US Team To Visit Rome Ahead Of Ryder Cup

Since Medinah in 2012 the closest that an away team has got to winning a Ryder Cup is to get within five points. In Paris in 2018 the US team appeared to have little idea of how pinched in the rough would be and how the course would play which played beautifully into Thomas Bjorn's hands.

Hence why Zach Johnson will be flying his side out to Rome ahead of the matches at the end of September.
The Tour Championship finishes on August 27 this year with the Ryder Cup kicking off on September 29 which leaves time for Johnson to fit in a scouting mission in Italy.

“I have something already in store and a plan,” said Johnson. “I made it a priority that I'm taking the 12 guys that make my team to Rome two weeks prior to the event – two and a half weeks prior to the event - so that way we get our feet on the grounds, they get their feet on the grounds, experience Marco Simone first hand.

“Then when we leave and come back home for two weeks, they'll have at least, I think, a pretty realistic expectation as to what is required. I think that trip right there is going to be crucial. Certainly chemistry and camaraderie and all that good stuff inside the locker room. It's a priority for those guys to get on Marco Simone.”

This might be a bit of a first for the Americans where they would normally arrive on the Monday morning and then get bombarded with media obligations and gala dinners while trying to get their collective heads around a foreign course. This time around the Marco Simone course will be a more familiar challenge.

"Any safe assumption or anything that's been kind of consistent every four years when we go across the pond, it's the set-up. You have to hit fairways. It feels like the fairways kind of come in, the rough comes up. So it puts a really strong emphasis on the first shot.

“I did witness the Italian Open two weeks ago, three weeks ago, and you could kind of tell that the rough was getting up there. And from what I could tell, some of the fairway widths and sight lines were slightly different than what I remember in September when I played it myself. But all of that I think is fantastic. That's what this tournament is all about. Certainly you can cater to your team.”

As for the possibility of the LIV Golf players being part of that team Johnson was less talkative. The obvious additions, and maybe the least fuss, would be Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka but the skipper wasn't giving too much away.

“Really difficult for me to judge,” Johnson said. “I don't know the golf courses they're playing. Never seen them. I'm not there on foot in person. I get to see them, I guess, technically three or four weeks a year, this year. So that part is difficult, but you're talking about a number of guys that are my friends. I would fully embrace the opportunity to speak with them if they want to chat with me. That would be amazing.

“I'm an open book. They can call me. They have my number, et cetera, et cetera. I'm not going to sit here and say that I'm shutting that down. I am fully in as the Ryder Cup captain for the Team USA and whatever that looks like."

Luke Donald has less of a headache here with the likes of Sergio Garcia resigning their membership of the DP World Tour.