to sleep with a smile on his face, and I’m certain he’ll have many more to come.

TG Episode Verdict: One of the better episodes of Season 2. Although the story isn’t as juicy as others, it’s a brilliant watch. As a viewer, you begin to appreciate how difficult it must be to forge a career when you’re living in the shadows of a famous relative who’s achieved more than you. However, seeing the joy on Alex’s face following the Open Championship was one of my highlights of the season. 4/5.

Justin Thomas and Keegan Bradley were battling for a Ryder Cup captain's pick throughout 2023

Ep.6: Pick Six

Episode six might not have even been an episode had Zach Johnson not made such a drama revolving around his captain’s picks for the 2023 Ryder Cup USA Team. The sixth episode mainly follows Justin Thomas and Keegan Bradley – two players vying for a captain’s pick at the 2023 Ryder Cup in Rome.

I think anyone watching who didn’t know the outcome (or still doesn’t) would have guessed Justin Thomas had no chance of being picked based on the fact it was his worst season on the PGA Tour having not made the Play-Offs for the first time in his career. Add in his poor run of form in the Majors and it almost looked as though he was trying to make Zach’s decision easier.

Keegan Bradley had much to celebrate in 2023

Meanwhile, Keegan Bradley found a new groove and started playing incredible golf at the start of the 2023 season. Bradley enjoyed two victories last season on the PGA Tour, one early on at the ZOZO Championship, and one more towards the business end of the season at the Travelers Championship.

Bradley clearly thought that winning the Travelers Championship was enough to make him one of the six guys who’d be making their way to Rome as a captain’s pick. It seemed even more likely following JT’s performance at the Wyndham Championship which ended with a par leaving him one place outside the Play-Offs in 71st.

Justin Thomas crashed out of the PGA Tour Play Offs for the first time in his career

Heading into August 2023, I think the whole golfing world was expecting Keegan Bradley to make his return to the USA Ryder Cup for the first time since 2014. Bradley was hungry to be a part of the Ryder Cup in the hope of being on the winning team so he could finally open up his Ryder Cup suitcase from 2014 and put to bed any demons from a time he said was “the lowest point in my career”.

Zach Johnson did have a difficult decision to make, but throughout the season it never seemed likely that JT would be in that discussion. Even watching the episode, I thought there was no way JT gets a pick here! It seemed as though after missing out on the Play-Offs not even JT thought he’d be getting a pick.

The magnitude of the Ryder Cup and the high regard it’s held in is clear to see from everyone involved in that episode. Jordan Spieth’s opinion is that “It’s the coolest event that we have in our sport.” JT simply puts it “It’s the fucking best.” There’s no denying JT’s love for the Ryder Cup, but you have to ask how much his friendship with Zach Johnson helped his claims.

TG Episode Verdict: From what we learn it seems incredibly unlikely that JT would be taken as a captain’s pick for the Ryder Cup. However, Netflix found a way of creating suspense by ending the episode with Zach Johnson on the phone with Keegan Bradley. There were six captain’s picks and it made it seem like this was for the final pick. Based on Bradley’s season he should have been guaranteed a pick and JT should have been fighting it out with someone else. 2.5/5.

Which pairings will Zach Johnson select?

Ep.7: All Roads Lead to Rome – Part 1

The penultimate episode is a tale of two captains and begins with a pretty awkward-looking Johnson, complete with a cap on backward, delivering good news to Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, and a rather nonchalant-sounding Brooks Koepka.

Then Keegan Bradley answers.

It’s not you, it’s me goes the conversation, as Johnson attempts to wriggle out of saying that he just wanted to pick his mate.

Cut to JT. “It’s time to get to work and we’re going to bring that cup home buddy.” Ah…

We learn that Luke Donald doesn’t believe Jonson picked “the strongest team statistically,” a telling statement that provides a glimpse into the differing approaches of each captain.

Luke Donald discusses Sergio Garcia during his joint press conference with Zach Johnson at the 2023 Ryder Cup.

Next, it was Donald’s turn to do the rounds, and even if he wasn’t going to be picked at the start of the call, Ludvig Aberg answering the call in his red jacket, fresh from winning the Omega European Masters probably would have been enough to swing his mind on the spot.

“Oh man…f**king hell, I can’t describe how this conversation feels,” responds Nicolai Hojgaard in what seemed to be the most unfiltered reaction from either side.

Now to Justin Rose, and we see the genuine relief and gratitude at receiving his first pick in what was to be his sixth appearance.

We see the competitive instincts of McIlroy and Spieth kick in as the event draws closer.

“It brings something out of you that you just don’t get in individual tournaments, says McIlroy, following Spieth’s admission that winning away from “on European soil would be as meaningful as anything in the sport.”

Rory McIlroy was the leading points scorer at the 2023 Ryder Cup..

We see the value Rory adds to the team beyond his ball-striking ability as he builds up rookie Hojgaard’s confidence by reminding him he has “nothing to prove”.

The emphasis Team Europe places on togetherness and feeling part of a family is also evident as we see the player’s partners socializing in Rome.

Both teams are in a jovial mood at the traditional joint team photo on the Spanish Steps before a noticeable tension starts to build with the teams being unveiled at the Opening Ceremony the following day.

The action finally gets underway towards the end of the episode and we learn how Donald and his vice-captains were confident in their pairings and getting off to a fast start.

