SHEBOYGAN, Wisconsin (UKTN) – Americans are running out of excuses in the Ryder Cup.
They bring another loaded team to Whistling Straits, including 11 of the top 16 players in the world. Not only is it a home game, but travel restrictions due to COVID-19 make this crowd even more one-sided than Lambeau Field.
That’s part of what prompted Tony Finau to say, “This is a big deal.”
What makes him so critical has more to do with a new generation of American golfers than with any task force created to try to stop European domination in biennial matches.
Finau offered himself as an example as the team’s third-oldest player. He has just turned 32. He played his first Ryder Cup in France three years ago. This qualifies him as one of the more experienced players as only three of his American teammates have played more.
If Americans want a culture change, now is the right time to start.
“We have a whole new team,” Finau said. “We have a team without scar tissue. There are only a handful of us who have even played in a Ryder Cup, and a few of them have winning records. So actually we don’t have guys on our team who have lost a lot in the Ryder Cups.
They haven’t lost the pressure that invariably comes with being the best team on paper, either. Although they have lost nine of the last 12 times since 1995 – two years before the birth of US qualifying leader and two-time major champion Collin Morikawa – they are betting favorites.
“Everyone is playing golf right now and this is really the key to earning points,” said Daniel Berger, one of the six rookies on the US team. “There are 11 other players you could throw at me and I would feel completely confident and trustworthy that if they were to hit a big hit or put a big putt they could do it. That’s a big key for us. .
Europe’s response may as well be a collective yawn.
A team searches for the secret formula to win. The other continues to perfect it.
The Europeans spent most of the week throwing golf balls into the air off the first tee to determine the teams for their practice rounds. Their uniforms sported the green and gold of the Green Bay Packers one day, and they were throwing foam Cheesehead hats at the crowd. Ian Poulter was among those tossing golf balls at the gallery on Thursday.
No one seems to be having so much fun, a product of winning so often. And then it tends to switch on Friday for the first of five sessions that determine who will win the gold trophy.
“I don’t think our switch toggles as much as you think,” said Paul Casey. “It’s only gaining momentum. Maybe there are a little less noticeable smiles. But we still try to have the time of our lives and play amazing golf.… We are methodical, mindful of details We try to leave no stone unturned because we know the margins are so small.
“We all know it can come down to a putt or a fraction of a hit every day. “
The margin really hasn’t been that small since what the Europeans call the “Miracle in Medinah” in 2012, when they recovered from a 10-6 deficit behind Ian Poulter’s inspired play and key putts. Justin Rose and Martin’s Sunday. Kaymer.
Europe grabbed five- and seven-point wins at Gleneagles in Scotland and at Golf National outside Paris, while the Americans took home a win at Hazeltine with a five-point victory.
An American victory could be the start of a new culture of victory with newcomers like FedEx Cup champion Patrick Cantlay and Olympic gold medalist Xander Sc Chaudele, longtime friends Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas, the great hitter Bryson DeChambeau and four-time major champion Brooks Koepka. The average age is 29, the youngest ever for an American team.
“They have outperformed us in a lot of Ryder Cups and that’s the mold we want to change going forward,” said Finau. “And that’s why I say it’s a big deal.”
What if that doesn’t happen?
Finau is no stranger to setbacks. He went more than five years without winning until he made a significant breakthrough to start the FedEx Cup qualifiers. He attributed the victory to Liberty National to never losing faith even as he heard questions about the possibility of finishing the job.
It’s not much different from what the U.S. Ryder Cup team is up against.
“I see a change in culture. I see a change in the American teams, ”said Finau. “I hope this week the culture of not getting the job done in the Ryder Cup will change this week.”
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