Graham McDowell has warned his European team mates that they face a hostile and partisan home crowd in the Ryder Cup later this week. The Northern Irish golfer told the Europeans to expect and intimidating atmosphere at the Medinah Country Club.
“There’s a world of difference between playing in front of your home fans and playing in front of the US fans. Putts that drop in front of your home fans are like a bomb going off –and putts that go in this weekend will be like someone’s got the silencer on. It’s like a muted applause,” he said.
McDowell has vivid memories of the crowd reactions the last time the Europeans played a Ryder Cup tournament on American soil. One memory in particular from Kentucky four years ago has stuck in the Ulsterman’s mind.
He recalled: “I remember Valhalla. The 14th was a very big natural amphitheatre and one of the most intimidating holes as a European. You knew when somebody birdied – you could hear it reverberating around the course. There’s something interesting about missing a putt and having the cheers go up. That’s something we are not used to as golfers, but it’s something you’ve got to accept this week and I’m looking forward to it.”
The Major winner believes that US captain Davis Love will send out his team with express instructions to go for birdies to fire up the crowd and increase the intensity of the atmosphere around the course.
He also predicted the eight players who he thinks Jose Maria Olazabal will send into battle on Friday morning. McDowell told reporters what he believes will be the makeup of the European foursomes, based on yesterday’s practice.
“The established partnerships are fairly obvious – myself and Rory, Poulter and Rose, Donald and Garcia, perhaps a Westwood and Lawrie. You can pretty much predict our first eight players Friday morning. You don’t need me to tell you that. Will we be that predictable? Who knows?” he added.