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Europe and U.S. ready for battle at Medinah

posted 25 Sep 2012, 11:12 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 25 Sep 2012, 11:14 ]

The hostility of yesteryear is gone at the Ryder Cup, but both teams ready for a raucous Chicago fans at the Medinah Country Club.

MEDINAH, ILLINOIS, UNITED STATES (SEPTEMBER 25, 2012) (REUTERS) - The teams from U.S. and Europe found their way around Medinah Country Club on Tuesday (September 25) ahead of the start of this week's Ryder Cup.

Both sets of golfers were ready for the loud fans inspired by the competition, though Graeme McDowell downplayed the animosity between the teams.

"I think the crowds like the European golfers. They have embraced them as PGA Tour players. You know, the days of hostility I think are gone. I think, of course, the crowd are going to be on the Americans' side, that's inevitable, but the hostility is gone a little bit to a certain extent," Northern Irishman said.

"It's going to be exciting and it's going to be loud," he added.

Veteran Ryder Cup players Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk were happy to have the fans on their side this time around.

"It will certainly be partisan, there's no doubt about it. It will be loud (smiling). It will be raucous, and it will be fun. It's the same as when we go to Europe. They get into it for their team, and our fans are going to get into it for our team," said Woods.

"I know the Chicago fans are good fans. I know they are loud. I know they are boisterous. I think that's what I'm expecting to hear. I know the European fans, even with, say, 3,000 fans here, they can make a lot of noise. That's what they are good at. They have their soccer chants and songs. That's part of their culture as far as, you know, being heard, being loud. They are good fans, as well. But I know that 37,000 Americans can drown out 3,000 Europeans if they want to," said Furyk.

Despite being the visiting team, the Europeans feel they have an emotional edge with the Ryder Cup passion of Seve Ballesteros with them "every step of the way". The Spaniard's image has been put on each player's golf bag.

Ballesteros, who died last year at the age of 54 after a long battle with brain cancer, was one of Europe's most inspirational figures in the biennial team competition where he compiled an impressive 20-12-5 record as a player.

The silhouetted image of Ballesteros on the European bags depicts his iconic reaction after winning his second British Open title at St. Andrews in 1984, his right arm punching the air in delight.

Britain's Justin Rose, who was comforted by Ballesteros after the young Englishman had missed 21 consecutive cuts on the European Tour to start his professional career, was delighted to have the Spaniard's image on his golf bag.

"I think with José Maria, very closely, you have Seve Ballesteros in terms of a link and as a partnership in The Ryder Cup. You know, it's fantastic that José Maria is the captain, and you know had Seve been around, I'm sure he would have been a big part of this team, and it's nice that he is still a big part of this team," said Rose.

Europe have triumphed eight times in the last 13 Ryder Cups and regained the trophy with a nail-biting victory by 14-1/2 points to 13-1/2 two years ago.