Golf Digest (South Africa) - - The Golf Life -

DEAL­ING WITH PRES­SURE he pres­sure dy­namic has al­ways fallen in favour of Europe.Amer­ica is still the world’s most dom­i­nant golf na­tion, al­ways has the most star play­ers, and as such al­ways re­sides as the favourite in the col­lec­tive mind. It’s why the Euro­peans seem to en­joy the Ry­der Cup more, and why – in the opin­ion of knowl­edge­able in­sid­ers – the Amer­i­cans do more chok­ing in the Ry­der Cup than any other event.

How to get the pres­sure off, or make it man­age­able, is the pri­mary chal­lenge of the cap­tain. Es­pe­cially in the past two decades, all sorts of ap­proaches have been tried, from 2006 cap­tainTom Lehman’s let’s-talk-aboutit group ther­apy to the Wat­son’s Dar­win­is­tic chal­lenge: Can you han­dle it?

Paul Azinger, harder than Lehman but more col­le­gial thanWat­son,seemed to strike an ef­fec­tive mid­dle ground on his win­ning team in 2008.“In the Ry­der Cup, the play­ers have to be ready to be more ner­vous than they’ve ever been,” he says. “If you think you’ll be able to pre­tend the pres­sure isn’t there, it will hit you even harder. I told them to ac­cept all of it in ad­vance, and get them to un­der­stand that if you’re think­ing the right way, it can ac­tu­ally help you play bet­ter.”

Love’s ap­proach to han­dling pres­sure has been more like Lehman’s – as a player and in his sound­ing-board roles as cap­tain and for­mer as­sis­tant.Will his play­ers con­sider the loss when he was cap­tain at Me­d­i­nah some­thing to avenge, or some­how an ex­ten­sion of the too many times Love didn’t close as a player? At the same time, the as­sis­tant cap­tains at Hazel­tine will pre­sum­ably be more proac­tive, and one of them – Woods – hap­pens to be the ul­ti­mate hard­hearted closer.

One thing is sure: If the Amer­i­cans lose, the cause and ef­fect of the task force will be judged neg­a­tively.And the anal­y­sis – and the crit­i­cism – will be more in­tense than ever. Satur­day, Oct 1 Same for­mat and times as Fri­day. Sun­day, Oct. 2 Twelve sin­gles matches, start­ing at 5.54pm SA time. SCOR­ING Each match is worth one point, with matches end­ing in a draw worth ½ point to each side. The first team to reach 14½ points wins the Ry­der Cup. If the matches end in a 14-14 draw, Europe, as the de­fend­ing cham­pion, would re­tain the cup. US TEAM (8 TO DATE) J B Holmes Dustin John­son Zach John­son Brooks Koepka Phil Mick­el­son Pa­trick Reed Jor­dan Spi­eth Jimmy Walker Davis Love will se­lect three of his four cap­tain’s picks on Sept 11 at the con­clu­sion of the BMW Cham­pi­onship, and his fi­nal pick on Sept 25 after the Tour Cham­pi­onship. FU­TURE RY­DER CUP VENUES 2018 Le Golf Na­tional, Ver­sailles, France 2020 Whistling Straits (Straits), Kohler, Wis­con­sin 2022 Marco Si­mone G&CC, Rome 2024 Beth­page Black, Farm­ing­dale, New York RE­SULTS The United States has a 25-13-2 record over­all, but since the Great Bri­tain & Ire­land team added the rest of Europe in 1979, the Euro­peans are 10-7-1, in­clud­ing con­sec­u­tive wins at Celtic Manor, Me­d­i­nah and Gle­nea­gles. 2014 STATIS­TICS Key statis­tics in Europe’s 16½-11½ vic­tory at Gle­nea­gles: • In 462 holes, Europe won 119 holes to the US team’s 104, tak­ing the first lead in 16 of 28 matches. • On matches go­ing to the last three holes, Europe had a 15-11-20 ad­van­tage. • On matches go­ing to the 18th hole, Europe led, 5-4-2. • The teams tied on par 3s (21-21-57) and par 4s (66-66144). On par 5s, Europe led, 32-17-38. • Europe led in holes won with a birdie or bet­ter (86-76) and holes won with a par (3327). The US team won the only hole cap­tured with a bo­gey or worse. HAZEL­TINE AMONG THE 100 GREAT­EST Hazel­tine is ranked 86th among Golf Digest’s 100 Great­est Cour­ses in the United States. MA­JOR EVENTS AT HAZEL­TINE Ry­der Cup 2016 PGA Cham­pi­onship 2002, 2009 US Open 1970, 1991 US Women’s Open 1966, 1977 US Se­nior Open 1983 US Am­a­teur 2006

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