Ryder Cup 2018 – Why has Team USA not won on the road in 25 years – Sport Alert

“I’m surprised we don’t win every single Ryder Cup, to tell you the truth,” said Mark Calcavecchia, who played in four but won only once. “But it’s hard now. We had it going for a while, but I really think it’s as simple as coming down to putts, who makes more. That’s being confident and relaxed and not uptight. They [the Europeans] figure out a way to do that.

“It happens to be a razor-thin line between winning and losing Ryder Cups and when they are at home they slide themselves over that winning line,” said Paul Azinger, who played on the last victorious U.S. road team at The Belfry in 1993. “They take advantage of the home field. They can somehow read into how they can neutralize our strengths as a 12-man team. Even back then, they narrowed fairways. And they go to courses they play all the time.

I think that helps them.

“Now there’s no excuse for America not to have won over there. I don’t believe anyone is intimidated or anything like that. In some cases, they were better than us. But I never felt like being in Europe was any different. Either your game travels or it doesn’t travel. The crowd cheering when you miss putts? It’s something you embrace, maybe put a chip on your shoulder in some way. I didn’t think it was any harder.”

“When the competition is that close, any little edge you can have is a big deal,” said Steve Stricker, a U.S. vice-captain for the third time and, having been Presidents Cup captain last year, the expected next U.S. captain. “We’re [at] a course again where they have an event [on the European Tour]. Those guys play there and know what to expect under tournament conditions.

“That’s a little bit of a mistake on our side. What’s wrong with playing [U.S.-hosted Ryder Cups] where we play all the time? How about taking them to the Phoenix Open and putting them in front of that crowd? It’s a tough thing and always a challenge.” Phil Mickelson is hoping to win his first Ryder Cup in Europe at his sixth — and possibly final — attempt. Gareth Fuller/PA Images via Getty Images

Therein lies one of the differences in the entities that run the Ryder Cup. The PGA of America does not run PGA Tour events and typically takes the Ryder Cup to places that have hosted majors; and in recent years, it has entered into partnerships with places to host both a Ryder Cup and a PGA Championship. Each of the past six U.S. Ryder Cup venues — Hazeltine, Medinah, Valhalla, Oakland Hills, The Country Club and Oak Hill — had previously hosted a major championship.

The European Tour manages the Ryder Cup when played here and it contractually stipulates that the host venue — which is chosen via a bid process with exorbitant fees — also stage an annual European Tour event. Gleneagles, Celtic Manor, the K Club, The Belfry and Valderrama all had annual stops. Le Golf National has been home to the French Open since 2002.

“That’s why we have these three [practice] days to prepare, and I’m still on the same plan that they are professionals, they prepare themselves on a weekly basis,” Furyk said. “They are the best we have to offer in the United States. They are going to prepare their games, and I prided myself in the heart of my career of being one of the most prepared players on tour.

“I am aware this is most likely the last one [I play] on European soil and my last opportunity to be part of a team that would be victorious here,” said Mickelson, 48, who is playing in his 12th straight Ryder Cup. “And that would mean a lot to me personally. I think it would mean a lot to our team and to the United States Ryder Cup to have a victory on foreign soil. It’s been 25 years.