Kiawah Island (United States) (AFP)
Ryder Cup organizers said on Tuesday they were optimistic to have full crowds and a party atmosphere during the September showdown, while European captain Padraig Harrington is focusing more on the event.
The biennial golf clash between the United States and Europe, delayed for a year by Covid-19, is scheduled for September 24-26 at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.
“We are very optimistic and optimistic that we will be able to have a full participation,” Kerry Haigh, PGA Championship Director of America, said Tuesday at the PGA Championship.
Holders Europe have won seven of the last nine games, the most recent of which was in France in 2018.
PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh wants this Cup to be a big celebration of overtaking Covid-19 by having Vocal Cup viewers in full song in Whistling Straits.
“Our plan is for this to be the greatest Ryder Cup in history. I think the world as we’ve seen it is ready to throw a party, ”Waugh said.
“This will really be the first time to encourage your country, to have that kind of tribal atmosphere – in person anyway – that is so important.
“We hope September will be one of the great events in golf and a kind of exclamation mark at the end of this affair.
“I realize the world still has a lot of challenges ahead, but from the US perspective, we’re really hopeful that we can get there. “
Ireland’s Harrington, a three-time major winner, finds himself spending more time talking and training with the candidates for captain’s picks.
“I’m more focused on the Ryder Cup now,” he said. “My team seems to be reasonably settled in the top nine, and it seems most guys are playing to impress me. “
European Ryder Cup points leaders are England’s Tommy Fleetwood and Tyrrell Hatton, Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy and Spaniard Jon Rahm while world points would add Norwegian Viktor Hovland, Englishman Lee Westwood, Paul Casey and Matthew Fitzpatrick and Frenchman Victor Perez.
Harrington knows what will make the biggest impression on him.
“When it comes to the Ryder Cup, the best thing my players could do for me is win majors,” said Harrington.
“I’ve tried to say and get everyone to understand, their goal right now is to play well in the next three majors and the Olympics… and then hopefully hold something back in its late climax. September. “
A major’s first chance is Kiawah Island Week and Harrington wants to let players focus on that rather than mentioning the Ryder Cup.
“This is not the week to get into guys’ heads,” he said. “It’s not the week to have dinners and things like that. It’s a tournament week, serious business for these guys. “
– Westwood’s taste for it –
Harrington also sees the Tokyo Olympics as an intense test.
“The Olympics create this pressure and tension. Winning an Olympic medal is a big deal, ”said Harrington. “If a player can go out and win at the Olympics, he’s the kind of player I want on the first tee of a Ryder Cup. “
Westwood, a 10-time Ryder Cup player and seven-time winner, is happy to be back in the squad at 48 after serving as assistant captain in Paris.
“I have a pretty solid position in the team right now,” Westwood said. “When I was vice-captain in Paris I said, ‘There is something worse than playing practice rounds at the Ryder Cup, and that is watching other people do it. “
“If you’ve played the Ryder Cup you just want to be involved all the time. Once you’ve gotten a taste of it, you don’t want to give up. “
Westwood has often teamed up with Spaniard Sergio Garcia, a Masters winner who could be in line for a captain’s pick to make his 10th Ryder Cup appearance.
“Sergio has always been a great competitor in the Ryder Cup,” said Westwood. “It’s hard to see a Ryder Cup without Sergio. “
© 2021 AFP