By Mark Lamport-Stokes
The ploy by the United States to draw extra motivation from a stinging loss to Europe at Medinah two years ago could prove to be “a double-edged sword” for them at the Ryder Cup in Scotland, Justin Rose has said.
US captain Tom Watson has already pinpointed that 2012 defeat outside Chicago as a focal point for his team, saying the Americans will be driven to make amends for one of their most harrowing experiences in the biennial competition.
“It could be very powerful, and it could be exactly the right thing to do – or it could lead to a lot of frustration if they get off to a bad start,” Englishman Rose said of the US tactic.
“Either way, it’s a ploy, it’s a tactic that is probably the right one but if the Europeans can get an upper hand, it’s going to feel very similar to what they have faced probably the last 10, 15 years,” the world number five added.
The Americans have had very little to celebrate at the Ryder Cup over the past 20 years, losing seven times in the last nine editions with their most recent victory coming on home soil at Valhalla in 2008.
At Medinah, they were seemingly poised to clinch a rare win when leading by four points going into the last-day singles, but the Europeans pulled off one of the greatest team comebacks on a golf course to triumph by 14-1/2 points to 13-1/2.
“I can tell you that all the players I have talked to, every one of them without a doubt, had one thing to say about the Ryder Cup,” Watson said about what came to be known as the ‘Meltdown at Medinah’.
“They want to go back and make amends for what happened at Medinah. Our team has that one focus. The Europeans played great in the last round in 2012 and that was a hard loss for the American players and it still sticks with a lot of them.”
The hosting Europeans, who have four of the top six ranked players in the world in their 12-man line-up, are being billed heavy favourites for the September 26-28 matches at Gleneagles.
Former US Open champion Rose, however, does not buy into the notion of Ryder Cup favourites and underdogs.
“We’ve got a good team and we believe in our team but I think the US has a good team with some naturally strong pairings and partnerships,” said the 34-year-old, who will represent Europe for a third time in the competition.
“The last two Ryder Cups have come down to one point, each time, so I don’t really buy into favourites, I don’t really buy into all of that stuff.
“It’s going to be the team who wants it the most on the week and is prepared to dig deep for it that I think is going to be the team that wins. There will be no false sense of security from the Europeans’ point of view.”
Rose is especially thrilled by the prospect of competing in his first Ryder Cup on European soil, having made his debut on a losing team at Valhalla in 2008 before savouring success at Medinah two years ago.
“I am really excited,” said the Englishman, who has achieved an impressive win-loss-half record of 6-3-0 at the Ryder Cup where he is unbeaten in the singles, having twice beaten Phil Mickelson.
“It’s going to be my first Ryder Cup playing in front of a home crowd and hopefully the energy of that will really spur me on at Gleneagles.”