Pressure on US to end Ryder Cup drought

2016-09-30 14:22
Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson (Getty Images)

Chaska - A veteran US team is seeking to finally end its misery and reclaim the Ryder Cup while a talented but largely untested European outfit hopes to wreak havoc in the American heartland.

The anticipation is building for the 41st Ryder Cup which tees off Friday morning with alternate shot foursomes followed by afternoon four-ball matches.

"Any time I can wear red, white and blue, it means everything," American Patrick Reed said on Thursday. "It brings out even more competitiveness in me and even more fire. Hopefully I can have that feed onto the team."

No doubt the Americans are feeling heightened pressure to deliver a victory at Hazeltine.

The last time the Ryder Cup was on US soil in 2012 the USA suffered a heartbreaking loss in Chicago, falling victim to the greatest last-day comeback in tournament history, Europe's 14 1/2-13 1/2 win in the "Miracle at Medinah."

American Jordan Spieth had a message for the partisan crowds urging them on Friday to make plenty of noise and cheer for the home team.

"Show up early, get on the first tee 30 minutes before we tee off to make sure by the time we get there those Euros know that they are playing an away game. We want to feel at home," Spieth said.

Europe seeks an unprecedented fourth victory in a row over the host United States at Hazeltine. The Europeans have won six of the past seven and eight of the last 10 meetings in the biennial team golf rivalry.

From the moment Europe's Justin Rose hits the first shot off the first tee on Friday, the atmosphere on the course will be electric.


"It is a moment to try and enjoy the best you can," England's Rose said. "It is clearly nerve-wracking and it is not a moment you can really prepare for. Just expect to be nervous, get it airborne and then Henrik (Stenson) and I will build a great round from there."

Rose and Stenson will face Spieth and Reed in Friday's opening foursomes match, a showdown of two unbeaten duos from the 2014 event.

Rose, who won the first Olympic title in 112 years last month, and Sweden's Stenson, the reigning British Open champion, went 3-0 together in Europe's win two years ago at Gleneagles.

"I am expecting it to be loud," said Rose. "I am expecting it to be fun. I am expecting it to be nerve-wracking. I am expecting it to be the Ryder Cup which is why it is so special. I can't wait for tomorrow."

Masters champion Danny Willett could find that out early Friday just how loud the heckling can get.

He is prepared for a rough reception when his first Ryder Cup opens on Friday after his brother's insults to American golf fans on a European golf website.

The kerfuffle began when Pete Willett described US golf fans as "fat, stupid, greedy, classless bastards" as well as a "baying mob of imbeciles".

Said Danny Willett of the expected catcalls on Friday, "You don't mind the odd bit of heckling, but hope it doesn't go too far."

Team Europe is vastly different from the outfit that beat the Americans in six of the last seven Ryder Cups.

Half of Europe's 12-man Ryder Cup roster will be first-time players, but the newcomers are determined to keep the trophy out of American hands.

USA captain Davis Love's challenge on the otherhand is to show they can learn from their past mistakes and make Team USA great again.

"Our guys are really, really excited to play golf," Love said on Thursday. "You can see it in their practice today. They are ready to go."

Read more on:    ryder cup  |  golf

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