Captain Jim Furyk is not expecting a hostile reception when the United States attempt to retain the Ryder Cup with a first victory on European soil for 25 years.
Rory McIlroy bore the brunt of the heckling over the first two days of competition at Hazeltine in 2016, ultimately having to ask for one man to be removed after he hurled abuse at him during Saturday’s afternoon fourballs.
American players and vice-captains attempted to maintain order during matches and messages were posted on scoreboards on the first tee asking spectators to report unruly behaviour to officials.
Furyk conceded a number of fans were “unruly” at Hazeltine but is not expecting to receive the same treatment at Le Golf National on the outskirts of Paris when the biennial contest gets under way on Friday.
Do I think we’re in for a hostile reception? No I don’t,” Furyk said in a joint press conference with Europe captain Thomas Bjorn. “There were some fans that were unruly at Hazeltine. We did the best we could to remove some of those fans.
“I think the majority of the fans were there cheering for their side and that’s what I would expect to see. I’ve always admired the European crowd, the way that they band together and can be louder as one with the songs, the chants.
“I know they will be loud, they will be boisterous. That’s definitely an obstacle. It’s part of that home advantage that Europe will have this week and that’s something my players have to respect but hopefully they enjoy. Hopefully they thrive on that.”
The United States may be odds-on favourites after their 17-11 win at Hazeltine, but they have not won the Ryder Cup in Europe since 1993, a fact of which Furyk is all too aware.
“I started to be reminded about that the moment I took this opportunity as captain,” added the 48-year-old, who played on losing teams in Europe in 1997, 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014.
Is it extra motivation? I’m not sure you really need extra motivation in a Ryder Cup. The guys are excited and anxious and it’s been a thorn in their side since 1993. There’s some veteran players that have never won on foreign soil and that’s a part that’s missing in their careers.
“It’s not anything I need to mention in the team room. There’s not like a big ‘25’ sitting in there.
“They are well aware of how difficult it is to win in Europe and that’s the battle we face this week.”
One of those players to have experienced numerous defeats in Europe is Phil Mickelson, who finished last in the Tour Championship on Sunday on 13 over par.
Team-mates Bubba Watson, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka also propped up the leaderboard and three-time major winner Jordan Spieth failed to qualify for the season-ending event, but Furyk insisted he has no concerns about his players.
We also had a lot of players play very well last week,” Furyk added.
“In my career I’ve played very well in practice and had rough tournaments. I’ve had bad practice in some events and went on to win those same events.
“So last week is behind us. Of course everyone would like to be in good form but it’s a different golf course, different venue, totally different type of golf tournament.”