Symbols of individual success will be conspicuous by their absence from Europe’s Ryder Cup team room in pursuit of another triumph at Hazeltine.
Darren Clarke’s side can boast the Olympic gold medallist, two of this year’s major champions and the winner of the FedEx Cup, but boasting will not be on the agenda among the players.
“It’s not something that I’m touting around, not at all,” Justin Rose said when asked if Clarke had told him to bring his Olympic medal to Minnesota.
“This week, Danny (Willett) doesn’t have the green jacket in the team room, Rory (McIlroy) doesn’t have the FedEx Cup in the team room. I think this is about the Ryder Cup and that little gold trophy, and that’s enough for us all this week.
“It’s nice to have belief in your team-mates that they can stand up to pressure and they can deliver on the big stage and I think that’s what the gold medal and the green jacket and the FedEx Cup and Henrik’s Claret Jug, that’s what they represent.
“They represent that we are guys that can play the best golf when it counts, but we are after that little gold trophy. We are not after anything else this week. We are not about any of the other victories that the team had enjoyed all year long.”
Rose and Olympic silver medallist Stenson won all three of their matches together at Gleneagles in 2014, with Rose going on to halve his other two and finish top European points scorer.
The 36-year-old admits he would relish going out first again with Stenson in tomorrow’s foursomes, but again stressed the team mentality as Europe seek an unprecedented fourth straight victory.
“Your role every year is different,” the former US Open champion said. “Sometimes it might be you’re earning points and other years it might be you are lending your support in other ways.
“A successful Ryder Cup campaign doesn’t always have to be about how many points you put on the board. You need to do whatever is right for the team on the week.
“I think when I got to Rio it really hit me that I was part of something bigger than my individual sport. Being a part of Team GB and the wider goal of the team and the medal tally and something like that was very inspiring. It kind of made you want to bring your best. It made you want to be accountable and give 100%.”
Rose will also gain extra motivation from this week’s venue of Hazeltine, which is the last course his father Ken saw him play — in the 2002 US PGA Championship — weeks before he died from leukemia in 2002.
“I definitely have a memory, I think it’s more from a photograph that I have of my dad under some of those trees on the back nine,” Rose added. “And it just has a title, ‘Happy Days’.
“Obviously that was a fond memory and something that actually hit me yesterday. There’s definitely inspiration I can draw from that.”
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