The Latest on the Ryder Cup at Le Golf National (all times local):
Tommy Fleetwood heads into his first Ryder Cup inspired by a message of support from one of soccer‘s most respected coaches.
Among the motivational videos shown in Europe’s team room on Monday was one sent to Fleetwood by Pep Guardiola, the manager of English champion Manchester City.
They have struck up a close friendship in recent months and were on the course together in May when Guardiola found out that City had won the Premier League title. They also teamed up in the pro-am ahead of the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth that month.
“We talk a lot,” Fleetwood said, “and he’s somebody that’s great to know.”
Guardiola is a big golf fan and was at the 2012 Ryder Cup in Medinah, when the European team came from 10-6 down going into the singles.
“That’s one of the greatest times he’s had in his life, being at that Ryder Cup,” Fleetwood said. “It has a special place in his heart, the Ryder Cup.”
The Ryder Cup brings out the rawest of emotions.
Just don’t expect any big outbursts from Francesco Molinari.
The laid-back Italian, who picked up the biggest victory of his career at this year’s British Open, isn’t about to change his personality at Le Golf National.
“There’s no point in trying to be something that you’re not,” Molinari said. “I think we need to obviously embrace the support of the crowds, and we’ll try to do that. But then, yeah, I’ll be the same me that I’ve always been, and we’ll see. If I get paired with someone that has a bit more flair, probably there will be a balance, as well.”
Molinari said his style blends just fine with all the high-energy players on the European team.
“Look, it’s a great week,” he said. “It’s the highest adrenaline and the highest pressure you’re ever going to feel on a golf course. I think the biggest thing is you need to deal with it the way you deal with it normally and in the way you know you can be successful.”
To build unity, the European team watched a video from Irish impressionist Conor Moore, who really had everyone rolling with his portrayal of Molinari.
“Fran’s has made me giggle for about 10 hours now,” Tommy Fleetwood said.
When the Ryder Cup returns to Europe in 2022, it will be held in Italy for the first time at the Marco Simone Golf and Country Club near Rome.
But Italy’s first major champion has no desire to serve as a playing captain, which hasn’t been attempted since Arnold Palmer pulled off a dual role for the Americans in 1963.
“There’s enough stuff going on, you know, if you’re a player or a captain,” the 35-year-old Molinari said. “And in your home country … I would probably lose a few years of my life and I don’t want to do that, honestly.”
Hey, that sounded like a bit of personality coming through.
“Can’t you tell the difference?” Molinari deadpanned, breaking everyone up.
The Ryder Cup begins with banter and laughs. The pressure comes later.
The Europeans haven’t lost on home soil in 25 years. Half of their team was in America on Sunday for the Tour Championship won by Tiger Woods. They got together for the first time Monday night and laughed through a 10-minute video of Irish impressionist Conor Moore.
Francesco Molinari won the British Open while playing alongside Woods. The Italian says the pressure of trying to win his first major is nowhere near what he feels during a Ryder Cup.
After team photos Tuesday morning, players set out for their first official practice round at Le Golf National.
Woods was in the same practice group as Phil Mickelson, who is making his record 12th consecutive appearance.
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