Europe’s Ryder Cup players have expressed gratitude towards Pádraig Harrington after the captain made a point of emphasising their place in history. Having gathered in Wisconsin on Monday evening, the European team were shown a video, later released to the public, which depicted their role as part of an elite sporting group.
In a move similar to one employed by the England cricket team, the European kit at Whistling Straits will for the first time feature numbers depicting each player’s Ryder Cup roll number. The figure, which reaches only 164 with Bernd Wiesberger, dates back to the Great Britain & Ireland team that took on the United States during the inaugural Ryder Cup in 1927. Harrington pointed out that 570 people have been into space, 5,780 have climbed Mount Everest and 445 have won the men’s World Cup.
“It was very powerful,” said Sergio García. “I didn’t know my number. I’ve always known that being a part of the Ryder Cup team is very difficult, but I didn’t know that only that little amount of players have made it. So that showed you how difficult it really is.
“That’s why every time I’m a part of a team, that’s why we give it the respect that it deserves, because it’s so difficult to be a part of it. It’s an honour and we treat it like that.”
Lee Westwood, who is participating in his 11th Ryder Cup, agreed. “You have a far greater chance of going into space or climbing Everest than you have representing Europe in the Ryder Cup,” said the Englishman. “We’ve all got numbers, mine is the smallest, obviously, 118. It’s something to be very proud of.”
Viktor Hovland, making his debut, revealed he had been provided with a tough indoctrination by his new teammates. “There’s been some that have gotten some old pictures of me and had some fun with them,” said the Norwegian. “But it’s all good banter, just bringing us closer together.”