The Ryder Cup has a reputation for bringing emotions to the surface, a reputation this week’s contest in Chicago already looks certain to enhance.
It was no surprise that the mention of the late Seve Ballesteros would bring emotion to the voice of Europe captain Jose Maria Olazabal, the Spaniard having formed such a successful partnership with his compatriot.
But US captain Davis Love also had reason to remember someone who would not be present at Medinah following the death earlier this month of Maria Floyd, the wife of former captain Ray Floyd.
Olazabal would not confirm that his team plan to wear the navy jumper, trousers and white shirt so associated with Ballesteros in Sunday’s singles, but he has already consulted Love on the issue.
“I talked to Davis about that and he was very understanding of it and I will say no more at the moment,” Olazabal said.
“Seve is going to be there in our team in some way or form. We are going to miss him a lot. It’s the first time he is not going to be with us. He was a special man.”
Scotland’s Paul Lawrie, who was one of just three players to fly into Chicago with Olazabal yesterday – the others being rookie Nicolas Colsaerts and Francesco Molinari – feels such a tribute to Ballesteros would be “bang on”.
Lawrie told Bunkered magazine: “I don’t know for sure but the word is that we’re wearing navy trousers, navy sweaters and white shirts like Seve always wore in the final round of majors. I think that will be our singles outfit.
“I don’t know that for certain but a few of the boys have mentioned that and I think that if that is indeed the case, there could be no more fitting a tribute to a guy like Seve than having 12 of the best players in Europe wearing his outfit on the final day of the Ryder Cup.
“If that’s how they’re going to do it, then it’s absolutely bang on.”
Much has been made of the possible influence of the Chicago crowd at Medinah, and although both captains stressed the mutual respect between the teams, Love admitted the local fans would be “fired up” when the contest gets under way on Friday.
“When we travel over there it’s tough on us and when they travel over here it’s tough on them,” he added. “Chicago is an incredible sports town and they are going to be fired up.
“I think the first tee could be the loudest any of these guys have ever heard to start off a golf tournament. I expect a lot of passion.
“I expect if we are winning holes it’s going to get pretty loud out there and that’s what home-field advantage is all about.
“As Jose-Maria said, that’s what you prepare these guys (the players) for.
“You have to tell them, ’Hey, this is going to be something like you’ve never seen before.’
“And we both know what the good cheers sound like and what the bad cheers sound like. We’ll try to get them going loud in our favour.”