What they Said: Wednesday at the Ryder Cup
Players on both the U.S. and European Ryder Cup Teams met with the media Wednesday at Whistling Straits ahead of the 43rd Ryder Cup. It was an opportunity for rookies Xander Schauffele, Patrick Cantlay, Collin Morikawa, Shane Lowry and Bernd Wiesberger to share the impressions of their first Ryder Cup thus far. Wednesday’s press conference was also a chance for veterans Dustin Johnson, Ian Poulter and Tommy Fleetwood to weigh in on how the Teams for the 43rd Ryder Cup compares to those in years past.
Xander Schauffele: I kind of watched golf to fall asleep on a Sunday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. I'd watch football, practice in the morning with my dad, and then watch football at like 1:00, Chargers game, 1:05 on CBS, and then my dad would turn golf on and I'd fall asleep and I'd wake up for the Sunday Night Football Game. That was kind of my childhood. Not that I didn't love golf, but really that was sort of the program -- once you hear Jim Nantz's voice, you just kind of -- you know what I mean? It's kind of nice. Yeah, the Ryder Cup, I've seen highlights. I honestly haven't really seen -- as a kid just like any other kid, you see Tiger in red, and he wasn't wearing red at Ryder Cups unless that was one of the team outfits. Those were kind of the things I dreamt of as a kid.
Xander Schauffele: There's a lot of functions is what I'm learning, to a Ryder Cup. Last night we spent time in a barn together, which was a cool setting. There's small talk, sort of talks that we're not really used to having at normal tournaments since we normally have our own teams with us. Once I see those guys at the course we kind of disperse and go back to our own teams at our own homes type deal. It's cool to sort of get to talk to each individual about anything, non-golf related, and spend some time at dinner. That's sort of how I grew up. Dinners were sort of a time to get to know someone and kind of chat, so it's nice to talk to them, see what they like to get up to.
Patrick Cantlay: I could go 0-4 this week, and if the U.S. Team wins it's a raving success and I'll be elated. I could go 4-0 this week, and if the team loses it will be a bad week. That's just so different than a regular golf week, and that's what makes it so special, is that you're playing for something bigger than just yourself.
Patrick Cantlay: I think you see what people are like with their guard down so they act more real when they feel like they're in that safe team room environment, because a normal week I imagine -- this is just maybe through my own self experiences, I'm going to block everyone out except my team. That's a very human thing to do. This week your team is a much larger unit, and it includes DJ and it includes Collin Morikawa. But like on a normal week, I'm like blocking those guys out, don't get in my stuff. This week, I have my guard down. We're in the team room and we can all be ourselves because they're part of our team. It's a human thing. Seeing guys like that who I don't have a lot of experience being with on a real level, they're more real with me because we're all on the same team.
Dustin Johnson: Thinking about it this year, obviously being the oldest by a few years, it's a little strange for me just that I've never been the oldest. I always felt like I was one of the younger guys on the team. Still feel that way, but obviously I'm, I guess, the veteran on the team really. Yeah, it's a role that I enjoy, but obviously with the guys on the team, all of them are very good players, so don't really have to do much.
Dustin Johnson: The teams I've been on the past, I feel like we've had tons of experience and it hasn't worked out so well, so maybe this is kind of an obviously different generation of golfers coming up, and we've got some really talented players, young guys that maybe don't have all the memories of losing all these Ryder Cups.
Collin Morikawa: Not really. You know, I think some of the times when you're with the entire team, those are the best moments. I mean, just riding on a bus yesterday with half the guys to dinner is like some of the best stories you're ever going to hear, and I think those are the memories that you kind of take with you.
Collin Morikawa: All the clothes, all the fans, everything, you kind of know what you're going to expect, but you just don't know what kind of stories you're going to hear. Those are some of the best things that you're going to remember for the rest of your life.
Collin Morikawa: When you look at us on TV, we're all pretty much the same. We're all just hitting the golf ball, moving it forward, playing 18 holes. But everyone on this team has their own character, and to finally get to know -- I know pretty much everyone on this team already, but to get to know them a little bit better and see their character pull out of them when you're in the team rooms when you're hanging out and having dinner, that's what's fun.
