Luke Donald, the captain of the European Ryder Cup team, expressed his hopes for enthusiastic home support to make a difference as Europe faces the United States in the Ryder Cup this weekend.
The USA aims to break a three-decade winless streak on European soil, with their last win in Europe dating back to 1993.
Donald is eager to maintain Europe's unbeaten home run after the USA's 19-9 victory at Whistling Straits two years ago. Unlike in 2021, when the COVID-19 pandemic significantly reduced European support in Wisconsin, thousands of European fans are expected to be present when the tournament kicks off at the Marco Simone course just outside Rome on Friday.
Speaking to reporters, Captain Donald emphasised the advantage of having home support, stating, "Certainly, being at home, we know that's an advantage. It's an advantage for us to have that support; that crowd behind you is helpful. It picks up your energy as a player." He added that they are looking forward to having much more support compared to two years ago.
Luke Donald took on the role of captain last year after Henrik Stenson was removed from the position following his involvement with Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf. Notably, Ryder Cup icons Sergio García, Lee Westwood, and Ian Poulter are absent from the European team for the same reason.
Jon Rahm highlighted the importance of leveraging the experience of record Ryder Cup points scorer Sergio García, but Donald explained that García's ineligibility was a result of his resignation from membership five months ago, in accordance with DP World Tour rules.
On the American side, Zach Johnson, the USA team captain, dismissed concerns about the long winless streak in Europe. Johnson acknowledged the challenges of winning on foreign soil but expressed confidence in his team's readiness to embrace the opportunity. He stressed that this is a new team with a new outlook, distinct from past teams, and they are eager to make a mark in the Ryder Cup.
As the competition unfolds, all eyes will be on the teams to see whether home advantage plays a significant role or if the USA can finally break their European winless streak.