Paul Azinger On Why Europe Has The Advantage

We speak to Paul Azinger, Jimmy Roberts and Damon Hack ahead of the Ryder Cup...

Paul Azinger smiles
(Image credit: Getty Images)

We speak to Paul Azinger, Jimmy Roberts and Damon Hack ahead of the Ryder Cup...

This week’s Ryder Cup venue Whistling Straits stands right atop Lake Michigan, a body of water which typically produces an array of windy conditions.

As such, the forecast seemingly changes by the day.

But as it stands now, Friday’s opening Ryder Cup matches are expected to be played in 18mph winds throughout the day.

And the weather forecast has certainly garnered the attention of 2008 winning U.S. Ryder Cup captain and now NBC analyst Paul Azinger.

“I think if we were playing the Ryder Cup in a dome it would be a huge advantage for the American side,” Azinger told Golf Monthly on Thursday at Whistling Straits.

“Then the U.S. could just play their normal game.”

Azinger was made aware of Paul McGinley’s comments to Golf Monthly about the weather conditions assisting the European cause and said he fully agreed with the 2014 Ryder Cup Europe captain on the U.S.’s advantage in calm conditions.

“However, with all of this wind coming in as expected for (today) and Saturday (16 mph), the Americans will be expected to play a different style of golf,” Azinger said.

“When you look at the European side with wind-tested players like Shane Lowry and Tommy Fleetwood, they are tremendous in the windy weather.

"We know they’re ready for it and they want to bring it on.”

Azinger then recalled that those two Team Europe stars played together during the final group of the windy and rainy 2019 Open Championship at Royal Portrush, so no surprise that they may feel at home at least in heavy winds at Whistling Straits.

We’ll soon see how those young players will handle the pressure of their first Ryder Cups on foreign soil (Fleetwood) and first Ryder Cup in general (Lowry).

Related: Ryder Cup Betting Tips 2021

The topic of young players on the U.S. side continues to be a point of discussion for this Ryder Cup.

With six rookies, how might this impressive team do with so many unproven Ryder Cuppers?

“I don’t think it’s going to make one damn bit of difference,” longtime NBC announcer Jimmy Roberts told Golf Monthly on Thursday.

“The Ryder Cup has so many variables no matter how many years of experience each player brings. It’s just so hard to predict.

"Yes, they are younger players but I don’t think that’s necessarily a disadvantage.”

Golf Channel and NBC commentator Damon Hack agreed with Roberts’ perspective.

“I gotta think the youth of the U.S. actually helps the team. There’s less scar tissue, fresh blood, and new voices in the team room,” Hack said.

“That might help to close the gap against a European team that seems to bond and perform as if it is a birthright.”

Garrett Johnston is a Golf Monthly contributor and host of the Beyond the Clubhouse podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @JohnstonGarrett. He’s covered over 30 major championship and three Ryder Cups. The 2012 Miracle at Medinah remains his favorite event he’s ever attended to this day.

Garrett Johnston

Garrett Johnston is a golf reporter and presenter who’s covered pro golf for 12 years including over 30 majors. His goal each year is always to “grow with the rookies” on Tour. The idea is to get to know the superstars before they become household names. Tony Finau, Gary Woodland, and Patrick Reed are just some of the players Johnston has covered from their early pro careers for their hometown newspapers. Johnston’s favorite event is always The Open, and he credits his unforgettable experience covering the 2015 Open at St. Andrews where he got to interview Tom Watson (in his final Open) and winner Zach Johnson exclusively throughout the week as his favorite event so far. Johnston has also developed a strong rapport with Tour caddies and regularly contributes to Caddie Network and He also has his own podcast: Beyond The Clubhouse