Donald hoping home support helps extend USA's Ryder Cup European hoodoo

ROME: Luke Donald said Monday that he hopes passionate home support can make the difference for Europe in the Ryder Cup this weekend as the United States try to break a three-decade winless streak on the opposing side of the Atlantic Ocean.

The USA's last win in Europe came in 1993 and Donald is hoping to maintain that unbeaten home run after a record-breaking 19-9 win for the Americans at Whistling Straits two years ago.

Thousands of European fans will be present when the tournament tees off on Friday at the Marco Simone course just outside Rome, unlike in 2021 when the Covid-19 pandemic greatly reduced Europe's support in Wisconsin.

"Certainly, being at home we know that's an advantage. It's an advantage to us having that support, that crowd behind you is helpful. It picks up your energy as a player," Europe captain Donald told reporters.

"We're looking forward to having a lot more support this time round, it was certainly lacking a lot because of Covid two years ago."

Donald was named captain last year after Henrik Stenson was removed from the role following his defection to Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf, and Englishman Donald is without Ryder Cup icons Sergio García, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter for the same reason.

Jon Rahm said that the European team would be "stupid" not to use the experience of record Ryder Cup points scorer Garcia this week.

"You know the situation with Sergio. He resigned his membership five months ago, and once that happened he was ineligible," said Donald.

"We know what the DP World Tour rules are too, once you resign you cannot reapply for membership until the following year. Those things will be decided in the future, right now I'm just concentrating on my 12 guys that I have this week."

Zach Johnson said that his USA team, which contains seven of the same players from 2021's crushing win, won't be affected by the long winless run on European soil.

The 47-year-old lost four of the five Ryder Cups he participated in as a player, including the "Miracle at Medinah" win for Europe in 2012, and says his players are ready to make him a winning captain.

"It's hard to win outside of your comfort zone. It's hard to win against a team that's always been very formidable. It's really just that simple," said Johnson.

"I know what history says, I'm very aware of that. At same time I can speak confidently, and talking to my team these guys are ready and want to embrace that difficulty and want to look at this as great opportunity.

"The teams of the past are the teams of the past, this is a new team with a new opportunity."--AFP

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