(Reuters) - Lee Westwood has advised the six rookies in Europe’s Ryder Cup team to brace themselves for a difficult atmosphere in the United States but expects the newcomers to draw on their international experience to flourish in Minnesota.
U.S. Masters champion Danny Willett, Chris Wood, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Andy Sullivan and Matt Fitzpatrick, along with wildcard pick Thomas Pieters, will all be making their first Ryder Cup appearances when Europe defends the trophy this month.
“Let’s make no bones about it, I think it will be tough. It’s difficult to be a rookie on home soil when you have the crowd cheering for you,” Briton Westwood, making his 10th consecutive Ryder Cup appearance, told British media.
“But to be a rookie in the States and be up against it, the crowd as well as the team, it’s a little extra. But I look at our rookies and I see them not as rookies. There’s a lot of experience there,” the wildcard pick added.
“I look at a lot of the players’ characters and I think they can take it, they can take a fight and a bit of stick.”
Sullivan, who qualified automatically for the 12-man team, is confident he can help Europe continue their dominance of the event as they target a ninth win in the last 11 editions.
“I just can’t wait to get to Minnesota now and go through all the emotions and experiences of it all... I‘m just thrilled to be on that team,” Sullivan said.
“I’ve had a couple of missed cuts in the past couple of weeks but I’ve worked hard over the weekend and feel like my game is starting to come together now.”
Captain Darren Clarke will look to guide Europe to an unprecedented fourth consecutive Ryder Cup victory when the competition starts at Hazeltine National Golf Club on Sept. 30.
Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by John O'Brien