Ryder Cup 2020: Steve Stricker plots to end European dominance
By Keith Jackson
Last Updated: 01/10/19 8:56pm
Team USA captain Steve Stricker conceded that Europe's dominance of the Ryder Cup this century is a concern ahead of next year's contest at Whistling Straits.
Since the controversial "Battle of Brookline" in 1999, when current European captain Padraig Harrington made his playing debut, the USA have won only two of the last nine editions and their comprehensive defeat at Le Golf National last year was their sixth straight loss in Europe.
The two wins for the Americans, at Valhalla in 2008 and Hazeltine three years ago, were both aided by the courses set up to benefit the home players, but Stricker insists he will have limited room for manoeuvre with Whistling Straits, which has also hosted three PGA Championships since 2004 - all won by overseas players.
"It does concern us, and Europe had a great team last time in Paris - they outplayed us," said Stricker, who was an assistant captain to Jim Furyk at Le Golf National. "We had a difficult time with the golf course.
"The last few Ryder Cups haven't gone really the way that we have liked, but for us it's all about moving forward. It's about learning from the past a little bit, taking some of the things that we haven't done so well in, and then trying to apply that to this next time and next year.
"And it's about playing better. Bottom line is, they played great and they outplayed us, and you know, we're going to have to come and be ready and make the putts that we need to and hit the key shots down the stretch that we need to hit to come out on top."
Stricker, who made the first of his three playing appearances in the USA victory at Valhalla in 2008, insisted the Whistling Straits course will not feature much in the way of the thick rough that many American players could not get to grips with in Paris, and the Wisconsin native is counting on the home fans to inspire his team to victory.
"There are no real tricks," he said of the course set-up. "They know how we like to set up the golf courses and we know how they like to set up the golf courses, and you know, I'm sure what Padraig's got envisioned in his mind is going to be the way it's going to be.
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"It's not going to be eight on the Stimpmeter like it was in Paris! It's not going to high rough as it was in Paris. There are no real tricks, but it is a little bit more of a challenge here. It's a links-style course, but I don't know if this is a true links-style course. A lot of this is still played through the air here.
"Some of the links-style that I've played on over the years overseas is you really bounce the ball up, you roll it up and you can flight it down low. Here, I think it's a little bit more in the air than it is overseas, personally thinking.
"But yes, it concerns us, but it's a great venue and we're going to have an unbelievable support crowd here. The atmosphere should be much like Hazeltine or even more so. The Wisconsin people are very excited to have this event here.
"Just to be able to play it here is really a special treat for all of us. The state is going to show up big time and we're going to have the crowd on our side, so hopefully that will deter from what it really looks like out there as far as an Irish setting. You know, we're looking forward to it."