The Ryder Cup means a lot to everyone involved, especially our Team Europe players, who have been telling the media this week just what it means to represent their continent in golf’s biggest team event:
Martin Kaymer tells us why nothing compares to The Ryder Cup. Even winning two Major Championships:
"There's nothing bigger than The Ryder Cup. With the Majors, it's kind of like a selfish win. I won it for myself, for my career, for my caddie. But The Ryder Cup winning putt I made was for thousands of people.
"You know, it's almost like in football where for some people, it's almost like a religion. I was very glad that I got that gift in 2012 to have the opportunity to make something amazing happen in my career that will never happen again. But there's nothing to compare it with, not the U.S. Open, not with any other major."
Sergio Garcia highlights how the Team Europe camaraderie is as strong as ever:
“I look at that team in the locker room, and there’s not a guy I would feel uncomfortable playing with. For me, that says it all.
“I think it has a lot to do with the European Tour. I think that on our Tour the players get closer to each other. When you come out on the European Tour, you share rooms with players and things like that. That doesn't really happen so much here on the PGA Tour.”
Rory McIlroy explains just how much pressure the players feel on that first tee:
“You think you know what it’s like to step onto the first tee, and you think you’ve played under pressure, but you haven’t. You haven’t played under pressure like this.
“It’s an experience that we don't get any other time of the golfing year. You know, we sort of wait once every two years for a moment like that where you get on the first tee. It’s a great rush.”
Justin Rose echoes Sergio Garcia’s sentiments:
“You have 11 other guys, plus the captain and vice captain that you really want to give 100 percent for. And I think that's why in team golf you become a better version of yourself for that particular week.
“I love it. I enjoy The Ryder Cup. I get excited by it and I prepare for it, so it's a big deal to me.”
Age is just a number according to Matt Fitzpatrick:
“I won't be thinking about the fact I’m the youngest guy playing this week. I know I'm the youngest, but like I say, it doesn't enter my mind. Age is just a number. I've already had a few comments about my age this week, but I'm used to it by now.”
It is all about that ‘winning streak’ for Henrik Stenson:
“We are very determined to keep our winning streak going. I mean, that is the goal for the week. We are going to face a tough American Team here on away grounds, but we really want to keep The Ryder Cup in Europe and keep this streak going.”
Being around ‘the best’ has helped rookie Andy Sullivan:
“It's just been incredible. It's really opened my eyes up to a few things in sort of preparation into tournaments and things like that. I think you learn from the best, and this is the stage where I want to be at in my golf game, and I want to learn from the best.”
It is all a dream come true for Spanish rookie Rafa Cabrera Bello:
“I've been dreaming about it all my life really, so that's a little over 30 years. I want to enjoy every second of it. It's a fantastic experience and I'm extremely pleased, honoured and happy to be here. I'm going to try to play my best, the way that I know that I can play and the way that actually got me here.”
Thomas Pieters on getting annoyed by his countryman and former Ryder Cup star Nicolas Colsaerts:
“He was texting me a lot in the build-up, sending me videos for the last three weeks every day. I was getting bored it, it was so annoying… Joking aside Nicolas has been really good with me. Just the main piece of advice he gave me was to enjoy it as much as you can and to smile. He said ‘You worked hard enough to get here and now it's just a matter of enjoying it and playing good golf.’
Lee Westwood on what motivates the players to qualify for The Ryder Cup:
“I think it’s just the pride of representing Europe, the other 11 players on the team, the captain and our Tour, the European Tour. To stick that European sweater on and tee it up and represent Europe is incredible.
“It's a great stage to play golf on and it's a great atmosphere out there. It's an atmosphere like no other tournament in the world.”
Chris Wood on his future Ryder Cup aspirations and on Westwood playing in his 10th Ryder Cup:
“I don't want to be somebody who is just going to play one Ryder Cup. I want to play three, four, five, you know, but that's ten years. I mean, that's a great career. But for Lee to have played double that, it's just unbelievable.”
Masters champion and Ryder Cup rookie Danny Willett on his week so far:
“We’re a very individual sport. We play on our own. We practice on our own. And for one weekend every two years, we come together as a team.
“Because we play a lot of golf in Europe and we're a very closely-knit team, I think that really comes out within this environment. We've got some great people in the backroom staff helping out as well, and it all adds up to some fantastic memories and fantastic experiences.”
Captain Darren Clarke has full confidence in the six rookies on his team:
“Our rookies are probably going to be the future of The Ryder Cup going forward and I feel very fortunate that they are here on this team.
“I have full belief in all those rookies. They are very, very talented players and I'm sure they will do their utmost to respect Europe the best that they can this week.”