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The biggest storyline heading into this month’s Ryder Cup is the U.S. team traveling to Europe in looking to return across the pond with the cup in hand for the first time since 1993. The American’s 30-year drought in Ryder Cups played on foreign soil will be talked about ad nauseam, but as Justin Thomas recently alluded to, it’s impossible to ignore.
To put the U.S. drought in European Ryder Cups into perspective, of the 12 Americans on this year’s team, only six were alive when the U.S. last hoisted the cup in Europe. Of the six, 36-year-old Brian Harman may have been the only one not still in diapers.
The U.S. team is the favorite to win this year’s Ryder Cup, but plenty of American squads have been favored over the years only to be smacked around in Europe.
Thomas, who was one of six captain’s picks for this year’s team, is treading the line carefully between being confident and overconfident.
“I’m confident but I’m not going to be the person telling you that it’s over, done or coming home. I obviously have all the faith in the world in whatever team we take over to Rome but again, we have had so many teams that statistically on paper are better than the European team but lost,” Thomas told Golfweek.
“It’s just like the golf course conditions, everyone is just going to have to adapt. Hopefully, we will all get used to it quickly but I know no matter what the makeup of the two teams is, it’s going to be extremely difficult and a friendly but hostile environment with passionate fans which hopefully myself and the rest of the guys are looking forward to and embracing. It is going to be one heck of a battle.”
Justin Thomas Is Confident, But Not Xander Schauffele Confident
While Thomas is taking a more tame approach, at least publically, ahead of the battle with Europe his teammate Xander Schauffele has been much more vocal about how the Americans will jump across the pond and take care of business.
“People told me we haven’t won since before I was born. I think that’s great, because I don’t really care. I don’t think anyone really cares,” Schauffele said.
“Nothing special,” Schauffele said after being asked what it will take to win in Italy. “It may sound weird, but we didn’t do anything special at Whistling Straits.”
The 2023 Ryder Cup will get underway on September 29 from Marco Simone in Rome, and it has all the makings of yet another blockbuster.
Follow Mark Harris on Twitter @ItIsMarkHarris