Europe paint a rosy picture of their own

Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy poses for a photo at Hazeltine. He arrives on the back of winning the USPGA's season-ending Tour Championship.
Northern Irishman Rory McIlroy poses for a photo at Hazeltine. He arrives on the back of winning the USPGA's season-ending Tour Championship.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

Garcia and McIlroy motivated to help Europe beat 'best golf team assembled' on US soil

CHASKA (Minnesota) • Sergio Garcia and Rory McIlroy fired up European passions on Tuesday at the Ryder Cup, taking exception to US captain Davis Love III's contention that his Americans might be the best team ever.

"At the end of the day, you don't win Ryder Cups with your mouth," the Spaniard Garcia said.

"You win them out there on the golf course and that's where we'll see which team is the best."

European teams have won three consecutive Ryder Cups, seeking an unprecedented fourth in a row this week at Hazeltine, while the Americans have lost eight of the last 10.

But Love felt confident enough in his roster last Friday to tell a golf radio interviewer: "We're a great team. This is maybe the best golf team ever assembled."

His words added inspiration for a Europe side not lacking it.

"They are pretty much motivating factors," Garcia added.

"You know what they say opinions are like - we all have one. Everybody is allowed to have their own opinions. That's what they think. We know what we have."

BIG TALK

At the end of the day, you don't win Ryder Cups with your mouth. You win them out there on the golf course and that's where we'll see which team is best.

SERGIO GARCIA , Spain's world No. 12 golfer, reacting to comments made by US Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III that he could have the best team ever.

World No. 3 McIlroy, Europe's top-ranked player, is coming off a victory at the US PGA's season-ending Tour Championship.

And the Northern Irishman tossed his own barbs at the US notion of Ryder Cup supremacy before tomorrow's opening tee shots.

"I've followed everything and I've had a bit of fun with it, the task force and greatest team ever assembled and whatever else they are talking about," McIlroy said.

"Whenever we are going up against one of the greatest teams ever assembled, that's motivation enough. How good a victory would this be if we go out and beat these guys on home soil?"

The Americans have four of the world's top 10 in Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed and Rickie Fowler. All 12 players are ranked in the world's top 31. Europe have five of the world's top 12.

McIlroy noted that in terms of worldwide victories this year, Europe players have taken 12 to nine by the Americans.

The Majors were split even at two for each roster - Danny Willett and Henrik Stenson for Europe, Johnson and Jimmy Walker for the United States.

"Our team is more than ready to handle the occasion, to handle what we need to do," McIlroy said.

He added that team spirit "comes naturally" for the Europeans as compare to their counterparts.

"You've got Jack Nicklaus inviting all the Americans over to his house for dinner and trying to sort of really bond the team together which I think is a really great thing for them," said McIlroy.

"But we've never really needed to do that. That's always just been a natural fit for us and a natural thing to do. I don't think it's hard for us to find motivation."

Europe captain Darren Clarke was subtle in his dismissing the notion of a US super team, pointing out the successes of his own talent this year.

"We have the Masters champion (England's Willett), the Open champion (Sweden's Stenson), the Olympic champion (England's Justin Rose) and the (FedExCup) champion (McIlroy)," he said. "I've got full confidence in our team."

England's Andy Sullivan, the lowest-ranked player in the event at 50th, was willing to grant the hosts an edge on paper but warned Europe has a tough history when unfancied.

"On paper they are an unbelievable side," he said.

"You look at it for most years and Europe go in as the underdogs. As the recent years have shown they have done pretty well out of it. Hopefully that's a common theme and we get the job done this year."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 29, 2016, with the headline 'Europe paint a rosy picture of their own'. Print Edition | Subscribe