American Golfers Say They’ve Forgotten 2012 Ryder Cup CollapseChristopher Elser
American golfers Jim Furyk and Bubba Watson said their team’s record-tying collapse at the last Ryder Cup won’t affect play when this year’s tournament starts later this week.
The pair were members of the U.S. squad that was leading going into the final day of play when the teams last met two years ago in Medinah Country Club outside Chicago. The Europeans took eight and drew one of the 12 singles matches to comeback and win.
The sport’s top men’s team event starts in two days at Scotland’s Gleneagles resort. Europe, the two-time defending champions, are favored by bookmakers after the 2012 collapse, which equaled an American comeback in 1999 at Brookline, Massachusetts.
“It was a learning experience,” Furyk said at a press conference yesterday. “I’ve been on both sides, the comeback side and the not-so-pleasant side. It’s two totally different squads. I really don’t think the 24 guys need any more inspiration.”
The hosts have four of the top five golfers in the world, led by No. 1 Rory McIlroy. The Americans -- who have higher average individual rankings -- haven’t won the event outside the U.S. in 21 years.
European captain Paul McGinley selected Stephen Gallacher, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood to join automatic qualifiers Thomas Bjorn, Jamie Donaldson, Victor Dubuisson, Sergio Garcia, Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson.
They’ll be addressed tonight by Alex Ferguson, the former coach of Manchester United, the record 19-time English soccer champions.
The U.S. squad consists of Keegan Bradley, Hunter Mahan and Webb Simpson, and then automatic qualifiers Watson, Rickie Fowler, Furyk, Jimmy Walker, Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed and Zach Johnson.
American captain Tom Watson said that this year’s tournament was “a redemption trip” for the players. The comeback at Medinah gave Europe its fifth win in the last six editions of the event. The only American win in that span came in 2008 when Tiger Woods was sidelined by injury. Woods won’t be playing this year.
Bubba Watson said the members of the squad are focused on winning back the trophy, not the results from two years ago.
“I’m not worried about what happened a few years ago,” Bubba Watson said. “If I did that, I’d be a terrible golfer, because I’ve lost a lot.”