Europe have not suffered defeat as hosts since Birmingham 1993. “This support gives you as a player extra energy that you can benefit from,” said Europe captain Luke Donald. Around 45,000 fans are expected at the Marco Simone Golf & Country Club every day, with the majority cheering on Straka and Co. The support was also noticeable in Wednesday training.
“You can feel the support, there are also a lot of Austrian flags outside. That always feels good and is something special,” said Straka in an APA interview after his training round. He probably hasn’t played in a tournament so close to home since competing at the Lyoness Open in Atzenbrugg in 2017. On Wednesday he was allowed to try holes ten through 18 after completing a full round the day before.
The Ryder Cup adventure begins for Straka
For Sepp Straka, the Ryder Cup adventure began with the first official training session. Born in Vienna, he quickly made friends with the Marco Simone Golf & Country Club near Rome. The joy of the cup is great.
“It went quite well, the place is in incredibly good condition, it was great fun,” reported the 30-year-old. With each passing day he becomes more comfortable with the course. “Every round helps, especially because of the course management,” said Straka. He likes holes five and 16 to 18 and describes iron play as very important. “You have to get the ball into the fairway, otherwise you have no chance at all,” said the ÖGV star. To get it there you need good iron. “My iron game is generally quite good, so hopefully that’s a good prerequisite.”
44th edition starts in foursome
The 44th edition opens on Friday with the Foursome discipline, in which players in teams of two take turns hitting the same ball. Team Europe made a conscious decision to do so. “Statistically we are better in foursomes, and in the Ryder Cup it is very important to get off to a good start,” said Donald. It is likely that Straka will intervene immediately. “I think so, but you don’t know until the lineup is finalized,” Straka said.
Reuters/Carl Recine Around 45,000 fans are expected at the Marco Simone Golf & Country Club every day
The US-Austrian dual citizen has no partner wishes, although in foursome a lot depends on the other player. “It’s sometimes difficult to find a rhythm because you’re always hitting a different shot and then you might go eight or nine holes without a real putt. “It’s extremely difficult,” explained the world number 22. After four foursome games, four doubles follow in the fourball format, in which both golfers in a team of two hit their own ball and the better score per hole counts.
“Fourball is about making as many birdies as possible. “It’s a completely different thing mentally, but I don’t have a preference,” said Straka. Four more games follow on Saturday before the singles on Sunday, in which all twelve players per team tee off. The plan is for all European players to be used before the individual matches, Donald revealed. But nothing is set in stone.
“Incredibly good chemistry in the team”
Straka is also in good spirits because of the “incredibly good chemistry in the team”. “I do think we are in better shape. “We’re all playing pretty good golf and hopefully the next few days too,” said the ÖGV athlete. For Europe, there is also a gap to be eliminated after the bitter 9:19 in Whistling Straits 2021. Rory McIlroy is one of the players who was there then and now again. Straka has already gotten “some advice” from him and Dustin Rose, as he is one of the four rookies. There are so many on the US team.
Things to know and mode
“The rookies have played successfully in big tournaments, they will be able to handle the pressure well,” said Donald. He himself could be a guarantee of success. In 2004, 2006, 2010 and 2012 he always won the title when he took part as a player. The guests, coached by Zach Johnson, have the world number one in Scottie Scheffler, and six squad players are in the top ten. In addition to McIlroy (2nd), Europe’s hopes rest in Jon Rahm (3rd) and Viktor Hovland (4th). “There are few weak points in both,” said Straka.
Everyone will be sweating on the “pretty hilly golf course” because of the hot weather. Temperatures around 30 degrees are expected on all days. No problem for Straka and Co., who are used to these conditions from the recent PGA tournaments. The last time the home team didn’t prevail was in 2012, when Europe triumphed in Medinah. The winner needs 14.5 points. If the score is 14:14, the defending champion keeps the cup, which is the USA this year.