Jordan Spieth – Four Years On From Gleneagles Negativity To France Positivity

Jordan Spieth insists the USA Ryder Cup team return to Europe next week in a better place four years on after the Gleneagles  ‘negativity’ and also one of the most public character assassination’s ever in sport.

Those assembled, including defeated USA Captain, Tom Watson along with Spieth and five of his losing team-mates, in the Gleneagles media centre that Sunday afternoon were in shock after Phil Mickelson spoke.

In being asked what the USA Team had done well in winning the 2008 Ryder Cup compared to losing by five points in Scotland, Mickelson, and without mentioning Watson by name, hung his captain out to dry.

Spieth, who had made his Ryder Cup debut, was left dumbstruck in listening to Mickelson’s initial 283-word verbal assault.

“I don’t think anyone will ever forget Phil’s remarks that night and we were up there on the stage, and in front of all the media, kicking each other under the table and everyone thinking to themselves ‘What did Phil just say?’” said Spieth

“I just look back what went on at Gleneagles that week as differently than any other one of my team events including the Presidents Cup in South Korea, including the Ryder Cup we won at Hazeltine and the Presidents Cup we won late last year in New Jersey.

“It was just a different week. It was a more serious week. There was negativity always surrounding that week.”

That negativity was replaced immediately by a player-driven USA Ryder Cup task force where, and very much like the winning European Team model, the players had input in who they wished to be captain and who they thought should earn a ‘wildcard’ pick.

The change was immediate with Davis Love 111’s men exacting sweet revenge at Hazeltine.

And now Jim Furyk, who was also on stage that night in Gleneagles, takes to Europe a USA Team, says Spieth oozing golf bags of positivity.

“Even going into the Ryder Cup in Scotland I remember being really excited given it was my first Ryder Cup but then I really didn’t know what was going to happen as we didn’t know who potentially we were going to be playing with,” he said.

“Now we’ve got this … we’ll almost got it all set as to who is going to be potentially playing alongside one another within two to three guys and just knowing that ahead of time can only be good.

“We each have a group text going between everyone on the team.  We’re all using ‘GIFS’ on-line that are as simple as tying-in ‘Patrick Reed Ryder Cup’ and things like.

“So, heading now to my third Ryder Cup, and my second in Europe, there is just a lighter mood among everyone on the team.”

And Spieth, who has played nine Ryder Cup matches winning four, losing three and halving two, indicated also it will not be a USA side looking to end a 25-year old European ‘home soil’ dominance but a ‘Stars and Stripes’ side looking to win back-to-back Ryder Cups.

“When we get to France none of us are going to be looking at it as it’s been 25-years since the States won on European soil but more a case of it being two years since we won the last Ryder Cup,” said Spieth.

“We would have won the 2016 Ryder Cup no matter where it was staged as we played better than Europe, so we are going to France with our team in really solid form, and those Americans on this team heading to France have been playing as well as any American players in a team event I have been a part of in the weeks before.

“So, in keeping that form going it is really like let’s not overthink this coming Ryder Cup.

“There was almost just too much thinking that went into that Gleneagles Ryder Cup and we were so worried playing over there in Scotland, and like who needs to sit out a match and things like that.

“We travel so much around the world playing golf and while it is clearly different that no matter where we play outside of the States, the home players are going to get the majority of the support.

“But in saying that, the guys in the team are very excited to get over there and get to know the golf course.

“I am going back to this ‘group thing’ we’ve got going among all of us because we’re really pumped to get going.

“We knew who the initial three picks were going to be and we had a good who the fourth pick would be, so to have so much stuff set-in-stone early is having a real positive effect on the side with guys seemingly lighter and getting connected early on.

“We are going over there to France without any surprises. We have three rookies and one of them is Justin Thomas and another Bryson DeChambeau.

“So, it is already so very different to Gleneagles four years ago and when I first travelled to Europe with a USA Ryder Cup team.”

And if you needed any reflection of a change in the how the Americans have embraced the successful European model that was clearly evident in suburban Philadelphia when Furyk announced the inclusion of Tiger Woods, Bryson DeChambeau and Mickelson into his team.

With the announcement taking place in a conference room of the BMW Championship official hotel the likes of Spieth and Justin Thomas, and simply wearing t-shirts and jeans, made their way to back of the room to applaud Furyk’s choices.

“I was staying at the hotel and just wanted to be in the room when Jim announced his first three picks to show my support,” said Spieth

This scene has rarely been witnessed at a USA Ryder Cup ‘wildcard’ announcement and is again an off-shoot of the Americans, and since the post-competition ‘finger-pointing’ at Gleneagles, copying the successful European model.

We recall the announcement in January 2013 from a conference room in an Abu Dhabi hotel, and during the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, when the likes of Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell, Ian Poulter and Shane Lowry were in attendance backing Paul McGinley’s captaincy selection.

 



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