With two days to go before the first Ryder Cup matches are played, the motivational messages are flying like the birdies we're likely to see at Whistling Straits.
Doug Ferguson of the Associated Press reports on Europe's message that the 12 players on the team have a special place in history – that while "5,780 people have climbed Mount Everest, 570 people have gone into space, 445 players have won the World Cup, 225 golfers have won majors ... only 164 players from Europe have played in the Ryder Cup."
Accordingly, Team Europe's video posted to Twitter this week by its captain, Padraig Harrington, assigns each of the 164 a number to be spoken with pride.
But who will hoist the Ryder Cup trophy Sunday afternoon? According to the 13 Golf.com staffers making their picks, it'll be Team USA (eight picked the U.S., 5 Europe ... "history be damned").
At SI/Morning Read, however, not so fast. Its story, "The European Ryder Cup Team is Called the Underdog. Don't You Believe It," argues that "the secret sauce for winning Ryder Cups is clearly a European recipe ... some combination of chemistry, unselfishness, fun and aggressive putting that works." Gary Van Sickle, a Wisconsin native and also a Wisconsin.Golf contributing columnist, is the author.
The AP's Ferguson also writes how another strength of the Euros is handling – even thriving off – friction.
Or maybe it'll come down to the team employing the best analytics? Golf Digest writes "How analytics have become a crucial factor in the outcome of the matches."
Or which team bombs it the best? From Golf.com: "How Rory and Bryson could give their teams a huge advantage on the 1st hole." (That's the enticingly short, for some, 364-yard first hole.)
Or maybe the fall Wisconsin weather along Lake Michigan? In "Absolutely perfect Ryder Cup weather awaits at Whistling Straits," the Golf.com writer makes clear: "By perfect forecast, at this Ryder Cup, we don’t mean 80 degrees and sunny.
"So how will the weather affect play?" writes Sean Zak. "Well, the breeziest day will be Friday, which promises winds similar to the video (below), enough to send a ball out over Lake Michigan, or make some par-5 play about 700 yards."