Do The Europeans Have A Mental Advantage Over The Americans In The Ryder Cup And If So Why?
Let’s face it. There is no shortage of talent in the Ryder Cup Squads. On paper the scores should always be tight and there should never be runs like Europe had before the 2008 Cup – won by the Americans only after loosing three straight.
Until European players joined the British/Irish team in 1979 for the biennial test, USA was almost guaranteed to win. Previous to that, British wins could be counted on one hand and the addition of Ireland in 1973 didn’t help much. But since the inclusion of Europe things have really changed.
The tension surrounding each cup has become palpable. The Europeans seem to have a mental edge that puts the US players on alert from the start. Whatever nerves plague the Europeans don’t last long. They are soon resolutely marching up the fairways pounding out impossible strokes that rival the shot making of any player in any other tournament. It’s unreal. It’s almost miraculous.
Why is that? What makes that happen?
Well, there is at least one contributing factor that goes unmentioned. It’s something Americans don’t easily see. It has to do with the outlook and expectations of the European players, not as the Cup begins, but when their careers get started, whenever that was for each one.
Americans don’t grow up aspiring to represent their country athletically. They dream of hitting homers for the Yankees or scoring touchdowns for the Cowboys. The thought of playing for their country or competing internationally doesn’t register and the record verifies this.
Global outlets for American sports have begun to develop, but only just, and Americans’ are still generally disinterested. On the odd occasion when lesser international teams have played the cream of the US sporting crop in any sport, Americans have often struggled or, surprisingly, been defeated.
It’s only recently they have begun to notice World Cup Soccer and that, only because it is so massive. Fielding a US team for the event helps but it is still very strange, unusual, only novel and even unknown to many.
“We played in the world cup? How’d we do? Go figure?”
The highest aspiration for Europeans, however, is to qualify for the national team and play on an international stage. Once you qualify for the team you have already won. The rest is just icing. Americans consider it an honor to represent their country in sport but a diversion nonetheless. For Europeans it is the ultimate goal.
So what is the difference briefly stated.
Europeans are playing the primary game, Americans are fulfilling a duty.
How else could you explain so few Ryder Cup wins for world-number-one Tiger and so many for who-knows-where-he-ranks Colin?
National teams competing in international events is not America’s favorite past time. If I haven’t convinced you, peruse the US news media for Ryder Cup coverage. You’ll find it slightly mentioned and buried underneath everything else.
The best thing the American participants can do is approach this match like they do any other. Play, using the same perspective they had from the start, as individuals. That is how they learned to play and they’ll be smart to keep it that way.
Golf is largely mental. Everyone admits to that. The Americans can beat the Europeans at golf, probably handily, but they can’t do that adopting the European mind game.
Advice? Relax. Play “YOUR” Cup not their’s and better things will happen.
What do you THINK!?