Sunday 20 January 2019

captains looking for crowd reply

McGinley wants 'noisiest' Ryder Cup ever while Watson aims to silence the stands

Rival captains Paul McGinley and Tom Watson have outlined their visions for next week's Ryder Cup - and unsurprisingly they are completely different.

While McGinley wants the "noisiest" Ryder Cup ever at Gleneagles, opposite number Watson is looking forward to his players sending the European fans home early.

"What I'm looking for is an environment that's going to elevate the players to play to a different level," McGinley said ahead of the Wales Open, where four of his team - Lee Westwood, Stephen Gallacher, Thomas Bjorn and Jamie Donaldson - are in action.

"I have always enjoyed feeding off the crowd when I was a player in the Ryder Cup and I think it's an incredible occasion, particularly playing at home, where the noise level and the people pulling for you can really elevate you.

"It certainly elevated me, particularly in The Belfry, my first Ryder Cup. I definitely rode the emotion of the crowd there and the noise from the crowd, and the tighter things got the more security you had because the crowd was so much in my favour and were so vociferous when I holed a good putt or hit a good shot, and incredibly passionate.

"I know that the players are looking forward to it. It's like racehorses, big players like big occasions. We like big occasions, big atmospheres. And I think if it is a very noisy Ryder Cup the crowd can play a big part in hopefully elevating the players to a new level and hopefully perform better."

Watson is the last captain to lead the United States to victory on European soil in 1993 and wants not only a repeat of the result, but also of the scenes which accompanied that result.

"I hope that when we come up to the 18th hole in the last match on Sunday that my friend Roy Williams, who gave me the advice about playing away games, comes true," Watson said. "And that advice is 'Watch the stands'. Watch the fans leave early and that's what happened in 1993.

"Coming up to the last hole there after Davis Love had made his putt (to beat Costantino Rocca) I ran back to be with Ray Floyd, who was in our last (vital) match. And I turned the corner at The Belfry, the dog-leg left there around the lake, and I was walking with Payne Stewart who was just whooping and hollering.

"He comes over and he slaps me on the back about as hard as he could and I almost lost my breath. And he said, 'Captain, look up there.'

"And I looked up there at the green, at the stands, which had been completely full when Davis Love made his putt, and they were over half empty."

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