Jack Nicklaus On The Ryder Cup: “It’s Not That Bigger A Deal”

  • Jack Nicklaus hosted a part for 30 potential Ryder Cuppers.
  • The 18-time major winner reflected on the attitudes of players to the competition.
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Source: The Telegraph.

Team USA have won just twice in the last 11 contests and it’s beginning to become a real monkey on the proverbial back. There is a systemic culture that has stood in the way of American players, they have consistently been beaten by weaker teams and there are several reasons for this.

Fostering a team environment is easier said than done. Team USA have really struggled to shake off the individualised golfing culture that exists on the PGA TOUR, bonding sessions like the one hosted by Nicklaus can help the players overcome this obstacle.

Jack always thought the Ryder Cup espoused the type of gentlemanly conduct that was perhaps absent from the major championships. His mediocre record (17-8-3) doesn’t really illustrate the manner in which he would play the biannual tournament.

“My feeling is that the Ryder Cup goes in cycles,” said Nicklaus during a press conference Sunday at PGA National. “I told the guys not to worry about it. There they were talking about the Ryder Cup, but I told them they have far more important things to worry about, like the four majors this year.

This advice seems very much at odds with some of the attitudes American players have demonstrated so far. It’s traditionally been the European players who hold the competition in higher regard, but the tide is certainly changing.

“Yes, it’s a great honor to represent your country. And a great honor to be part of an international team. But it’s supposed to be fun. I asked them if they knew who won and lost in the last Ryder Cup. No one knew. Then I asked who won the last four majors. They all knew,” said the golfing legend.

“So it’s not that big a deal. I know they all want to play their best, but they also need to take it as a game that they prepare for and have fun in when they go play. It’s for bragging rights. I told them to try to not make it more than what it is.”

“People talk about the pressure. Are you telling me there is more pressure in the Ryder Cup than coming down the last fairway at Augusta or the US Open with a major on the line? Crap.”

To see the teams that would represent America based on current standings, see here.