And that they did, with the sea of blue on Friday mornings’ scoreboard breading confidence through the European team as we see Rahm and Hovland chipping in for fun.

Jon Rahm and Tyrrell Hatton represented Team Europe in the 2023 Ryder Cup before both joining LIV.

“On paper, the Americans are the stronger side, and we relish being put in that position because it just gives us a chip on our shoulder,” reflects McIlroy, highlighting how Europe thrived going in as underdogs.

“Holy s**t. This is real,” says Morikawa as the realization sinks in on the size of the mountain already facing Team USA.

The match couldn’t have started better for Europe with Donald’s pairing working just as he thought they would, feeding off the electric home energy.

TG Episode Verdict: It was cool to get an ear in on the captain’s phone calls, although the reactions, aside from Bradley’s, were a little colorless. The episode does a good job of building tension as the Ryder Cup approaches and we see how much it means to both sets of captains and players. Golf fans are unlikely to learn too much, but it’s still an entertaining watch. 3.5/5.

Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry share a laugh at the Ryder Cup in Rome.

Ep.8: All Roads Lead to Rome – Part 2

The season finale starts in amusing fashion with McIlroy and Lowry seeing what life would be like under each other’s caps, before jumping straight back into Ryder Cup action with the Americans in a buoyant mood, and seemingly up for the flight.

“Let’s give these guys a f**king answer,” says Johnson, kicking off the episode.

The episode then hops back across the Atlantic to West Palm Beach and to Keegan Bradley, watching on like a trooper from his sofa.

“It’s anger, and sadness, but there are no wrong decisions, everyone’s such a great player,” says Bradley who conducts himself commendably in what must be one of the most disappointing moments in his career.

“One of the reasons I wanted to be in this team is to be around the energy they have, he continues in his Team USA cap.

“If I were a captain, I’d want him (JT) in my locker room.”

Keegan Bradley had much to celebrate in 2023

We’re reminded of how much the Ryder Cup means to McIlroy, seeing his dejected figure breaking down after the Whistling Straits humbling.

“There’s a lot of us that want to redeem ourselves, we want to put that right,” says Rory as we learn how important getting the win was in Rome, and the pressure he feels as a leader in the team.

As the Cantlay ‘Capgate’ saga unfolds, and the partisan crowd tries to get underneath the American’s skin we are reminded of Cantlay’s remarkable ability to drown out the noise and produce his best golf when it matters most.

“Hey Joe, get out the way you pr**k,” we hear from an animated Shane Lowry on the sidelines as Cantlay’s caddy Joe LaCava famously continues to celebrate as Rory lined up his putt on 18.

“Joe, you were on top of him when he was putting. You were right in line with him,” Lowry continues after Rory’s putt drifts wide.

“It was actually quite funny, it just went on a touch too long,” chips in Rose as the Europeans make their feelings clear to a bemused LaCava.

Patrick Cantlay's caddie Joe LaCava caused a storm on the 18th green on Saturday.

“What Pat did over the last three holes was sick, and I thought we were all going to get in a fight, so testosterone was at an all-time high,” says Max Homa reflecting fondly on the incident.

We once again see the infamous heated Saturday night clips of Rory’s confrontation with JT’s caddy Jim ‘Bones’ MacKay, but nothing we haven’t seen before.

Rory admits the encounter was all one-way and a result of the frustration he’d felt at not having what he believed was a “fair and equitable way” to putt out.

“Use this as fuel, but come Sunday, get back and do whatever you need to do to win,” recalls Donald in his message to Rory following the drama.

The episode rolls into Sunday’s singles where we relive the American’s attempt to overturn the deficit, following the match through to its conclusion and Rickie Fowler conceding a putt to Tommy Fleetwood on the 16th green, sparking European celebrations.

We see touching moments to sign off the series as Johnson consoles his son after the loss, and Donald reflects on his path to victory and the faith he had in his 12 players.

Team Europe lift the Ryder Cup in Rome.

Cue the emotional music.

“Honestly Jon, you make me want to do better,” says Rory embracing Rahm, while one of the series’ more comical moments sees Sepp Straka lament Fleetwood for “stealing his moment”.

There’s not a huge amount to be learned from these final two episodes that largely just document the scenes that unfolded at Marco Simone.

It’s well covered nonetheless, and most golf fans (European, at least) will still enjoy running it back.

TG Episode Verdict: Once again, golf aficionados aren’t going to feel any wiser for having watched this episode. The lack of inside-the-lockroom footage gives it the feeling of a commemorative Ryder Cup DVD that does a decent job of reliving the key moments and throwing in a few soundbites, but little more. Perhaps the only fitting way to sign off the series, but a cliffhanger would have been nice. 2.5/5.

SUBSCRIBE TO TODAY’S GOLFER: Print and Digital access, discounts and rewards!

About the author

Ross Tugwood Today's Golfer

Ross Tugwood

Senior Digital Writer

Ross Tugwood is a golf equipment writer for todays-golfer.com, specializing in data, analytics, science, and innovation.

Ross is passionate about optimizing sports performance and has a decade of experience working with professional athletes and coaches for British Athletics, the UK Sports Institute, and Team GB.

He has post-graduate degrees in Performance Analysis and Sports Journalism, enabling him to critically analyze and review the latest golf equipment and technology to help you make better-informed buying decisions.

- Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this page, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us.