The Europeans have a different relationship with the Ryder Cup, and it’s integral to their domination of the event the last two decades.
That’s the view of NBC’s Johnny Miller and Golf Channel’s Frank Nobilo as they prepare for television coverage of the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in Scotland next week. Europe will be seeking to win or retain the cup for the sixth time in the last seven tries and the eighth time in the last 10.
“My slant on it is that Europe is definitely more of a family, and they love the Ryder Cup matches,” Miller said. “They just cannot wait. I mean, the press starts talking about the Ryder Cup the week after the Ryder Cup, and it's two years away. It's just a love fest. It's a team love fest. I think the U.S., they like each other, and they get to know each other better, but I think it's more of a `Gotta win’ It’s not so much that I love to put my thumb out there and hit it with a hammer.”
Nobilo says the Ryder Cup is the “lifeblood of the European Tour.” He said former European Tour executive director Ken Schofield once summed up the cup’s meaning to Europeans quite well.
“Ken Schofield used to say the Ryder Cup is Europe's Tiger Woods, and if you listen to the words of an Ian Poulter, you believe that,” Nobilo said. “They've always been the perennial underdog, and even though on paper this year they might look slightly superior, I think the old Winston Churchill attitude comes in. I think they'd like to be underdogs, even if they're not, because they play better that way.
“There's such a fine line between trying not to lose and trying to win, and I think that's always been the difference for the European side. When you have your back against the wall, you just fight, and that's what I think has always made them so dangerous.”
Golf Channel’s David Feherty believes European fans no longer perceive their team as underdogs.
“The thing about the European team is whether or not they think they should be a heavy favorite,” Feherty said. “The home crowd, that's how they perceive them. They should win. It’s as simple as that. And they're under a great deal more pressure than the Americans.”