American Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson wants his players to be hurting when they step on to the first tee at Gleneagles four weeks on Friday.
He’s already guaranteed to have five men feeling that they’ve got a point to prove as automatic qualifiers Bubba Watson, Jim Furyk, Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar and Zach Johnson were all on the team that surrendered a four-point lead heading into the singles in Chicago two years ago.
Hunter Mahan will probably also be a man on a mission in Perthshire if, as seems likely, he’ll be handed one of Watson’s three picks at midnight UK time next Tuesday.
That follows Mahan winning The Barclays, the opening event in this season’s FedEx Cup Play-Offs in New Jersey on Sunday, showing the hunger and desire Watson said he was looking for a fortnight ago.
The 32-year-old will be a good addition to the American team, with further motivation to come out on top this time being the fluffed chip at Celtic Manor in Wales four years ago which allowed Graeme McDowell to seal Europe’s victory.
For me, it will be Mahan, Keegan Bradley and Brandt Snedeker who earn those picks next week and, if that’s the case, then, despite losing Tiger Woods, Steve Stricker and, probably, Jason Dufner to injury, captain Watson is still bringing a pretty strong side with him for Scotland’s first Ryder Cup in more than 40 years.