Con­fi­dent US learns from past

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

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 to­mor­row’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 well.”

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 last­day 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. – AFP

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