Schauffele Unconcerned By 30-Year Losing Streak

Xander Schauffele wasn't even born the last time the Americans won the Ryder Cup on European soil. You'll hear a lot about this stat in the coming weeks but the last time that the US won an away match came at The Belfry when Tom Watson was the visiting skipper.

This will be Schauffele's first trip to Italy – he, Jordan Spieth and Patrick Cantlay missed the recent recce – but seven of the victorious side from Whistling Straits will be on Zach Johnson's team. There they won 19-9 and Schauffele, who has played on three winning teams in Presidents or Ryder Cups, is confident that they can continue the run.

When asked in an interview with Sports Illustrated what it would take to end the winless drought Schauffele said: "Nothing special. It may sound weird, but we didn’t do anything special at Whistling Straits. All the boys who were there are aware of that and we have quite a few repeat guys on the team. We’ll stick behind our stats, our team leaders and our captains and go do our thing. We’re not really tainted by that sort of talk.

"People told me we haven’t won since before I was born. I think that’s great because I don’t really care. I don’t think anyone really cares. No-one has talked about it, because of course, no-one likes talking about losing. It isn’t really something that’s been brought up a lot to us. I’m not on social media a crazy amount, so I haven’t really seen it. But none of us are talking about anything of that nature. We’re looking forward to the week and bringing that thing back."

Schauffele will again pair up with Patrick Cantlay and the duo will certainly be a fixture in the foursomes having won all five of their alternate-shot outings.

"We got off to a good start. We won a few matches, we’re good buddies and our games mesh, especially for foursomes. I would be shocked if we’re broken up for that, and we’ve also had a pretty good display of best ball. People were saying we couldn’t do best ball and then we went out and shot 59 and then 60 at the Zurich Classic."

The 1st tee in Rome is reportedly going to be off the charts, even compared to the grandstands in Paris, and Schauffele will be embracing the unique atmosphere of the matches.

"It’s just a different environment. We’re not used to people chanting, people slamming the bleachers, stomping. It’s so loud. We’re really enclosed in this little arena. You don’t realise what it does to your body and your brain. It just fires you up. There’s no way to stay calm with a bunch of people yelling and super loud noise. You know what’s on the line. It’s interesting to hear everyone say it, and I’ve said it myself, it is one of the most nerve-wracking shots. At the end of the day, it’s not a big deal. But at that moment, it feels like a very big deal.

"I will be excited, nervous, anxious. I’ll try to hit it really hard. That’s what I did at Whistling Straits and it seemed to go OK for me. It always helps having a partner that’s ready to go. I just look forward to it. You get excited about it, and you embrace it. You’ve seen guys get the crowd pumped up while they hit. It’s really up to you, and whatever makes you tick."

As for any intel about the course the general feedback is that finding the fairways will be premium and staying out of the thick stuff will be paramount.

"Some very interesting things about the rough. It looks brutal. There’s like four to six different types of grass in it. Depending on where your ball ends up there’s just no real way to practise for it. The fairways are this tight paspalum grass, as we’re told. I’m sure the Europeans tried to trick it up a little bit for our boys that went to go practice. I’m sure it’ll look different when we’re there come tournament time."