Sky Sports Golf podcast: How can Europe avoid heavy Ryder Cup defeat at Whistling Straits?
Jamie Spence and Gary Murphy join Josh Antmann to discuss Europe's Ryder Cup hopes of an away win at Whistling Straits; Watch the 43rd Ryder Cup throughout the week live on Sky Sports' dedicated Ryder Cup channel
By Sky Sports Golf
Last Updated: 21/09/21 11:42am
Team USA head into the Ryder Cup as favourites to regain the trophy on home soil, but what can Europe do to secure an unlikely title defence at Whistling Straits?
The Sky Sports Golf podcast looked ahead to this week's contest in Wisconsin, where Padraig Harrington is looking to become just the third European captain this century to win an away edition of the biennial contest.
Europe arrive as defending champions after their 17.5-10.5 win at Le Golf National in 2018 and boast more Ryder Cup experience within their team, although Steve Stricker's side have the benefit of a vociferous home crowd and the stronger line-up in terms of world ranking.
Jamie Spence and Gary Murphy joined host Josh Antmann to preview the event and discuss Europe's hopes of securing back-to-back wins, with Spence warning that a heavy loss for Harrington's side would come as no surprise.
"I do fear that [a battering]," Spence told the Sky Sports Golf podcast. "Europe have got to hang on to them until they get to the singles, it's as simple as that. It could go that way and the thing about the Americans is that they're great front-runners aren't they. They love being in front, they're bully boys and they like to dominate.
"I'd love it if I was Harrington, I've got to be honest, because he can point all this stuff out and he knows we're underdogs. What an opportunity for him to go against the grain here and for all of them to become heroes, because it would be unexpected if they were to win.
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"Harrington is going to have to be smart with how he sets up the team. He's going to have to play all the players and he's going to have to shuffle the pack quite a bit to keep them fresh going into the singles.
"There is a chance that it could go horribly wrong, I'm afraid, but that's obvious because the Americans are just so strong. Having said that, I'd have had my house on the American Solheim Cup team winning and that didn't happen!"
Steve Stricker has six rookies in his team and just three survivors from Team USA's home victory in 2016, with Sergio Garcia having won as many points in his Ryder Cup career than the entire American team combined, although Spence believes that the inexperience will count for very little.
"I think the term rookies is totally overrated," Spence added. "These aren't rookies, these guys are experienced players. I look at the American team and I just don't see any weaknesses at all.
"Are you going to call Morikawa a rookie?! He's going to be feeling it going to the first tee, as will Cantlay and Berger and a few of the others, but I'm not worried about that. Rookies can bring a certain energy to a team - just look at how Thomas Pieters played at Hazeltine or Tommy Fleetwood played in Paris, and they're just two examples.
"It's quite a formidable line-up that USA have put ahead and they've got rid of the old guard. They've got a much better and more focused side here (than in recent years), with guys that want to be there and guys in the prime of their career, so I don't give a monkey's if they're rookies or not!"
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