This year’s U.S. Ryder Cup team looks strong. Ten of the top 17 players in the Official World Golf Ranking are American and will represent their country in Paris later this month. The other two players on Jim Furyk’s 12-man squad are Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, two players who have combined for one win and 11 other top-6 finishes this season.
Furyk’s squad also boasts 31 total major championships and have accounted for six of the last eight major titles. There was the Americans’ dominating performance two years ago at Hazeltine, where the U.S. routed the Europeans, 17-11. And Vegas currently has the U.S. as a 1-to-2 favorite to retain the Cup this year.
Yet despite all of those things, Patrick Reed says his team is embracing an underdog role as they prepare to compete at Le Golf National.
“We feel great and we can’t wait to get over there and try to end the drought of not winning overseas,” Reed said Wednesday during a press conference for the Hong Kong Open. “I feel that kind of takes a little bit of pressure off us and puts more pressure on the European team because they’re the ones that have had so much success overseas, that everyone thinks we’re going to come in and they’re going to win the Cup again.
“So we’re going to go in and feel like we’re the underdogs and try to play the best that we can.”
Maybe Reed has a point. After all, the U.S. hasn’t won a Ryder Cup on European soil in 25 years, not since 1993 at The Belfry, when the Americans posted a 15-13 victory. The last time a Ryder Cup was played in Europe, in 2014, a Tom Watson-captain U.S. squad suffered a demoralizing five-point loss at Gleneagles. Mickelson, who will play in his 12th straight Ryder Cup this year, has never won overseas. Neither has any other player on the U.S. roster.
History certainly is not on the Americans’ side.
But while Reed suggests he and his teammates will be underdogs in Paris, that doesn’t mean they aren’t expecting to win.
“I think the biggest thing is we finally got a taste of victory,” Reed said. “Having us in control of the Cup right now means we have the confidence in ourselves. We’ve won, we feel great and the guys on the team are playing really well. To bring the dynamic of having Tiger and Phil back on the team and then have the rookies in (Bryson) DeChambeau and (Tony) Finau, it just feels like we have a lot of confidence in our guys.”