Despite his American ties, Sepp Straka has chosen to stand firmly with Team Europe at the Ryder Cup. Straka, who has an American mother, attended an American university, and lives in the United States, is proudly sporting Europe's white, yellow, and blue uniform at the Ryder Cup in Italy. Although his upbringing might make him feel somewhat split, Straka has never represented the U.S. in golf. He decided to play under the Austrian flag, where he was born, from the moment he flew back to Europe for the European Boys Team Championship in 2011.
Under the International Federation of Golf policy, a player with dual citizenship would typically have to wait at least four years to represent another country in international competition. However, Straka has never shown an interest in switching allegiances.
He has always felt a deep connection to his Austrian heritage, and his family supports his decision. His mother, who is American, spent 24 years in Austria and has fallen in love with the country. Straka's dedication to Austria and Europe has been consistent throughout his career, and he proudly wore the red of Austria at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo in 2021.
While Straka has an American accent due to his upbringing in the U.S., he has always identified with his Austrian heritage and feels close to both cultures. His commitment to Team Europe was further reinforced by his participation in the Hero Cup in Abu Dhabi, a match-play competition between golfers from Britain & Ireland and Continental Europe. He made a significant effort to play in this event despite the considerable travel distance and time zone changes.
Throughout his career, Straka's results and achievements have highlighted his commitment to Team Europe. Winning the John Deere Classic and tying for second at The Open Championship in 2023 solidified his position as a captain's pick for the Ryder Cup. Straka, who is ranked 22nd in the world, has also performed well at other major tournaments this year, including the PGA Championship and the TOUR Championship.
Although Straka may not be the most vocal player in the team room, his dedication and strong play make him an essential part of Team Europe. He has the potential to form a partnership with players like Shane Lowry and contribute to Europe's efforts to retain the Ryder Cup.
In a final touch of irony, Straka's caddie, Duane Bock, who grew up in the United States, has also embraced Team Europe and even replaced the U.S. cover on his yardage book.