Our man on the ground at Whistling Straits, Garrett Johnson, assesses how Ryder Cup week is shaping up...
Early week observations from the 43rd Ryder Cup
So what to make of this Ryder Cup? Will Europe’s dominance in winning seven of the last nine continue?
It may, but if you look at the forecast Whistling Straits with very little rough and playing a par 71 at 7,390 yards would seem to favor the American bombers.
2014 European winning captain Paul McGinley said as much to Golf Monthly on Tuesday afternoon.
“If the weather stays like this (75 degrees and no wind) it’ll be all U.S. all day,” McGinley said confidently.
“But thankfully the wind is supposed to come up later this week and that should really help Team Europe.”
The weather calls for a cloudy Thursday with 21 mph winds followed by a partly cloudy opening round on Friday with 14 mph winds and slightly overcast with 21 mph winds on Saturday.
“If the wind blows at 30 mph around here, Phil Mickelson could win on this golf course,” McGinley said in reference to players of older age and slightly less distance being able to do well on this course.
For Team Europe, those players include four in their forties in Westwood, Poulter, Casey, and Garcia.
Golf Channel host Damon Hack is impressed with Team Europe’s camaraderie again this year, but he does have concerns about what those four veterans are capable of.
“My only question is whether the four 40-somethings can make enough putts over the three days,” Hack told Golf Monthly on Wednesday.
One has to wonder how much those four in particular are using these practice days to tune up or conserve for their matches.
Sergio Garcia, for example, played eighteen holes with Jon Rahm, Shane Lowry, and Tyrrell Hatton on Wednesday and didn’t hit every single tee shot.
Perhaps a smart move by the mercurial Spaniard to conserve some energy for what he knows very well to be a long week.
Poulter practiced until well into the early evening on Tuesday and enjoyed some friendly banter with American fans as he left the putting green, taking some selfies with them as well.
At least early in the week Poulter looked fresh, loose and up for the task.
Should be a wonderful week.
Garrett Johnston is a Golf Monthly contributor based in Washington, DC. You can follow him on Twitter @JohnstonGarrett. He’s covered over 30 major championships and three Ryder Cups. The 2012 Miracle at Medinah remains his favorite event he’s attended to this day.