Bjørn - We don't fear anyone
Thomas Bjørn insists Europe will have no fear when they attempt to regain the Ryder Cup from the United States at Le Golf National this week.
The Americans won the trophy two years ago at Hazeltine National for just the second time in eight Ryder Cups but arrive in Paris with two reigning Major Champions and the World Number One in their ranks.
Europe have plenty of firepower of their own with Open Champion Francesco Molinari and World Number Two Justin Rose among their Team, and they have not lost on home soil for 25 years.
European Captain Bjørn and American counterpart Jim Furyk faced the glare of the world's media on Monday as expectation builds for Friday's first tee-shots and while the mood was friendly, it was clear both men had a steely determination to lead a winning side.
"These are 24 of the best players in the world and when they go up against each other they are all capable of amazing things on both sides," he said.
"We don't fear anyone because we've played against them so many times before individually but we respect our opponents and know what we are up against.
"That I think is the key to all this. We'll go out and do what we can and play our game. What stands on the other side we know is one of the strongest American Teams of all time and we know we've got to play our best to come up against this Team and that's what's in front of us.
"We don't hide behind what we are and who we are and what we do together and that's what it's all about this week.
"We do what we do as a European Team and then we go out and take that on on the golf course and that's all 12 Americans. It's not one individual. It's the whole Team that we are up against."
Both Teams were handed a boost on Sunday as Rose won the FedEx Cup on the US PGA Tour, with 14-time Major Champion Tiger Woods taking the Tour Championship for his first win in five years.
That only ramped up an expectation that is already almost at fever pitch, and both skippers were glad to finally get the week under way.
"We're here," said Bjørn. "It's been 18, 20 months of hard work. The last month or so has just gone so quick mand now, all of a sudden, you sit in this situation on the Monday of the week and all your plans and preparations have to live its life this week.
"But everybody's here. Everybody's happy and everybody's in a good place and two great Teams. So I'm sure it's going to be a fantastic week for everybody involved and just looking forward to it, really. Very, very much anticipating what's ahead of us."
Furyk added: "I think it's exciting. It's been a long time coming. I think the year, probably, to feel like it was plodding along slowly and maybe got quicker here in the last four to six weeks but it's exciting to get the Team on the plane and there's a buzz in the air last night.
"Flight made it here just fine. I think the guys got some rest so it's nice to be here and obviously a long time coming. Just looking forward to the week."
With the first tee-time almost upon us, the end of a long road is in sight for two Captains who know their every move and decision will be highly scrutinised this week.
Both men are confident in their preparations and pairings but Bjørn admits he has had some sleepless nights over the past two years.
"I think you prepare yourself 80, 90 per cent and then you know there's a few little bits that can move as the week progresses," he said. "There's a lot of things that can happen with the players and to the players in a week like this.
"In your mind, you're very set on where you want to go with it and something uncharacteristic has to happen if you're going to change it but you're pretty much set in your mind where it's all going to go.
"Both Jim and I have been in this for a long time and I'm sure Jim has spent as much time as I have waking up in the middle of the night thinking, 'well, this works and maybe this works'."
Bjørn's Ryder Cup record is exceptional, with three wins as a player and three as a Vice Captain, with Hazeltine National two years ago being the first time he had ended Sunday on the losing Team.
With that sort of experience he has seen it all and he is looking to use all that experience as he takes on the top job this week.
"I feel like in my role with these players, it's all about them," he said. "I've always taken a position in where I've been on Tour and in the Ryder Cup Teams, it's always been about the 12 players. It's about what they do and I will stand behind them and I will support them and be that person that is with them all the way.
"But it's about them and at times you've got to lead and at times you've got to say, 'well, this is the direction that we are going to go'. But we do this as a group. We are one Team. We are one group of people that has one goal."