History lesson for Europe's Ryder Cup team

Doug FergusonAAP
Team Europe's Lee Westwood tees off on the 14th hole at Whistling Whistling during practice.
Camera IconTeam Europe's Lee Westwood tees off on the 14th hole at Whistling Whistling during practice. Credit: EPA

European captain Padraig Harrington has made it clear on the first night together at the Ryder Cup that his players have a place in history, one by one.

For this team, it starts with Lee Westwood at No.118 and goes down to Bernd Wiesberger at No.164.

The idea was for them to recognise the elite company they are in.

A video pointed out the 5,780 people who have climbed Mount Everest, the 570 people in space, 445 players who have won the FIFA men's World Cup, 225 players who have won majors, and only 164 players from Europe who have played in the Ryder Cup.

"You sit here as one of the 12 lucky few," the narrator says.

"But you will only stand up and be counted if you know the true worth of your number."

What follows is a pantheon of Europe's Ryder Cup greats - including Jose Maria Olazabal, Bernhard Langer, Colin Montgomerie and Tony Jacklin - ticking off their spots on the list.

Harrington called it a "startlingly small amount of players".

The list is alphabetical and chronological, starting with Aubrey Boomer in 1927.

It concludes with the three rookies - Viktor Hovland, Shane Lowry and Wiesberger at No.164.

Westwood has the lowest number of the current team at No.118, his first Ryder Cup coming in 1997. Harrington falls in at No.131.

"You have a far greater chance of going into space or climbing Mount Everest than you have (of) representing Europe in the Ryder Cup," Westwood, who will tie Nick Faldo's Team Europe record when he makes his 11th Ryder Cup start, said.

Sergio Garcia didn't realise he was No.120.

"I've always known that being a part of the Ryder Cup team is very difficult, but I didn't know that only that little amount of players have made it," Garcia said.

"That's why every time I'm a part of a team - or the rest of our teammates - why we give it the respect that it deserves, because it's so difficult to be a part of it.

"It's an honour, and we treat it like that."

Europe always has been able to count on unity, along with timely putting, in winning nine of the last 12 times in the Ryder Cup.

"There's a lot of continuity in our team, and I think that's been part of the reason for our success," No.144 Rory McIlroy said.

To the contrary, the US team members have combined to play just 12 times in the Ryder Cup - the least experience for the Americans since the 1979 team.

with Reuters

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