The 2016 Ryder Cup is less than a month away, and it looks like the players are already focused on what it will take to win it all this year: Mentally eviscerating the opponent.
In some extremely candid interviews with Golf Digest, professional golfers anonymously shared some intimate thoughts on each other leading into the tournament. For those of you who are unfamiliar, the Ryder Cup is a match play event that pits America against all of Europe. Only the best players from the U.S. and Europe qualify, and it can get majorly intense. Preparation is key, and these quotes from anonymous professionals show just how intense this rivalry can be.
Here are some of the best quotes from the story, which you can check out in full on Golf Digest:
“Not the greatest at anything, but OK at everything. There was a rumor at Gleneagles that the McIlroy/Fowler game was pre-arranged, and Rory thumped him [5 and 4]. If I’m Davis Love, I won’t want to repeat that. I don’t think Rickie thinks he’s as good as Rory, and I know Rory thinks he’s better than Rickie.”
“You can pair him with anyone, but you look at his Ryder Cup record and it’s like his career: good, but not many wins.” . . . “Everybody likes him and everyone wants to be his partner, but he’s clearly struggling a little bit. If he falls out on points, would you pick him? Probably. But you’d want to see some better form.” . . . “Maybe he’s too nice at times. I mean, you want the tour full of guys like Rickie Fowler, but does his personality get in the way of winning more?” . . . “A hell of a player. He used to putt it great, and then he goes cross-hand—clearly there’s an issue there.”. . . “He can’t play from the rough like D.J. or Jason Day, so if he’s missing fairways, he might hit the green, but he won’t hit it close.” . . . “This won’t be a popular theory: The guy is a marketing genius with social media, but he seems more worried about that stuff instead of dialing in his game. He’s insanely talented, but turn off the social media and just concentrate on golf.”
“If there is a worse lag putter in the game, I’ve yet to see him. I certainly wouldn’t want him as a foursomes partner.”
“He’s the American version of Poulter. He acts as if every bad break is a personal insult.”
“It’s hard to question someone so obviously good, but Jordan’s ball-striking is nothing like as good as those around him at the top of the World Ranking—nothing. There are people I know around the top of the game who call him ‘the sclaffer; he can’t hit it at all.’ But he mis-hits straight, although he can lose it to the right, big-style. We’ve all seen that.” … “Yes, his putting is extraordinary, but when he stops holing 20 percent of his 20-footers—which no one has ever done for a sustained period—the question arises: Is he that good?”
“He relies on his putter to an unhealthy extent. His stats from tee to green are not that great, which means he can’t ever dominate the game. Jason Day and Rory are both capable of being No. 1 for five years. Jordan just isn’t. He cannot do what he does well for a long time. The greens are not that pure. You cannot hole that many putts. We’ll find out how good he is when he stops doing that.”
“Best player in the game, but he’s high maintenance. I think the way you beat him is to rattle [his caddie] Michael Greller, if that’s even possible. Jordan wears him out.”
“His head is his weakness. He talks a lot about ‘energy levels.’ He has to feel energized to perform. And because of his personality, he finds that difficult to do. In a Ryder Cup, where you play multiple matches in a short period and there’s a lot of pressure, you can see him getting mentally fatigued quite quickly. And so his performance level drops off.
“He’s easily upset, too. The crowd can get to him. He doesn’t like being touched. So he has so much vulnerability.”
“If he’s into it, if he loves the golf course, he isn’t easy to beat, but the question is, can you get him into it? Attitude is everything with Bubba, because he has all the shots. If I’m Europe, I’m pointing out all the trouble at Hazeltine and letting Bubba chew on that.”
“More than any of their guys, Sergio likes to mess with you. He likes to play little b.s. games, and he’s comfortable winning playing those b.s. games if he can’t beat you with his clubs. It’s totally chickenshit, and you have to give it right back to him or ignore him. And if you do give it back to him, it can affect him.”
“He might be the weakest player they have. He could rise to the occasion in the Ryder Cup, but does any part of his game really impress you at the moment?”
“Rory is interesting. Sometimes he doesn’t focus properly on straightforward chips. When that happens, he just isn’t engaged by the shot. So he makes a basic error and doesn’t get it up and down. He plays the awkward ones very well. So it’s not mechanical, it’s mental.”
“Did he figure out his putting? Because if he did, then he doesn’t have to rely on driver as much. But even that isn’t a weakness per se. He’s won four majors, so he’s not going to give you many openings.”
“The way to beat Rory is to tell him to show up three hours early with a good night’s sleep.
“Doubt he makes the team. They already seem weak with the putter, and we know he won’t help them with that.”
I think this makes it official: The Ryder Cup, which will be played at Hazeltine just outside of Minneapolis, is appointment television this year. Golf is a mental game, and I have to think that the anonymous criticism of your peers would slip into your mind during a particularly tough round at the Cup.
Shit. My putting is off. Maybe those guys were right about me. Maybe I don’t deserve to be here.
To check out more anonymous quotes, scroll through the original story HERE..
[via Golf Digest]
Image via YouTube