Patrick Cantlay vows to use Rome atmosphere as fuel
Patrick Cantlay is relishing the prospect of playing in front of a partisan European crowd when he gets his first taste of an away Ryder Cup at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club, vowing to use the atmosphere as "fuel".
Cantlay made his debut in the biennial showpiece on home soil in 2021, helping the U.S. Team to a resounding victory at Whistling Straits.
He knows the atmosphere will be very different in Rome this time around, with European fans set to turn out in huge numbers to back their side, who have not lost at home since 1993.
But Cantlay believes that all contributes to the unique nature of this contest and he is looking forward to experiencing it.
"I like it," he said. "It's a great change and change of pace from the normal tournaments that we play.
"I think it's definitely the idea to turn it into fuel and try and internalise it and frame it in a way that helps you and propels you forward, as opposed to getting in your way."
Asked how he might react if the home crowd make comments about Cantlay's pace of play, he added: "It would be great. I don't mind.
"Any of that stuff I think just in this format, really, makes it what it is. I mean, you want people to care and try to get under your skin in this tournament, so I'm looking forward to it."
Jordan Spieth is one of just four members of Zach Johnson's Team with experience of playing a Ryder Cup in Europe, alongside Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler and Brooks Koepka.
He said: "It's unique because it's one of the only times the majority of people watching you are rooting against you in golf.
"And that happens in half the games for other sports, but for us it's once every couple of years as an American with Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup.
"So these are very unique, and I try to remember that coming in and really embrace that and try to have a lot of fun with it because although they are rooting against you to make putts, they are very educated and fantastic crowds that if you have fun with, they will have fun with you.
"I've had a lot of great memories from my two away Ryder Cups before and hope to generate some more this week."
Thomas was on the U.S. Team that lost at Le Golf National in 2018 and plans to use the memory of seeing the hosts celebrating their victory as motivation to win this time around.
He said: "It's definitely motivating, and I think you see that a lot in other team sports. You know, whether college basketball, Super Bowl, NBA Finals, you'll hear of guys that come back out of the tunnel and watch the other team celebrate because they are like 'I don't want to experience this again', kind of thing.
"Fortunately and unfortunately for us, that's not something we go through every year like they do. But yeah, you're just kind of sitting there and watching the joy, the champagne, everybody cheering, like yeah, it's not fun to be on the other side. I would prefer to not be again."