Thursday 23 September 2021 4:39 pm

Sam Torrance: Europe gel as a team and that's why they can win Ryder Cup again

If not quite the great team of 1981, there is no denying that this US Ryder Cup line-up is extremely strong.

And on paper, there is nothing that isn’t in the Americans’ favour. Whistling Straits is their venue, the course will be their set-up, and there will be even fewer European fans than usual.

But we’ve seen the might of the US on paper before. The truth is that when you get to that first tee on Friday morning, no one knows who’s going to win. That’s what the Ryder Cup is about.

Rarely have Europe been favourites; the Americans always seem to have higher world rankings, more majors, and so on.

The great thing about the Ryder Cup, however, is that it isn’t an individual event. It’s a team one, and the European team have won 12 of the last 17.

We gel. We play beside each other and for each other. And this time there is a little bit of strife in the American camp.

Europe have the world No1 in Jon Rahm, but there isn’t much point comparing which team has got what. 

The advice that Sir Alex Ferguson gave me for my team in 2002 that really stuck with me was that no one is bigger than anyone else. There are no superstars in a team, and that’s what makes it a team. 

They will live and die for each other, and that’s not something that captain Padraig Harrington will have to foster.

It’s such an honour to be in that team room, alongside those guys you’ve been trying to beat all the time, sharing thoughts and strategies. 

You go out, arms around each other, ready to go and play, knowing what we’ve got to do.

Even in the singles matches you’re still a team. When you spot on the leaderboard that the guy who was four down has just won a hole it gives you a boost because you know he’s fighting.

You never give anything up, and when you come off on Sunday evening you can put your hand on your heart and say you couldn’t have done any more. 

Solheim success can show Europe the way at Ryder Cup

Padraig is as sharp and bright as they come. A three-time major winner and a legend of European golf, he’s very well respected throughout golf. 

Speak to any sponsor or anyone who has met him at a pro-am and all would say what a great guy he is. Not just a great guy, a great man.

He won’t leave any stone unturned this week. He knows what’s coming. He knows the course will be set up to suit the Americans. 

He’ll persuade his team that’s fine. He’ll tell them: “Whatever they want to throw at us, we’ll overcome it and we’ll beat them.”

When it comes to facing the US in America with no supporters, Catriona Matthew’s European team set the benchmark in their Solheim Cup victory this month.

I know Padraig has looked at that and spoken to Catriona about her experience.

In some ways it can insulate you if you know everyone is shouting for the opposition. Once you’ve got that in your head, it’s not a problem. 

It can build more unity in the European ranks, and that level of expectancy may just put a little extra pressure on the Americans. 

Why I believe in Europe at Whistling Straits

Padraig had a really tough decision to make in leaving out Justin Rose, like I did with Jose Maria Olazabal in 2002.  

Justin’s such a great golfer, a Ryder Cup and major winner. But you can’t say that Padraig picked any one of his three wild cards over Rose.

These are the hard decisions a captain sometimes has to make, and once it was made Justin would have been right behind the team. 

As it is he has got a great bunch. Rahm was very good when Europe beat the US in France three years ago and I’m sure he will be again. 

Viktor Hovland has shone brightly already. Thomas Pieters revelled in the limelight on his debut in 2016 and I think Hovland will do the same.

I have no fears about any of them coming down the stretch in the singles matches. There’s not one player who isn’t good enough.

Asking me for a prediction is a bit daft. But I think Europe will overcome all obstacles and win. Why? History.

I believe in Europe because I believe in everything about them. The comradeship. The team room. That people will outdo themselves and stand up and be counted when the time comes. I believe in Europe because we gel as a team.

Sam Torrance OBE is a multiple Ryder Cup-winning golfer and media commentator. Follow him @torrancesam