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Loaded U.S. face tough Ryder Cup test against battle-hardened Europe

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KOHLER, Wisconsin, Sept 20 (Reuters) – Home benefit for a largely inexperienced U.S. staff versus European ardour might be one of many compelling storylines on this week’s Ryder Cup between two star-studded groups at Whistling Straits.

The Americans could have six Ryder Cup rookies on their 12-man staff who will try to reclaim the trophy against a close-knit and battle-tested European aspect which have largely dominated the biennial match play competitors over the past 4 a long time.

Despite a slew of recent faces, the U.S. don’t lack for expertise given a median world rating of 9 in comparison with 30 for Europe, however American struggles to play as a unit on the Ryder Cup have develop into an all too acquainted chorus.

“The fact that the Americans have only won five times in 38 years has us all wondering can this juggernaut of an American team … beat that team,” NBC Sports golf analyst and former U.S. Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger stated on a convention name.

“Because (Europe are) going to show up as a bonded team, and our guys are going to show up — I don’t know how they’re going to show up. They’re going to show up as the best players.”

World quantity two Dustin Johnson, taking part in in a team-high fifth Ryder Cup, headlines a U.S. squad whose rookies embody British Open winner Collin Morikawa, Olympic champion Xander Schauffele and PGA Tour Player of the Year Patrick Cantlay.

A potential distraction forward of Friday’s begin could possibly be the well-documented frosty relationship between Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka, who U.S. captain Steve Stricker has stated will doubtless not be paired collectively in the course of the three-day occasion.

The narrative that the Americans lack the chemistry loved by Europe will doubtless stay a standard theme this week, maybe much more given Koepka instructed Golf Digest the Ryder Cup threw off his routine and that he won’t be lower out for staff sports.

Even if the U.S. staff are capable of finding the suitable method and silence questions on chemistry, they may nonetheless have their work lower out against opponents who’ve managed to persistently type a cohesive unit and sometimes thrive within the staff format.

“Look, I’ll believe this forever — the Europeans are bonded by blood. They’re bonded naturally. This means everything to them,” stated Azinger. “It’s sad really that this American side has gotten beaten like that, but (Europe) bring an intangible with them. It’s a fact.”

‘SENSE OF FREEDOM’

Europe could have seven returning gamers from the 2018 staff that triumphed in Paris, led by Spanish world primary Jon Rahm, Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy and Englishman Tyrrell Hatton, their solely top-20 representatives together with Norway’s Viktor Hovland.

Also within the staff are Spaniard Sergio Garcia, a veteran of 9 Ryder Cups and Europe’s all-time main factors scorer, and Englishman Ian Poulter, who is named “the Postman” given his knack for delivering essential factors within the competitors.

Still, regardless of being the defending champions and having 5 gamers with four-plus Ryder Cup appearances, Europe are once more being perceived as clear underdogs due partially to the present type and lofty rating of their opponents.

“The European side seems to take this underdog role and mentality and use it to their advantage, whether they’re playing at home or in the U.S.,” stated NBC Sports analyst and former U.S. Ryder Cup participant Justin Leonard.

“With that comes a sense of freedom, of well we’re not really expected to win, so let’s go out and play freely. And I think you see that time and again at every Ryder Cup.”

Europe, led by captain Padraig Harrington, undoubtedly face a difficult job on American soil the place the U.S. have misplaced solely 4 occasions for the reason that matches started in 1927.

The Americans took a current journey to Whistling Straits, a links-style format sculpted alongside two miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, to get a really feel for the setup however Azinger stated Mother Nature may make for a a lot completely different course this week.

“If the wind blows, I think they’re going to lose any advantage, really mainly on the greens,” he stated.

“Everybody can handle the wind tee to green, but on the green somehow Europe makes all those putts in the wind.”

The Ryder Cup was postponed final yr due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, enhancing by Ed Osmond

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 Aug 26, 2021; Owings Mills, Maryland, USA; Dustin Johnson plays his shot from a sand trap on the second hole during the first round of the BMW Championship golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports/File photo

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