That's when you get to see what everyone is like, and everyone is awesome. It's such a good 12-man team that they're just fun to be around, that it just makes the week a little bit different than what you normally see. We're not talking like this and hanging out on a regular week. Our TOUR events, you go and do your business and get out. It's a lot different feeling when you're off the golf course, when you're hanging out and it's just that much more enjoyable, I think, and it brings the team together.
Ian Poulter: Course setup is obviously, this week, heavily weighted in the U.S. as opposed to how we set things up back in Europe, so I guess everything is stacked against us. When you have that, when you can go in as underdogs, when you can turn the tide and actually come out victorious, it means a little bit more.
Ian Poulter: It's a great buzz. You only have to look around and all the grandstands are red. Everything that you look at, the fans, 98 percent are obviously going to be U.S. fans this week. It's difficult from start to finish. It's hard. It's not easy to play away from home. As much as we feel comfortable as a team, to know we're underdogs, to know that, we have to play extra special this week to get the job done. It feels pretty rewarding at the end of the week if we can get it done.
Ian Poulter: It's just a fun game of chess, to be honest, to enjoy what that means, that you're under pressure right from the get-go. It just doesn't happen in stroke play. It's kind of like you plod your way into the tournament, but it's back nine Sunday mentality every single time you tee it up.
Shane Lowry: I'm pretty happy with the golf course and that cold wind. It feels very much like a summer's day in Ireland when you're out there. It's quite difficult to play in these conditions because you need to get your head around hitting a 6-iron 150 yards as opposed to normally most guys hit their 6-iron over 200 yards.
It's just little things like I feel might help me this week are conditions and stuff like that, but yeah, how do you cope with it? Sometimes it's hard to practice around here. You just kind of need to know how to do it, and I feel like I know how to do it. Very excited to get out there and compete and hopefully win some points.
Shane Lowry: I just think to be a part of a group like that just feels so special, and just feels so special to be here competing for Europe.
I think we all believe so much in ourselves and we all believe so much in each other that we're here playing for each other and we're here fighting for every last point and every last putt we can get. We're fighting not only for ourselves this week but for each other.
I have no idea why that is that way with Europe, but that's just the way it is, and that's the way it has been for many years.
Tommy Fleetwood: I think Moliwood was a great name. I think we had that one given to us. Listen, like Moliwood was in Paris, and we're obviously very, very close. I think people may be overly focused on it. It's not around this week, but also we have an unbelievable team, and I can't wait to partner up with whoever that's going to be.
Tommy Fleetwood: I think players that have played in a Ryder Cup can all say the same thing about the first tee is an incredible place to be in golf. It's something that we don't experience ever except for once every two years, but at the same time we all strive and dream to be there and experience whatever that is, whether it is you can't put the ball on the tee, whether it is you feel like you're going to miss the ball, whatever it is. You've dreamt of this your whole life, so thrive on it and enjoy it.
Bernd Wiesberger: You know, last Ryder Cup in Paris I was part of German speaking TV and tried to give my sense as to what's going to be the outcome, so I was on this side of the press conference and trying to make sense of what's going to happen this week.
Along this week something kind of fueled inside me and took it as motivation to be -- once my injury was healed that I had in 2018 -- to be part of one of these teams. I never really vocalized it or spoke about it too much, but it was definitely massive motivation for me to be the first to experience a Ryder Cup firsthand, first one I've been to, even more so giving myself a chance to be part of a European team.
Bernd Wiesberger: I think it's a brilliant idea what the guys have done. I'm very, very proud to have that number for life. Everybody is buzzing. The individual aspect of the game that we have, but this week we all come together as 12, yet everybody has their number and nobody can ever take it from them. I was very, very surprised that it's been this few, actually. I could have not told you if you would have asked me how many players would have represented the European team in the history of the Ryder Cup. I'm forever going to be 164, and it's going to be amazing. The guys really loved it, and it brings a great theme, I think, to the whole week for us.