‘I’ve Never Played For America’ – European Ryder Cup Star Sepp Straka Makes Loyalties Clear

The Austrian is adamant his close ties to the US will count for nothing when he tees it up in the biennial match

Sepp Straka takes a shot in the third round of the 2023 Open
Sepp Straka has explained his ties to the US have no bearing on his Ryder Cup loyalties
(Image credit: Getty Images)

European Ryder Cup wildcard pick Sepp Straka will become the second Austrian after Bernd Wiesberger to play in the match when he tees it up at Marco Simone at the end of the month.

However, the 30-year-old has an American mother, while he has spent over half his life living in the US. As far as Straka is concerned, though, those close ties to the country will have no bearing on his loyalties when Team Europe attempts to wrestle back the trophy it lost to Team USA in 2021 at Whistling Straits.

Following the announcement Straka would be one of Luke Donald’s wildcards, he said: “I've never played for America in golf. I've always played under the Austrian bag since my first start at the Lyoness Open back in Austria, my first professional start.

“I played all my junior golf for Austria on the European Boys teams and the European Amateur team, so yeah, I kind of always assumed it would be for Europe and I've always played for the Austrian flag and proudly representing it.”

So many years as a resident in the country has left Straka with a US accent, and he joked about how he can combat that as part of the European team. He said: “I was thinking about maybe getting a translator. Maybe my brother can translate for me for the week just so we don't have to hear it.

“But yeah, I don't think I can fake the American accent. I've got a few accents in me but yeah, it will be funny to kind of hear that accent all week.”

Straka recently partnered with Kevin Kisner’s former caddie, Duane Bock, and he admitted that has helped inspire the form that has seen him become one of the 12 players in Donald’s team. He said: “Dewey is a great caddie. He's been awesome to have on the bag and it's helped me so much over the last few months.”

However, he admitted there was still some work to do to bring Bock fully in line with the Team Europe cause. 

He continued: “Yeah, he is definitely red, white and blue. A bunch of the European caddies have been giving him crap about his yardage book cover being a US yardage book cover but he's already changed that. We're working on him. He's a professional. He'll do his best job that he can and yeah it will be great.”

The announcement of Donald’s six wildcard picks did not pass without controversy, with the omission of Adrian Meronk raising the most eyebrows. However, Straka is convinced that the team will have an excellent blend of rookies and experience.

He explained: “I think it's great, especially a lot of the young guys who are going to be part of the European team for years to come, and I think that the experience, as well, they have kind of got us because we don't really know what to expect at all. I think there will be a lot of talent on this team, I've seen it, and I've played with just about everybody, and it's incredibly talented. Really looking forward to getting going.”

The Ryder Cup takes place between 29 September and 1 October at Marco Simone in Italy.

Mike Hall

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.