Chaska - A
US Ryder Cup team more relaxed and better prepared than past losing
versions takes a confident attitude into this week's showdown against
holders Europe, which happily accepts its routine underdog role.
Europeans have won three in a row, six of seven and eight of the past
10 over the Americans entering Friday's start of the biennial team golf
matches at Hazeltine.
"We're just tired of being told we haven't won one in a while,"
two-time major winner Jordan Spieth said. "We want this one. We feel
very comfortable this year with the team we have and very confident as
Spieth recalled the tension of the US losing his 2014 debut at Gleneagles.
"I don't know why the Europeans have a better record," Spieth said.
"I think they have felt more relaxed going in. I've only been part of
one. Our experience over there was pretty tense and this one feels a bit
different. So we're confident about that."
US captain Davis Love had the same job in 2012 when the Americans
suffered the biggest last-day collapse in Ryder Cup history to fall.
But Love has learned and a task force instituted after the dysfunctional 2014 failure has led to meticulous planning.
"We have a fresher attitude and I've got a better support team around
me," Love said. "We've been working hard on a game plan and
preparation. We're just a little bit more prepared this time than we
were in 2012."
Love said he is better able to cope with any situation than he was in
2012, when Europe built momentum in last-day singles while the US team
struggled to the finish.
"We've all got more miles under our belt and can handle really any
situation better than probably we could in 2012," Love said. "If we get
four ahead or two behind, we've got it a little more figured out than we
did in 2012.
"We're just looking to the future right now and not looking to the past."
Europe captain Darren Clarke likes the course set-up handled by Love.
"The course is set up for scoring," Clarke said. "It's set up for
entertainment, to make birdies and have the whole excitement of the
Ryder Cup be the way it should be."
Part of that normal state of things is oddsmakers making Europe unfancied at best and woeful underdogs at worst.
"We're always the underdogs aren't we?" Clarke said. "We're always
not supposed to win. But they have been doing OK. The guys are very
excited and keen to play. The odds are frequently against Europe. So
it's nothing different. I'm certainly not worried about it."
Even Clarke had to laugh when asked whether Europe, which was once
only Britain and Ireland until the roster was expanded to all of Europe
starting in 1979, should allow the US squad to add Mexican and Canadian
players for a North American team should Europe win an unprecedented
fourth consecutive time.
"Let's just see how this week works out first," Clarke said.