What have you learned from past captains on how to make a team gel?
One, the more we can be together as a team, to any capacity, the better. Two, picking a team doesn’t have a perfect formula. There’s current form of play, what the golf course demands, best pairings, experience or lack thereof, and many more aspects. Three, a good team has ownership and investment by its players. That will be a primary goal from the beginning. Having some of these players take on leadership roles — some vocal, some by example — will be paramount.
What was the idea behind the scouting week in Rome before the Ryder Cup?
This is a course that most, if not all, of our guys have not played. To get their feet on the ground of Marco Simone ahead of the Cup was very important. Having practice time there can only make a very trying, different, sometimes difficult week of the Cup that much more manageable and comfortable. Plus, we were together as a team, hanging out, eating together, seeing Rome together, bonding.
You and Luke Donald, the European captain, are contemporaries. Has knowledge from playing against him factored into your decision making?
My friendship or past experiences with Luke on or off the course will not dictate any of my decision making. Neither one of us is hitting any shots.
What will be the biggest challenge of playing in Rome?
The European team is stacked with stars like Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy and Viktor Hovland. We will be playing in front of a hugely partisan crowd in Rome trying to break a 30-year drought by winning away from the United States, playing as an underdog. With this being said, our team sees this as a great test and opportunity to go compete on the grandest stage in golf and bring the Cup back home.