EUROPE RYDER CUP captain Jose Maria Olazabal believes the team are well positioned to defend their title against the United States in Illinois.
The European team tee-off at the Medinah Country Club next week full of confidence following the recent success of world number one Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia and Paul Lawrie.
McIlroy has made a welcome return to form with wins at the PGA Championship, Deutsche Bank and BMW Championships. Garcia ended a four-year PGA Tour drought with victory at the Wyndham Championship, while Lawrie secured a four-stroke win at the Johnnie Walker Championship.
And Olazabal says those performances accompanied by the fact that not one American team member has won since Keegan Bradley at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational on August 5 has helped boost the team’s moral.
“The most important thing is momentum in the Ryder Cup,” the Spaniard said. ”The fact that in the last weeks we’ve done so well with Rory McIlroy winning the U.S. PGA Championship, Sergio Garcia winning on the US PGA Tour and Paul Lawrie’s win, I think that really brings the spirit up.”
Olazabal also praised fellow Spaniard Garcia for the determination he showed to reclaim his place in the team, having missed selection in 2010 due to a lack of form. After missing the cut at the PGA Championship, Garcia altered his scheduled and that decision paid off with victory at Wyndham, which secured his Ryder Cup birth.
“It says a lot about Sergio,” said Olazabal. ”He wanted to be part of the team and he made the extra effort. Him making the team made it a lot easier for me.”
Europe reclaimed the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor in Wales in 2010.