Europe's Paul Casey admits U.S. Ryder Cup team is 'better than us on paper'

Europe's Paul Casey admits U.S. Ryder Cup team is 'better than us on paper'

2018 Ryder Cup

Europe's Paul Casey admits U.S. Ryder Cup team is 'better than us on paper'

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – The 2018 Ryder Cup has been short on trash talk in the days leading up to the matches at Le Golf National.

Mutual respect has been the tone with just four player interviews remaining, and there won’t be much bulletin board material for either team stemming from pre-Cup interviews and chatter.

Things have largely gone the opposite way, a trend that continued Thursday morning with Europe’s Paul Casey acknowledging the Americans are the betting favorite for a reason.

“We’re playing against a brilliant U.S. team and we have massive respect for them,” Casey said. “You know, on paper, they are better than us on paper.”

The numbers support Casey’s statement. The U.S. team has an average world ranking of 11.1 compared to 19.1 for Europe. They have just three rookies on the roster while Europe has five and the Americans have won 18 combined tournaments this season to Europe’s eight.

The Europeans do have the advantage of playing on home soil, an obstacle no U.S. team has been able to overcome the past 25 years. And they’re familiar with the venue, which has hosted all but two French Opens since 1991.

“Our team certainly knows the course better than the Americans, and I think it suits my game very, very well,” Casey said. “I know the course and I’ve always known where to hit it around here.”

That’s not to mention the raucous crowd support Europe will receive over the next three days, beginning right out of the gate with the massive 7,000-seat bleachers area behind the first tee. How the Americans deal with that could ultimately decide whether or not they live up to their billing as the favorites.

“I know they will be loud,” U.S. captain Jim Furyk said. “I know they will be boisterous. Obviously they will be cheering for the European side, as we would expect. That’s definitely an obstacle. It’s part of that home turf advantage that Europe will have this week and that’s something my players have to respect but hopefully they enjoy. Hopefully they thrive on that.”

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