There’s a stark difference between how the American teams play in the Ryder Cup compared to the Presidents Cup.
A myriad of factors come into play on why Team USA can’t succeed in the Ryder Cup of late: the stage is bigger, home-field advantages are stronger and competition is typically more seasoned.
Jordan Spieth has one to add: players are freed up to play better golf at the Presidents Cup.
“It seems there is a bit of a difference in the two team rooms in the Presidents Cup experience I’ve had and the Ryder Cup last year,” Spieth said. “Almost like we put too much emphasis on the Ryder Cup instead of just freeing up to play our own game. It’s a big deal.”
Spieth gave the disclaimer that he doesn’t have the amount of experience as fellow team members Phil Mickelson or Jim Furyk, but can sense a difference from this squad and the one that was handily defeated by the Europeans last September.
“But it almost feels like, at least in last year’s Ryder Cup, there was just a little too much thought to go in the rounds ahead, the practice rounds ahead were almost tryouts, and there wasn’t — there weren’t as many smiles in the practice leading up to it,” Spieth said. “Almost like we were already starting behind.”
Confidence is the ultimate intangible in golf, and there’s no reason for the U.S. to believe it can win the Ryder Cup. It has only hoisted the trophy once (2008) in the last seven events. It’s the opposite story in the Presidents Cup. They can afford to be cocky, to have that swagger that winning bestows. They have only lost the Cup once in the last two decades.
“Here, we feel like we’re starting ahead,” Spieth said. “We feel like the favorites. We’re walking around with cockiness in our step, and you know, often that can bite you if you’re not careful, but we’re aware of that. But the point is that we’re out there smiling because we believe that we can – whatever match up we want to put together, we believe we can beat the other team. I feel like that was maybe not the case at the Ryder Cup, and I think that it will change.”
The Americans created a Ryder Cup Task Force to look for answers to their woes, but one of the solutions is right in front of them from their star player: Create more smiles and better play will follow.