Captain Jim Furyk believes the United States have “25 years of scars” to overcome to retain the Ryder Cup in Paris next year.
The last time the United States won the biennial contest on European soil was in 1993, with the most recent defeat at Gleneagles in 2014 prompting a public row between Phil Mickelson and captain Tom Watson.
That also led to the formation of a task force – of which Furyk was a member – to examine all aspects of the Ryder Cup process and it paid instant dividends with a comprehensive victory at Hazeltine in 2016.
European captain Thomas Bjorn will look to make the most of home advantage when the two sides meet at Le Golf National, which his players should know well after contesting the French Open there – with two exceptions – since 1991.
“We have 25 years of scars to overcome,” Furyk said at a press conference in Paris, where earlier in the day, the pair recreated history by hitting golf balls off the famous Eiffel Tower, 41 years after the legendary Arnold Palmer became the first – and only previous person – to do so. “That being said, I will have a lot of young talent on my team and I’m anxious to see how they handle that challenge.
“Europe has handled those away matches far better in the last 25 years than we have. We might have to take a page from their book and try to figure it out. Hopefully the young guys will react a little better than we have in the past. They are a tight-knit group and it’s been fun that they’ve sparked some energy, not only on the golf course but in the team room.”
Furyk welcomed the news that Tiger Woods has been cleared to step up his rehabilitation from back surgery, although it remains to be seen whether he will be capable of playing or restricted to a vice-captaincy role.
The 14-time major champion has been out of action since withdrawing from the Dubai Desert Classic at the start of February and in April underwent a fourth back operation in three years.
Woods admitted last month it was possible he may never play competitive golf again, but on Sunday tweeted a nine-second clip in which he hit a drive, captioned ‘’Making Progress’’.
And, according to ESPN, his agent Mark Steinberg has said the 41-year-old American has been cleared to resume full golf activity, after last week having a check-up with the surgeon who performed back surgery on him six months ago.
“I think it’s great news,” Furyk added. “The swing that I saw on that video looked a lot like Tiger Woods. It probably still needed a little speed, a little golf strength maybe.
“We don’t know when he’ll be healthy and return to competitive golf but I will say that Tiger Woods is a great resource and would be welcome in the team, whether as a player or back as vice-captain. He’s been a great person to have in that team room so hopefully will be part of that team.”
European captain Thomas Bjorn promised to do “everything in his power” to help regain the trophy having experienced his first loss at Hazeltine after three wins as a player and three as vice-captain.
“Those Sunday nights when we’ve won Ryder Cups are some of the moments I will treasure the most in my life,” Bjorn said.
“It motivates you but just winning motivates you. I will do everything in (my) power to deliver a team that can win the Ryder Cup.”