Europe’s Ryder Cup team flew into Louisville tonight with captain Nick Faldo describing them as raring to go and well rested – especially star player Padraig Harrington.
“Our Open champion is a fine sleeper – he had four sleeps,” said Faldo, who went straight into a joint press conference with opposite number Paul Azinger.
The Dubliner, winner of golf’s last two major championships, has played three events since and after missing the halfway cut in the first two finished well down the field in the other.
But Faldo is unconcerned by Harrington’s recent form.
“I chatted with Paddy,” he added. “He knew what he was doing with his schedule.
“I’m very pleased with the guys who played last week (Robert Karlsson won in Cologne and Miguel Angel Jimenez, Soren Hansen and Graeme McDowell were all in the top 20) and the others have stayed well-oiled, which was one of my requests.”
On whether Harrington might be paired with McDowell, the only other Irishman in the team following the controversial exclusion of Darren Clarke, Faldo commented: “It’s Monday, I’ve just walked off a plane.”
He did say, however, that it was his intention – “if things are going well” - to play all 12 of his side on the opening day. Azinger has the same hope.
Four players are rested from each session of foursomes and fourballs, but two years ago Ian Woosnam employed all 12 on the first day and every one of them contributed at least half a point.
Europe, of course, went on to repeat their record nine-point victory of 2004 in Detroit.
In direct contrast to Woosnam, Mark James did not play three of his side – Jean Van de Velde, Jarmo Sandelin and Andrew Coltart – until the last day singles.
All three lost and America came storming back for what is their last win.