WWe have not yet reached the point where the American public has grown weary of the Ryder Cup and its unsatisfactory results. Europe has prevailed in four of the last five stages of this event, marking a blow to the confidence of an expectant sporting nation.
At lunchtime Thursday in this rural corner of Wisconsin, Bryson DeChambeau circled the first tee, Jim Furyk danced inappropriately for a 51-year-old man, and Dustin Johnson threw jerseys into the stands from the kind of pitcher he normally does. seen in Star Wars. The howls, screams, and screams were from a crowd prepared for an epic battle. Five years have passed since a Ryder Cup was held on this side of the Atlantic; the absence has clearly made the affection of hearts grow. With the wind whipping and Lake Michigan growling, this is quite a sight. Now, for the more serious, Europe is looking to win the golden trophy on the rugged terrain of Whistling Straits.
What is the price for a quick start? Of all the statistics – hundreds – associated with this competition, one stands out. Europe has not won the opening session of a Ryder Cup since 2006. At Hazeltine in 2016, the United States won all four games on Friday morning and never had reason to look in the rearview mirror. Given the scale of support for the hosts this time, a scenario linked of course to travel restrictions, Europe surely cannot afford to give up the initial momentum. Pádraig Harrington, who has not been wrong so far during his European captaincy duties, will know. The foursome session on Friday is very important.
It is no wonder that great favoritism has been accorded to the United States. Notah Begay, during the television analysis, went so far as to affirm that the European team is “drastically surpassed”. Therefore, the state of relaxation visible within the European contingent throughout the week makes perfect sense: Harrington and his players have absolutely nothing to lose. Seven of Harrington’s team played in Paris three years ago when the United States was dismantled. In Jon Rahm, Europe has the highest ranked player in the world.
“This is a team effort,” Rahm said. “It’s not like I can do it myself. That [victory] it would be a really nice end of the year. It would be a very nice ending to a wonderful year. That victory in France creates a bond that is unforgettable and it would be a very good feeling to also be able to do it on my first attempt on American soil ”.
Rahm walked away from the feeling that he is already considered a talisman within the European team hall. “We have a lot of players on the team who are vocal enough, who have done this enough that naturally others will gravitate for guidance,” the Spaniard said. “I’m not going to actively go and just go, ‘Hey, I’m a leader now,’ because I don’t have such a huge ego.
“Hopefully, as I have done so far this year, I will let the clubs and the ball do the talking. I’ll leave the speeches and leadership to the guys who have been doing this for a long time. “
Harrington has exuded his own confidence since his team composition was confirmed. He has consistently rated his dozen players as the best in terms of ball strokes that Europe has thrown.
“If this were done by computer, America would be winning,” Harrington said. “But everything related to the statistics of this field suggests that you want to be a good striker. When you lose the greens, you get an easy chip or an incredibly difficult one; lie, posture. A good chipper is worthless here. Players who play well tend to hit a lot of fairways and greens. There are more long irons than on any field we will play on. My team is full of punchers and it’s balanced. We don’t hide anyone, there is no one that you think can’t play foursomes or fourballs. “
In fact, the adaptability of the vast majority of the European team is remarkable. There are no potential partners to attract skeptical glances. Tyrrell Hatton, who regularly gives the impression that he would throw punches in his own shadow, needs a bit of care and attention, but others can be trusted with a variety of partners.
The American scene is more complex. Brooks Koepka and DeChambeau may insist that their very public disregard for each other is not a problem for this week alone, but the fact that Steve Stricker didn’t bring his troublesome kids together even for a practice session was revealing. A pointed Koepka insisted Thursday that comments suggesting he had little time for the Ryder Cup had been “spun.” Stricker has six rookies on his squad and while Open champion Collin Morikawa is among them, the 24-year-old has been out of place and injured since lifting the Claret Jug. Europe would have reason to fear Billy Horschel and Patrick Reed, but neither was selected.
In his home state, leading a team that ranks in the top 21 in the world rankings, Stricker is the captain who has a chance to feel embarrassed. “We have a task in front of us that we have the opportunity to do something really special for our team, our country and especially for Stricks,” said Tony Finau. “We want to win this not only because of everything involved, but especially because of our captain.”
The youth are on the side of the hosts: an average age five years younger than Europeans could be significant in a physically demanding place. The lack of rough penalty around the Whistling Straits is typical of a Ryder Cup in the US, but it means that comparisons to the 2015 US PGA Championship, for example, which was also played here, don’t they are necessarily valid. Jordan Spieth was second in that event, with Koepka tied fifth, Johnson a part of the seventh and Finau tied for tenth.
The only numbers that count this time are 14, the number of points Europe needs to retain, and 14 and a half, which the United States requires to regain. In America’s dairy land, the only guarantee is that those involved will milk the atmosphere.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism